Developers intend to turn vacant school into housing for senior citizens
CAPAC — At a special meeting on Thursday, the planning commission and village council both voted unanimously to approve a rezoning request for the former Capac Middle School.
Several residents who attended the commission’s public hearing said they weren’t in favor of changing the Neeper Street property’s designation from single to multi-family without knowing more details about the plans for the property. Thanks to social media, rumors had swirled about the future of the vacant building and several people who spoke believed incorrectly that the site was to be transformed into low-income housing. At times the meeting became raucous and Capac Police Officer Carlo Dealca stepped in to warn participants to calm down.
Local business owner Jeff Kegler, who identified himself as one of the developers, said their plans were to leave the historic building standing and turn it into senior housing.
Planning Commission member Jim Vargo said he believed transforming the school into senior housing is a “win-win” situation for both residents and the village. It will provide needed housing and return the property to the village’s tax rolls.
He acknowledged residents’ frustration with the process but stressed that it doesn’t make financial sense for developers to pay for and present detailed plans until zoning changes have been finalized.
“We still have control over what’s going to happen at the site. This rezoning request is just the first step in the process,” Vargo said, noting the developers will eventually return with a proposed site plan that will require approval before work can begin.
Some residents voiced concerns over the village’s water and sewer systems to handle any extra demand. At the council meeting, President Pro-Tem Joe Nemecek said both infrastructures are up to speed and the village is addressing areas in need of upgrades.
Other council members said they believed all the parties involved only want what’s best for the community.
“I have a lot of confidence in the people who are buying it,” council member Deb Hlubic said.
Details of the sale—including the purchase price and buyers’ identities—should be forthcoming from the school district. Finalization of a purchase agreement between Capac Community Schools, the village of Capac and the developers was contingent on the rezoning request being granted.
In May, the school board chose from the highest of four bids for the structure.
In early 2021, a two-party sale agreement between the school and district was finalized. with 75 percent of the sale’s net proceeds to go to the school district—the building’s owner— with the village—the property’s owner—receiving the remaining 25 percent.
The former Middle School has been mostly vacant since middle schools classes were moved to the elementary and high schools in 2016 as part of a reorganization plan.