Erwin Orchards development project upsets South Lyon residents

Alena Pennala ‘20, Intro to Journalism Contributing Writer


South Lyon residents are upset about development plans to replace Erwin Apple Orchards as owner Bill Erwin seeks to retire, and have voted against development proposals within the past few years to replace the historical establishment.

Being that the orchard is celebrating 100 years in 2020, Erwin’s has become a known establishment in South Lyon and a staple for fall activities for many families. 

When asked about feelings towards transforming the Erwin Orchard property, South Lyon High School senior Ava Krygier said, “It’s sad to see the orchard go, because it’s been a tradition for my family to go there every year.” Many families feel this way as 100 years of family traditions are coming to a close. 

The 200 acres of land owned by Erwin Orchards currently holds apple trees, corn fields, pumpkin patches. Ideas have been proposed to transform the property, but none of them have had enough support from the community to take off. 

South Lyon resident Brianna Kangas said, “I would hope to see another family-friendly business built where Erwin’s currently is. With so much land to work with, a lot can be done, and I don’t want to see it wasted on more housing when so many houses are already being built in South Lyon.” 

Different development plans have been offered, such as replacing the orchard with housing, retail, restaurants, and community event buildings. 

One particular plan, called Cider Mill Village, would add housing, recreation, nature trails, restaurants, and a community garden. This plan, proposed by Howard Fingeroot, would preserve the historical cider mill building while upgrading the rest of the property– building in more amenities than just a subdivision. High density in the area is a concern, which caused the plan to be rejected.

Residents are concerned about traffic problems as well as high population density in the area. When events are going on at Erwin’s, traffic is typically backed up on Kent Lake Road, Silver Lake Road, and Pontiac Trail. 

Housing units would be placed as close together as possible to accommodate as many families as possible. Another concern is that if housing is added, traffic would back up more often and a solution for that would be necessary. 

No proposals have been approved thus far, as many citizens are upset and consistently attending meetings to vote against creating an urban area where the peaceful orchard currently exists. Meetings have been full and opinions have been voiced.


Photo courtesy of Alena Pennala

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