MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — In a bid to stop the construction of an electric vehicle battery plant in the Marshall area, opponents on Tuesday submitted a petition that aims to undo some of the rezoning for the project.

Seven hundred acres south of Michigan Avenue between 13 Mile and 15 Mile roads was transferred from Marshall Township to the city of Marshall in April and then rezoned by the city as industrial so it could be used for Ford Motor Co.’s BlueOval Battery Park Michigan.

The Committee To Save Marshall-Not the Megasite group started circulating the petition four weeks ago, after the Marshall City Council approved the rezoning. The group exceeded its goal of 800 signatures — that’s more than the 10% of the city’s population required by state law to submit the petition to the city clerk.

“Although we have residents from the township and the city and even the greater Marshall area — Fredonia, Marengo — involved, this petition had to happen within the city,” Glenn Kowalske, who helped spread the word about the petition, said.

The petition calls for a referendum by Marshall city voters to approve or reject city council’s rezoning decision. Kowalske said petitioners are arguing the terrain is not suitable for industrial use and that homeowners should be more involved in site discussions between Ford, the county, the city and other entities involved.

“Basically, I think a majority of Marshall residents don’t want that size (for the plant),” Kowalske said. “That’s greater than the size of Mackinac Island. That’s 77% the size of the city of Marshall, so it’s really to try and keep the site agricultural as best as possible.”

The Marshall City Clerk’s Office has 20 days to determine whether the petition is sufficient.

“When the petitions are accepted, it puts it back to the council. They have a short time that they can consider withdrawing or changing the rezoning. If that doesn’t happen, then they’re compelled to put it to a vote,” Kowalske said.

If the clerk says the petition is not sufficient, Kowalske said the group could take the matter to court.

“We believe that the language of the charter clearly allows residents to petition 10% of the registered voters for a referendum. If that’s denied, then there is a course of action,” he said.

James Durian, the head of the Choose Marshall economic development group, deferred News 8’s questions about the petition to City Hall. A spokesperson for the city of Marshall did not return a request for comment before close of business Tuesday.

Durian said that plans for the site are moving forward. The initial work on the pad work will be finished as early as this summer and discussions between Ford and its partners about the site plan will begin within the next couple of weeks.