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Posted: 04/30/14

Commissioners OK strategic
business park

Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce Township planners are giving the go-ahead for an assisted living community.
       At its April 23 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended conditional approval of three Special Land Use (SLU) requests and the site plan for an assisted living community at 33 Mile and McKay roads.
       The recommendation will go before the Board of Trustees at its May meeting, where approval will depend on whether Racz Building and Development eventually provides a sidewalk and an updated impact study.
       The site plan shows 60 duplex condos for independent living, an 83-bed assisted living and skilled nursing facility, a 120-bed facility for residents requiring some assistance and a 35-bed memory care facility. The three SLU requests are for the facilities.
       The commission asked for an updated impact statement of the area. Justin Racz of Racz Building and Development said the new statement shows traffic levels down from the previous study conducted in 2007.
       He said the original statement studied a 298-unit development, but the revised project is only using 60 out of the allowed 170 residential units, and the other 238 units are beds. The 2007 plan showed a 50 percent increase in traffic.
       "It's actually a net decrease in traffic because this is an institutional care retirement community," he said.
       Mark Lloyd, the township's planning consultant, said the rest of the study still needs to be updated. The commission agreed to give Racz until engineering drawings were submitted to receive the rest of the updates.
       Commissioners asked whether Racz would provide sidewalks along northern 33 Mile Road.
       "I can understand McKay Road not having anything, but I was wondering about the 33 Mile Road section," said Commissioner Paul Okoniewski.
       Darryl Racz of Racz Building and Development said there were no other sidewalks in the area, and there would need to be a plan for who maintains them.
       "If you don't have everybody on board it doesn't make sense," Darryl said.
       Justin requested a deferment of the sidewalks until the remaining property owners in the area install sidewalks, thereby creating a connecting path to the Crystal Fields on 33 Mile Road west of Powell Road.
       "We're trying to keep things cozy internally," he said. "A lot of the citizens that are going to be living in these institutional buildings aren't walking anywhere."
       Commissioners agreed, saying there should be a definitive plan to address the area.
       "It could be 20 years from now," Okoniewski said.
       During public comment, resident Carl Beauvais said he was in support of the development having the 33 Mile Road sidewalk, saying the township has asked for it elsewhere.
       "I think that is part of the growth pattern this township has been trying to identify," he said. "It makes good sense."
       The commission noted that the project should adhere to local, county, state and federal standards and regulations.
       Racz also provided floor plans for all the buildings. Building materials were requested, but Justin said they couldn't be provided since they may use new or economical materials as construction takes place.
       He said the buildings will be scrutinized by the state as part of the certificate of need for its skilled nursing beds. Commissioners requested renderings of the buildings be provided to the township.
       Due to confidentiality agreements, Racz hasn't publicly provided the name of the company creating the facilities.
       Justin said the goal is to break ground by August. If approved, the first phase would build the first 15 duplex condos, the memory care facility and the 58,000-59,000 square-foot assisted living and skilled nursing building.
       The second phase would include the remaining 15 duplexes and the third phase would be the 120-bed facility.

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