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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/19/12
Bruce planners OK site
plan for skilled nursing
by CHRIS GRAYBruce planners determined new sidewalks are not required for a proposed medical campus, but asked to bolster the property's borders.
Observer Staff Writer
The Bruce Township Planning Commission granted unanimous approval to the special land use request and site plan for a 57,700 square foot skilled nursing facility.
Commissioner Karol Regius was not present at the Sept. 12 meeting. The issue will go before the Board of Trustees at its Sept. 19 meeting.
According to the developers, the building would sit on 7.8 acres out of 97 acres located at 33 Mile and McKay roads. The 106-bed facility is meant for older citizens recovering from long-term illness or medical procedures.
Justin Racz of Racz Construction said the hope is to break ground this fall. The building is the first step in creating a medical campus, with tentative plans for adding dialysis, assisted living and senior housing facilities.
"It's going to take us, based on the economy, anywhere from seven to 12 years to develop our 97 acres," Racz said.
The commission's main discussion revolved around the township's efforts to create pathways. The Master Plan and ordinances call for developments to construct sidewalks that eventually connect the township.
To abide by those, planning advisors suggested a sidewalk near the development's private road and along 33 Mile Road.
Darryl Racz of Racz Construction said it wouldn't make sense to install a sidewalk that leads to nowhere when there will already be pathways within the development.
"We're doing an internal sidewalk on 100 acres, that's huge financially," he said. "We can't go beyond that."
Chris McLeod, community planner, said the township, as well as the Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreation, seek to create pathways, but it isn't a requirement.
"If you want it to happen, you have to stand firm," he said. "If you don't care for it to happen, which is fine, too, then we need to re-address the ordinance and Master Plan."
He said the township could defer the sidewalks or waive them entirely, but reminded the commission that the state is advocating pathways and may tie financial incentives to them.
"If you don't have complete street concept, your likelihood or your ability to get money may be affected," he said.
Justin said they were willing to do a deferral so long as it was deferred for 15 to 20 years.
When asked, the decision was split amongst commissioners as to deferring or waiving the sidewalk. Chairperson Mike Tremblay said waiving it would eliminate any opportunity to build it in the future.
"It doesn't create a financial burden to this project to defer it," he said.
Others like Commissioner and Board Representative Paul Okoniewski argued that the sidewalk would not lead anywhere or could detract from the rural ambiance.
"To maintain a rural atmosphere of our township, it makes no sense," Okoniewski said.
Sprucing up borders
Commissioners also discussed berms and foliage on the borders of the property for screening purposes. They decided a berm wasn't required on the northern end of the property, but asked for additional trees on the eastern border.
McLeod said although the facility isn't a single family or duplex use, the building can be considered a residence. He said the 700-foot eastern border should be increased from the proposed 11 trees.
Okoniewski said farming takes place along the border that causes dust and noise, so he suggested adding seven more trees.
Darryl said as the developers they must work within the client's budget, so they were limited as to what the commissioners could ask of them.
"We all understand the economic times," he said. "Don't break our back, work with us."
The two parties eventually agreed to bump up the count to 16 trees.
A number of other items must be addressed for the plan to be fully accepted. These include moving four parking spaces so they don't cause traffic problems, submitting a lighting plan and screening HVAC units.