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Posted: 02/05/14

DENSITY DISCUSSIONS. Above Bruce Township Planning Commissioners examine the conceptual drawings for a 165-unit Planned Residential Community. From left, Commissioners Bridget Lamberty, Blake Taylor, Marq Apel and Paul Okoniewski.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Bruce planners mull over
165-unit development

Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce officials have taken their first look at a residential development that would build 165 single family units.
       Developers approached the Bruce Township Planning Commission at its Jan. 29 meeting to propose a Planned Residential Community (PRC) with hopes of breaking ground in the spring.
       The property, located at the northwest corner of 33 Mile and McKay roads, would take up 57.5 acres. It is bordered by Sorrel Woods to the north, McKay Road to the east and M-53 on its southwest corner. A line of ITC Transmission towers runs through it as well as a gas main easement.
       Dan Bell of Land Design Concepts presented his design for the PRC. He said it is high density for a single family development, but is better than developing it with apartments or condos.
       "Here we have one piece of property separating industrial and big single family lots, so we tried to come up with the best idea of how we can build single family lots and make this transition," he said.
       Bell said the developers would have to apply for a rezoning and a Special Land Use (SLU) so the property is integrated into the water and sewer district. The rezoning would change it from residential one family (R-1) to residential multiple family (RM-1).
       With this, the lots would be 60 feet by 125 feet and fit three units per acre, with homes sized between 1,600 to 2,500 square feet.
       "Even though we're requesting RM-1, the intent is not to develop it as fourplexes or apartments or any of those items," Bell said.
       Bell said the plan is to retain trees instead of removing them, so the majority of the lots will abut open space. He said the open space would become recreation areas with pathways.
       Commissioner and Board Representative Paul Okoniewski said he wanted the developers to provide a study on the traffic and environmental impacts for such a significant change.
       "The Planning Commission would have to seriously look at the huge influx that this would create, not just to this parcel but the surrounding neighborhood," he said.
       Patrick Meagher, the township's planning consultant, said a rezoning request of 5 acres or above requires those studies to be conducted. His concern, though, was that the township would be stuck with the rezoning if the project falls through.
       Mike Demil, resident and owner of the property, said he would be open to the condition that the property would revert to its previous zoning if his project didn't go forward.
       He was less interested, however, in changing the number of units, saying it wouldn't be feasible with any other setup. He said preliminary costs for infrastructure is $4 million.
       "If you determine that it's only viable that we have 80 homes it's not possible," he said.
       The PRC would require the township to extend the water and sewer district to the property. Demil said he would like to take care of this matter first before the rezoning.
       "If we don't get the water and sewer we ain't doing nothing," he said with a laugh.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said the issue would be addressed by the Board of Trustees at its Feb. 19 meeting. The Planning Commission said it would like to discuss the PRC further at its next meeting scheduled for Feb. 26.
       "We want growth here in Bruce Township, and we want it done the right way," said Secretary Blake Taylor.

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