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Posted: 03/05/14

Public hearing set for
165-unit development

Observer Staff Writer
      Community members can voice their opinions on a new housing development in Bruce Township next month.
       The Planning Commission has set a public hearing for March 27 to gather input on rezoning land for a 165-unit Planned Residential Community (PRC) development.
       Concerns have already sprung up, though, from those that would neighbor the community, claiming it is too dense for the area.
       PRCs are communities planned out from their inceptions as opposed to more spontaneous development. In this case, the community would be located on 57.5 acres of property at the northwest corner of 33 Mile and McKay roads.
       On its borders is the Sorrel Woods development to the north, McKay Road to the east and M-53 to the southwest. A line of ITC Transmission towers and a gas main easement run through the property, both of which cannot be built upon.
       Mike Demil, the property owner, said to get the most out of the project he wants it rezoned from residential one family (R-1) to residential multiple family (RM-1). The designation would permit units like duplexes, but Demil said he only desires single family units.
       The lots would be 60 feet by 125 feet and fit three units per acre. Demil said he wants 165 units for it to be worthwhile.
       "It's one of those parcels that is difficult to work with," he said.
       Planning Commissioner Paul Okoniewski suggested the developers consider R1-B, a residential single family zoning, to have an estimated 125 units and provide extra space between it and Sorrel Woods.
       "With an R1-B, you could give the people of Sorrel Woods a bigger buffer, which is what they would be looking for," he said.
       Demil said the infrastructure cost was expensive, estimated at $4 million, so he didn't think it would be viable.
       A rezoning would stick with the property regardless of the plan. However, Demil said he would be in favor of a condition stating the property would revert to its previous zoning should his plans fall through.
       Sorrel Woods resident Jeff Thomas voiced his concerns about the proposed density. He said its disheartening to see such small lots in an otherwise rural township.
       "A third of an acre, that just seems like us moving down to Warren again," he said. "Bruce Township has always had the proud heritage and planned future, and they always try to make it bigger and better, and this is just a step back in my mind."
       Resident Richard Tucker said the township should keep in mind the impact such a development would have on the local school system due to more families and bus routes.
       Commissioners expressed similar thoughts, asking what impact the development would have on traffic levels and the environment. The township will require impact studies be submitted for the rezoning.
       The development gained access to water and sewer services from the Board of Trustees as of Feb. 19. Trustees said this would help eliminate the township's $2.5 million sewer debt, though arguments were made that it would create higher densities.

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