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Posted: 04/02/14

REZONING RAMIFICATIONS. Above, Darlene Kryta, a Sorrel Woods resident, spoke against a rezoning of property at 33 Mile and McKay roads that would permit a 165-unit development. The Bruce Township Planning Commission gave the developers 120 days to modify their plans following a public hearing on March 27.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Residents speak out against
RM-1 rezoning

Observer Staff Writer
      An outpouring of residents arguing against a potential 165-unit housing development has caused the plan to go back to the drawing board.
       The Bruce Township Planning Commission voted 7-0 on March 27 to grant developers 120 days to rework their plans to rezone 57.51 acres of property at 33 Mile and McKay roads.
       Just over a dozen citizens spoke at a public hearing regarding property owner Mike Demil's request to rezone land from residential one family (R-1) to residential multiple family (RM-1) to build 165 single-family homes.
       "I moved to Bruce for more land and open space to get away from overcrowded subdivisions and heavy traffic," said Darlene Kryta. "Bringing in another RM-1 development at the corner of 33 and McKay I believe will turn this into a high-density area and will substantially change the character of the area as it exists."
       Attorney Duncan Ogilvie represented Sorrel Woods residents like Krtya, saying the township's Master Plan calls for low to moderate single-family uses for the property.
       "I wonder how you can consider RM-1 in light of that," he said.
       Though most residents that spoke were from Sorrel Woods, which is north of the property, others like Shannon Griffin that live nearby shared their concerns.
       "As we start to make all these exceptions and we start to rezone what is planned, I think that is when things go haywire," Griffin said.
       Aside from the concerns of residents, township officials had their own issues with the rezoning. Mark Lloyd, the township's planning consultant, said a PRC requires 50 acres of continuous land. Since a right of way owned by ITC bisects the property, he said this is not the case.
       "That issue needs to be addressed somehow or another," he said.
       Lloyd confirmed the Master Plan does show the property and the surrounding lands as low- to moderate-density single family for future uses.
       Dan Bell, the designer of the plan, said if they developed the land as residential one family (R-1B), they would only fit 80 units instead of the desired 165.
       Lloyd said the property doesn't have great road access. The developers said they'll work with ITC to utilize its right of way to build roads, as a farmer is currently leasing the land.
       Commissioner Blake Taylor said he wouldn't be in favor of the rezoning if a vote were to take place.
       "The Master Plan was developed for a reason," he said.
       Following the public hearing, Demil, a Bruce resident, said he would like to modify his plans and come back to the commission at a later date.
       "I'm not against you, I live here too," he said.
       Planners also requested that Demil provide the required impact statement that will detail how the project would affect aspects like resources, utilities and traffic volumes. Commissioners said the study should take into account the proposed development of land across McKay Road that calls for a 298-unit assisted living community.
       No public comments or letters submitted to the township spoke in favor of the rezoning.
       Demil's property was granted access to the township's water and sewer districts by the Board of Trustees as of February.
       Bell said enough research hasn't been conducted to know what the final site plan will be, but did say the plan will involve affordable single-family homes and open space.

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