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Posted: 04/02/14

POSTPONED PLANS Above, Justin Racz of Racz Building and Development explains the different phases of a 298-unit continued care community at 33 Mile and McKay roads. The site plan was postponed by the Planning Commission so the developers could provide an updated impact statement.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Bruce Twp continued care development on hold

Observer Staff Writer
      Officials are requiring an updated impact statement on what an assisted living community will have in Bruce Township before taking action on it.
       The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to postpone the approval of Racz Building and Development's site plan for a 298-unit retirement community until May so the impact of such a development can be examined.
       Justin Racz said the original plans for the 7.8 acres at 33 Mile and McKay roads was to build a 106-bed assisted living facility. However, when they lost 33 of their 68 skilled nursing beds, the plan was changed to its current form.
       The plans include 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.
       "We are zoned correctly, we believe that we have met the criteria of the ordinances and we're ready to move forward," he said.
       Due to confidentiality agreements, Racz couldn't publicly provide the name of the company creating the facilities, but said they have 80 locations throughout the Midwest.
       Racz said the name could be revealed at the time of a title transfer, but he was allowed under certain circumstances to reveal the company to certain entities.
       "Confidentiality agreements were put in place for a reason, and we have to abide by them," he said.
       He said their certificate of need for the skilled nursing beds requires them to break ground by August before it expires.
       Commissioners, though, were hesitant to grant approval, as the impact statement for the development was created in 2007. The statement examines traffic flows, environmental impacts and other factors affected by the development.
       Commissioner Paul Okoniewski said the statement showed a 50 percent increase in traffic in 2007 in the area. Racz said they weren't looking to do a new statement, but were willing to update the original with current information.
       "The use groups that we're asking for today are much less of an impact," he said. "A lot of the residents in these communities, continuing care retirement communities, don't drive."
       Commissioner Ken Scott made a motion to postpone the approval until an updated impact statement was provided by Racz.
       "I don't have a problem if he wants to update it, that would be okay, but at least something we can look at . . . before we make a decision," he said.
       Scott said on top of the impact statement, he would like to see more details about specific dimensions and building materials as well as the exterior lighting plan for the development.
       Racz said he could provide the details in 15 days, but updating the statement would take more than a month's time. Commissioners agreed to give him until their next meeting in May.
       Resident Carl Beauvais took issue with the age of the impact statement as well as wanting more details, but also didn't like that very few people knew the name of the company.
       "The residents and this board need to know who all the players are, not confidential unknowns, before it accepts any other proposal from this developer," he said.
       If the site plan is 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 includes the remaining 15 duplexes and the third phase is the 120-bed facility.
       Any changes to the buildings would have to come back for approval from the township.
       Rezoning of the property took place in the fall of 2012 for 17 acres changing it from light manufacturing (M-1) to residential multiple family (RM-1). A previous contractual rezoning changed the remaining portion.

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