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Updated Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 3 PM EST

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Consent judgment brings
495 unit plan to Ray Twp

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Developers and Ray Township have agreed to allowing a development of 495 units in the rural community.
       A consent judgment handed down by the Macomb County Circuit Court in October will give Four Stars, LLC the opportunity to develop 84 acres of property north of 26 Mile Road and east of Hayes.
       Ray Township Supervisor Charlie Bohm said Four Stars owns the property, but the township rezoned it for a mobile home park in its master plan document due to state laws requiring affordable housing to be available.
       Four Stars took the township to court, saying they had no intention on building a mobile home development because it would be impractial. Instead, they wanted to build a multiple unit development.
       "The biggest problem was their proposal was directly in violation of our master plan," he said. "The density far exceeds anything we have in our master plan."
       As of October a consent judgment was reached, ending a court battle that began when Four Stars filed the suit on Dec. 17, 2012.
       As part of the consent judgment, a site plan has been approved for the development. The plans cannot be changed unless both the township and the builders agree to the amendments. Bohm said the court agreed to override the normal planning process for the plan.
       "It's very close to a Planned Unit Development," he said. "By doing what they did here, they shortcut it all and took the thing to court."
       Jamie Warrow, the attorney who represented Four Stars, could not be reached for comment.
       Aside from the judgment, Bohm said the developers would have to resolve the issue of sewer services. He said the township has asked the Macomb County Department of Public Works to hook up with neighboring communities for water and sewer but has had no luck thus far.
       "They (Four Stars) either have to find a way to get rid of the sewage that is generated or they have to build a plant," he said.
       Bohm said the township has asked for utility hook-ups from Macomb Township as well as Washington Township but was denied on both counts.
       "The water and sewerage situation has got to be resolved before we issue any building permits," he said.
       Bohm said Four Stars has received approval from the state to build a wastewater treatment plant that would drain into the Healy Drain, though he wasn't sure if the developers would go through with it.
       Bohm said the court costs from the lawsuit are covered by the township's insurance policies, adding that the appeal was much less than the coverage so it's expected to be paid completely.
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