New high-end homes planned on parcel in north end in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 19, 2017

TROY — Plans will proceed for new homes to be located west of Dequindre Road and north of Square Lake Road. The Troy Planning Commission approved the preliminary site plan Nov. 28.

The site plan prompted a discussion on how to ensure that homeowner associations effectively manage and maintain private roads and bioswales. 

The Planning Commission voted 8-0 to approve the preliminary site plan at its Nov. 28 meeting. Planning Commissioner Carlton Faison was absent. 

Developer Pat Bismark submitted plans for the five homes on about 3 1/2  acres — an area that includes a regulated wetland and a number of trees — at the southern end of Meadowlark Drive, which will be extended as part of the development. 

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, told the Planning Commission that a wetland survey showed that the project would not disturb the wetland.

The development would preserve 540 inches of trees and would cut down 676 inches of trees. The plan includes replanting 472 inches of trees and adding bioswales. 

The homes would range from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and would be priced at $425,000 to $500,000. Evanswood Church formerly owned the parcel.

“We wanted to save as many trees and as many natural features as possible,” said Fazal Khan, of Fazal Khan & Associates, a spokesman for the developer. 

He noted that the developer could have gotten six lots, but decided to leave the floodplain alone.  He said the homeowners association would maintain the bioswales. The final site plan, which would be approved administratively by the Planning Department, would contain the maintenance agreement. 

“Bioswales are only as good as they are maintained,” said Planning Commissioner Donald Edmunds. 

“The key is to have a maintenance agreement/plan that’s easy to understand and transferable,” said Planning Director R. Brent Savidant. He said that maintenance is something the city staff worries about for private roads. 

During a discussion regarding the possibility of the city managing the maintenance of bioswales and stormwater retention in private developments and assessing the homeowners association for the maintenance costs, Assistant City Attorney Julie Dufrane said that “it was not something, at this point, the city was willing to do.” 

“It’s a policy change that, at this table, we are not equipped to deal with,” she said. 

“We’re going to have a lot of bioretention areas, a lot of private roads, a lot of other improvements that we’re going to be relying on the homeowners associations to maintain in the future,” Savidant said.  

Badly maintained bioswales can cause flooding. 

“Based on this dialogue, we could bring this forward and discuss this internally and see where it goes,” Savidant said. “This is a very important issue going forward.”