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April 3, 2013

Accounting building will expand and go green

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

A green roof has propelled plans forward for a commercial center on northbound Rochester Road, north of Big Beaver.

A new option for developers, the Sustainable Development Option, allowed the developer to have 20 percent less than the normally required open space on the site of a retail and office center in return for a green roof. 

The purpose of the option is to encourage development and redevelopment to incorporate features designed to minimize adverse impacts on the environment. This option offers the developer flexibility on requirements, such as parking and maximum lot coverage in exchange for the green efforts.

The Sustainable Design Review Committee consists of Planning Director Brent Savidant, the city building official, a city engineer and two members of the Planning Commission.

Magdi Samwel, architect for Space Design Innovation, the developer’s representative, offered to include a green roof on the proposed expansion of an existing office building in exchange for less open space.

“The question was, is it appropriate to count the green roof as green space?” Savidant said. “In this case, it works pretty well.”

Savidant pointed out that the green roof needs to “function into perpetuity,” and the developer has encouraged the city to inspect it every year.

He added that the developer is taking a small, nondescript building and making a statement on Rochester Road.

The proposed plans, Samwel said, “change the building a lot and give appeal to Rochester Road.”

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the preliminary site plans at the March 26 Planning Commission meeting. The plans include a 786-square-foot addition to the front of the building and an 800-square-foot addition to the rear of an existing 1,271-square-foot building, currently occupied by an accounting firm. There was no information available on how the additional space would be used at press time.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, recommended approval of the plans. “They’re making a significant improvement and investment,” he said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.