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July 16, 2013

Condos fit well on Rochester, Planning Commission says

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

The Planning Commission approved a rezoning request July 9 to pave the way for a nine-unit attached condo complex on the east side of Rochester Road, north of Wattles, south of Lamb Drive.

Joseph Maniaci, of Mondrian Properties, submitted the request. It follows the May 28 Planning Commission approval of a preliminary site plan for a Mondrian Properties parcel to the east of that for a nine-unit detached condo development, the Belleclaire Estates.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the request to rezone the 1-acre parcel from single-family homes to one-family attached residential for the proposed Belleclaire Condominiums at the July 9 meeting. Planning Commissioner Robert Schultz was absent from the meeting. 

Maniaci’s representative, Nathan Robertson, of Horizon Engineering, pointed out in a letter to the Planning Department that although the parcel was zoned residential, the property had been used for a commercial enterprise, and that redeveloping the site as an attached condo development reduces the intensity of the use and brings the site into closer conformity to the city’s master plan.

The site was a former nursery with a shed and greenhouse.

The city master plan for that area on Rochester Road calls for lower-impact uses, such as condominiums along the corridor between the more intense uses at the major road intersections. Adjacent parcels are zoned one-family attached residential. The city Planning, Engineering, Public Works and Fire departments and the city’s planning consultant, Carlisle/Wortman Associates, supported approval of the request.

“It’s an appropriate transition,” Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, said. “We feel the rezoning complies with all the provisions of the ordinance.”

“I applaud you for the investment and doing a nice job,” said Planning Commissioner Philip Sanzica, referring to the number of projects in the city that Mondrian Properties has completed.

“This area is crying out for development,” said Planning Commissioner Gordon Schepke. “New condos will fit nicely.”

“It’s a really great development,” said Planning Commission Vice Chair Donald Edmunds.

While a site plan was not needed and was not submitted with the rezoning request, Carlisle asked that the developer consider placing the westerly unit to face Rochester Road to provide a street presence and minimize curb cuts, and that rear and side yards be provided on the east and south property lines, respectively, to separate the project from the single-family homes to the east.

“The site plan is not under review — only the rezoning,” Carlisle said.

The Planning Commission also unanimously approved Maniaci’s preliminary site plan on behalf on Mondrian Properties for a seven-unit detached condominium project, Adria Estates, on a 2.9-acre site on the east side of Rochester Road, south of Square Lake, at the July 9 meeting. Edmunds recused himself from that vote because he lives in the vicinity. Those plans include a 12-foot-wide emergency vehicle access path off Rochester Road and a sidewalk along Rochester Road that fills a gap between Player Drive to the south and Creekside Drive to the north.

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