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December 19, 2012

Dequindre land will revert back to residential

By Cortney Casey
C & G Staff Writer

Property on Dequindre that was changed to office zoning years ago will revert back to its original single-family designation with recent City Council action.

Sterling Land Development LLC petitioned for the change back to R-100 with intentions to construct a residential neighborhood on the property, located between 19 Mile and Forest Meade, said interim City Planner Don Mende.

The overall site spans 19 acres, but in 2006, the then-owner, Kisil Development, Inc., successfully lobbied to make 5 acres of the property O-1, business and professional office district, said Mende.

“His ultimate plan was to have the office development on the northwest corner of this property, and to do a single-family residential development that would surround it,” he told City Council Dec. 4.

But after the economy tanked, plans stagnated, and the property changed hands and ultimately reverted to the bank, he said. And now, Sterling Land Development has alternate plans for the area.

“Their niche is in single-family homes, and so they would like to combine it with the remainder of their property, a total of 19 acres, to develop as single-family home sites,” he said.

Planning Commission members reviewed the proposal at their Nov. 8 meeting and unanimously recommended approval by council, citing the R-100 zoning’s consistency and harmoniousness with the surrounding area.

City Council voted 6-0 Dec. 4, with Mayor Pro Tem Michael Taylor excused, to approve the map amendment needed to accommodate the zoning change.

“For us to have a downzoning — it’s very unusual,” said Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko, referring to the less intense usage posed by residential versus office. “The residents there appreciate it, so we’ll see what happens.”

Responding to Councilwoman Maria Schmidt’s inquiry about how many homes can be expected on the property, Mende said the R-100 zoning allows for 2.55 units per acre.

“So in total — the 5 acres under consideration for rezoning, combined with the remainder of the residential property — the maximum that you would be able to get under that density is 48 units,” said Mende.

Based on the latest layouts proposed by the developer’s engineer, “It looks like they would be able to accommodate approximately 44 units on the property,” he said. “So it is under the density requirements.”

The measure was unanimously approved at the council’s Dec. 18 meeting. Mende said earlier that the new owners intend to begin construction by the summer of 2013.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Cortney Casey at ccasey@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.