Townhome plans move forward at Haldane and Livernois

By: Terry Oparka, | Troy Times | Published June 14, 2017

TROY — The Troy Planning Commission proceeded with plans for a townhome development and recommended a conditional rezoning for the development of a 2.6-acre site at Livernois Road and Haldane Street, near Square Lake Road, recently.  

The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to move the plans forward May 23, after the developer offered to alter the initially proposed plans based on the commission’s feedback. Planning Commissioners Philip Sanzica and Karen Crusse were absent from the meeting. 

Ben Carlisle — of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant — explained that the site consists of eight parcels and includes two zoning designations. The front two parcels, next to Livernois Road, are zoned as neighborhood node, and a rezoning is not needed for those parcels. 

The developer, Sam Stafa, is asking for a conditional rezoning for the back six parcels, currently zoned one-family attached, to neighborhood node for more design flexibility. 

The city’s master plan envisions the parcel currently zoned RT as a neighborhood node. 

The Planning Commission is the recommending body for conditional rezoning requests, and the City Council has final approval. 

The planning commissioners discussed concerns about a left-hand turn from Haldane Street to Livernois Road from the proposed development, as well as adequate parking and the massing and height of the buildings. 

There is a market demand,” said Mark Abanatha, of Alexander V. Bogaerts and Associates, spokesman for the developer. He said the attached three-story units would have attached two-car garages, which he said would have a brownstone look. “We feel we’re meeting a niche … respecting what the community is looking for,” he said. “The developer is very anxious to get this in the ground.” 

Julie Kroll, of Fleis & Vanderbrink, who supplied the traffic study for the developer, said trip generation from the proposed development would be “pretty low.” 

She said that Livernois Road is under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County, which has reviewed the traffic study. Kroll said the Road Commission has not requested any improvements to the plans or turning restrictions. She noted that the Road Commission did comment that the city could consider upgrades to traffic signals, if it chooses to do so. 

Dr. Donald Kacy, a dentist whose office is adjacent to the proposed development, expressed concerns about a proposed wall on the property with regard to traffic and parking. 

“I’m not trying to stop it (the project),” he said, noting that his concerns are about safety and insurance issues. 

Armanda Cabej, who lives on Niles Drive, adjacent to the proposed development, said she is concerned about additional traffic and the current difficulty in turning onto Haldane Street. 

“This is a massive project for such a small area,” said Planning Commissioner Michael Hutson. 

Initially, the developer had proposed 45 units in seven buildings, with two fronting Livernois Road and one fronting Haldane Street. The remaining four buildings were arranged around an internal drive, with two buildings on the western end of the parcel. The two western-most buildings were originally five and six units and were adjacent to the RT zoning district. 

Abanatha offered to amend the original plans and replace the five- and six-unit buildings with two buildings containing three units each, to reduce the massing on the western property line and to offer a softer transition between the duplexes to the west and the proposed development.  

The proposed development is now at 43 units. The developer plans to offer an elevator option for those who want it. The price points for the proposed townhomes were not available. 

At press time, no date had been set for the Troy City Council to consider the matter.