Troy council to consider 13-home development under cluster option

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 28, 2017

TROY — Thirteen was the lucky number for a developer seeking approval for a project on 5 acres off of Long Lake Road, east of Livernois Road.

The Troy Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval after the developer came back with a better plan for the development this month, and it’s the third development to be proposed under the city’s new cluster zoning option. 

The Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the site plan at its Nov. 14 meeting. Planning Commission Vice Chair Karen Crusse and Planning Commissioner Philip Sanzica were absent. 

The Planning Commission is the recommending body on site plans proposed under the cluster option, and the City Council has final approval. 

In October 2016, the council adopted a cluster zoning designation that offers density bonuses for restricting the housing unit size to 1,500 square feet and for sustainable designs — including green infrastructure and naturalized stormwater management — and it requires the developer to preserve at least 20 percent open space. 

The proposed cluster plan for the Long Lake Road development features 37 percent open space. Single-family homes surround the parcel on the north, the east and the west. Under traditional zoning, 10 homes would be allowed on the site.

The Planning Commission unanimously postponed making a recommendation on the previous proposal — a 14-unit development — at its July 25 meeting so the developer could address a number of issues, including concerns that the 20-foot driveways weren’t long enough, and design concerns about the attached garages. 

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said that the developer’s decision to remove the 14th unit increased the open space by 7 percent. 

The site plan features a private park, bioswales and three housing options: 2,000-square-foot ranches,  2,500-square-foot split levels and 2,500-square-foot colonials. 

Currently, there are 161 trees on the site, most of which are invasive species or are in poor condition, Carlisle said. 

The site plan proposes removing two landmark trees and preserving two landmark trees, plus removing 14 other trees and preserving seven; 35 deciduous trees will be planted along the private road as a greenbelt. 

“The plan, we believe, is a win-win,” said Mike Powell, a design engineer for the developer. He said the submitted plan minimizes the visual impact on any adjacent properties, and he added that they are not clear-cutting the site. 

“We’ve tried to mitigate the impact of the development on the surrounding neighborhood,” he said. 

Resident Carol Mazurek said she has concerns about the drainage system on the site and the impact on the surrounding homes. 

Resident Rob Pelliccia said the lots are smaller than the lots of surrounding homes. 

“It’s going to look more congested … and have negative impact on houses in (the) Sylvan Glen (subdivision).” 

“Something like this does not  belong,” said resident Maryann Husson. “It takes away the integrity of Sylvan Glen.” 

“We would engineer the system and maintenance plan as part of the final site plan,” said Troy Planning Director R. Brent Savidant. “It cannot adversely impact the drainage for adjacent properties.” 

He noted that the city Engineering Department supports the planned bioswales. 

“This (property) is not going to sit there undeveloped for very long,” Savidant added. “This is such an attractive place to live, I believe it will not be undeveloped for long.” 

The request will now go before the City Council.