Residents of the nearby Berkshire Pointe neighborhood have voiced concerns regarding construction of a connector road proposed by Detroit Catholic Central High School.

Residents of the nearby Berkshire Pointe neighborhood have voiced concerns regarding construction of a connector road proposed by Detroit Catholic Central High School.

Photo by Brian Wells


Berkshire Pointe residents voice concerns over proposed driveway at Catholic Central in Novi

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published November 11, 2021

Photo by Brian Wells

Photo by Brian Wells

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NOVI — When a proposed connector road at Detroit Catholic Central High School was brought before Novi’s Planning Commission, residents of a nearby subdivision grew concerned.

The goal of the proposed driveway is to improve the flow of traffic on the school’s campus while also lessening traffic at the two current intersections on Wixom Road, which will also improve pedestrian safety, said Jake Marmul, the school’s director of admissions and public relations.

The proposed road would add a driveway to Catholic Central High School that would connect it to 12 Mile Road, south of Grand River Road, through what is currently a vacant lot.

But the residents of the nearby Berkshire Pointe housing development have concerns.

At the Oct. 6 meeting of the Planning Commission, residents of the neighborhood shared concerns about privacy, traffic and the impact to their properties.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to postpone the decision on the proposed preliminary site plan to allow the applicant time to address some of the concerns raised by the commissioners and residents.

A meeting between Berkshire Pointe residents and Catholic Central’s leadership was held Oct. 13. After hearing concerns, the school developers made several changes to the plans that Marmul said go above and beyond the city’s requirements.

Adjustments include:

• Providing a wooden buffer of approximately 70 feet along the south property line of the housing division by revising the planned detention basin.

• Providing a buffer of up to approximately 200 feet along the west property line of the housing division by reducing the future mitigation area.

• Revising the proposed wetland mitigation area to preserve the existing vegetation and regulated trees along the west property line, which comes at an additional design and construction cost to Catholic Central.

• Planting woodland replacement trees on-site, including the areas along the perimeter of the wetland mitigation area along the north side of the proposed detention basin and in the open space adjacent to the housing division.

• Adding screening by planting trees along the connector road.

• Preserving the existing vegetation along 12 Mile Road.

“In the spirit of being good neighbors, we want to make the adjustments where we can without impacting the goals of the project,” Marmul said in an email.

New site plans have been submitted to the city. Marmul said the school is hoping to move to construction as quickly as possible, stating their voluntary tabling of the vote in October significantly impacted the anticipated timeline.

However, Jason Michener, president of Berkshire Pointe’s homeowner’s association, said the changed plans don’t address some of the residents’ bigger concerns.

“There’s the aesthetic, which is like your light noise buffer of the natural barrier. And then there’s the structural damage, water damage, potential surface water runoff and water tables increasing in height underground,” Michener said. “Our two main concerns are the aesthetics and the water, and their plans are more addressing the aesthetics.”

Residents are trying to assess if there is a risk from either the surface or underground water tables changing. Changing the water table or the water surface runoff could lead to flooding in the residents’ backyards and homes. If the water table raises and grows closer to a home’s basement, it can lead to erosion of the foundation.

If it can be determined that there isn’t a risk factor from water runoff, it becomes a matter of trying to maintain the proposed buffer zone, Michener said.

“We’re just trying to see … what can be done to minimize disruption to various homeowners,” Michener said.

The city’s Planning Commission hasn’t met since early October. But despite the waiting, Michener said he feels hopeful.

“I’m hopeful that it works out for everybody involved and we can kind of move forward as a community, as good neighbors going forward,” he said.

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