Tabled from the March 19 meeting, a rezoning request and conceptual review plan was held at the April 16 Planning Commission meeting. Seen here is the conceptual site plan for Walden Communities, a senior housing community.

Tabled from the March 19 meeting, a rezoning request and conceptual review plan was held at the April 16 Planning Commission meeting. Seen here is the conceptual site plan for Walden Communities, a senior housing community.

File design provided by M & C Limited


Conceptual review plan held for Walden Communities

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published April 30, 2019

 Macomb Township residents prepare to listen during the April 16 Planning Commission meeting, including what members had to say about a proposed senior living facility north of 22 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road.

Macomb Township residents prepare to listen during the April 16 Planning Commission meeting, including what members had to say about a proposed senior living facility north of 22 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The site of a proposed senior housing community is now rezoned.

A rezoning request and conceptual review plan were further discussed at the April 16 Planning Commission meeting.

Tabled from the March 19 meeting, a rezoning request was held from a residential one family suburban, or R-1-S, land to community facilities, or CF. The postponement gave commission members a chance to consider what the public had to say and make revisions.

The motion to rezone the property passed 6-1. Secretary Aaron Tuckfield was the lone ‘no’ vote.

“We’re looking at if the CF zoning is appropriate for this particular piece of property,” Macomb Township Planning Director Patrick Meagher said.

The commission was responsible for making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will make the final decision.

A public hearing was held at the March 19 meeting, where the motion to change the rezoning failed in a 3-3 vote.

Also tabled from March was a conceptual review plan for Walden Communities, a 700-unit active senior housing community. The 79-acre parcel in question is located on the eastside of Romeo Plank Road, between 21 Mile and 22 Mile roads. The community would be constructed between Romeo Plank and the middle branch of the Clinton River.

Meagher said the commissioners should be establishing findings of fact for the public value.

“We review the zoning and land use patterns in the area, seeing what’s happening there and what’s available in the area,” he said. “The commission needs to separate the facts from the opinion. In essence, come up with an unemotional idea as to if the zoning is appropriate for this particular parcel.”

Mario Izzi, of MJC Companies and Moceri Companies, spoke on behalf of the petitioner, M & C Limited, of Utica, which owns the land.

“Since the last meeting, we took the questions and concerns from residents and commission, and prepared individual responses,” he said. “From a rezoning perspective, we could come in and build another 200 houses. If we don’t build houses, existing homes in the area retain their value.”

Izzi addressed concerns residents had with the height of the proposed buildings.

“We’re proposing three-story buildings. A 5-foot tall berm and 10-foot tall pine trees will cover the bottom half of that three-story building. I don’t think these buildings will be seen in 10 to 15 years,” he said.

In regard to traffic, M&C Limited met with the Macomb County Road Commission, and Izzi noted that Romeo Plank is five lanes, and is scheduled to be constructed north of 21 Mile Road to 23 Mile Road in 2022.

“Those major thoroughfares will be improved by the time we break ground in 2022. This senior housing community will generate less traffic during rush hour than a single family subdivision will,” Izzi said.

Planning Commission Chairman Charles Oliver said that since the public hearing was already held, residents couldn’t publicly speak on the item.

Meeting chambers were filled to capacity with residents, some of which showed up with the understanding they would be able to publicly comment on the project.

“I want to study this project more,” said Anthony Grillo, whose American Elm Drive home backs up to the Clinton River, said. “What I’m concerned about is it being a three-story building. I’ll be looking across at it. They say there’s going to be trees, but you’re still going to see the roofline. There goes my wooded area behind me.”

He would rather see a low-level building constructed, if anything were to be built there.

“The site plan has not changed, but we added a berm, or buffer, on the west side of the Clinton River, with 10-foot tall pine trees,” Izzi said.

He said the berm and trees will cover almost the entire first and second floor.

“We find the river and tree buffer that exists on the eastside of this site provides a substantial separation from residential,” Meagher said.

Izzi believes the development will benefit Macomb Township, as well as generate jobs and tax revenue.

For a timeline of the project, Izzi said it will take two to three years for engineering and permitting, and seven to 10 years from the time the first building is constructed to the last.

The next step for Walden Communities is the application phase, where residents can voice their opinion.

Also of note was the announcement the May 7 Planning Commission meeting is cancelled, as it coincides with the New Haven Community Schools special election.