Council OKs 12-home development

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 23, 2018

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TROY — The Troy City Council approved plans for 12 new high-end homes under the cluster zoning option after listening to residents’ concerns about the project, which is nestled in the Sylvan Glen subdivision, near Long Lake and Livernois roads. 

The council voted 6-1 to approve the plans at its Jan. 8 meeting. 

City Councilman David Hamilton opposed the measure, saying he has concerns about the size of the proposed lots compared to the adjacent lots and whether the project will complement the adjacent neighborhood. 

The Troy Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the preliminary site plans Nov. 14 after the developer returned with a better plan — the third development to be proposed under the city’s new cluster zoning option.

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

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. 

The developer, Jeremy Davis, said the homes will range in price from $165 to $200 per square foot, which works out to prices ranging from $330,000 to $440,000. 

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

Residents had concerns about maintenance and drainage of the proposed bioswales, the smaller lot sizes in comparison to the adjacent lots in the subdivision, and the development’s effect on nearby property values.

Under traditional zoning guidelines, 10 homes could be constructed on the site. The developer is offering to preserve 37 percent of the site as open space. Under the cluster option guidelines, the developer could construct three additional homes.

There is an existing historical home on the site that Davis said they plan to renovate. The lot sizes range from 6,610 to 6,692 square feet. 

The adjacent lots average 14,000 square feet. 

“This applicant received a lot of public response,” Planning Director R. Brent Savidant said to the Troy City Council. He noted that the city assessor said that the new homes will not negatively impact the value of the surrounding homes. 

City Assessor Nino Licari said via email that “the cluster development will have no effect on the value of the homes (in the) Sylvan Glen (subdivision).” 

“Sylvan Glen prides itself on being wide open,” said resident Maryann Husson. 

“This is a high-density project in a low-density area,” said resident Milan Chonich. 

City Engineer Steve Vandette noted that while the cluster zoning option encourages biodetention by the developer, it “is not a requirement by the city. It is offered by the applicant.” 

Vandette said the Engineering Department will review the proposed bioswales as part of the final site plan approval to see if the design meets requirements and to ensure there will be no off-site impact. 

“If it’s (bioswales) not approved, it would require a rear yard drain,” Vandette said. 

“We make sure there is no impact on surrounding properties,” said Mayor Dane Slater. 

“I think the 37 percent open space is worth the trade-off,” said Councilman Ethan Baker. “I think it’s going to be a good thing for the city.” 

“This feels compatible,” said Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek. 

“In the long run, I think you will recognize it’s the best development for the subdivision,” Slater said.