A 44-home single-family subdivision will be developed at a parcel east of Orchard Lake Road and north of 10 Mile Road after a 5-2 approval by City Council Jan. 13.

A 44-home single-family subdivision will be developed at a parcel east of Orchard Lake Road and north of 10 Mile Road after a 5-2 approval by City Council Jan. 13.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


Farmington Hills City Council approves new residential development

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published February 3, 2020

 The cluster site development recently approved by City Council currently sits as a vacant woodland property behind the Ridgeview Drive subdivision.

The cluster site development recently approved by City Council currently sits as a vacant woodland property behind the Ridgeview Drive subdivision.

Photo by Jonathan Shead

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FARMINGTON HILLS — A new residential subdivision, approved by City Council in a 5-2 vote Jan. 13, has found a home north of 10 Mile Road, east of Orchard Lake Road.

Mayor Vicki Barnett and Council member Michael Bridges voted against the development.

The development, which was passed under the city’s cluster site ordinance, will sit on 19 acres and will house a mix of 44 detached ranch and colonial style single-family homes. The project comes from the Farmington Hills-based Sherr Development Corp.

The cluster site option allows developers to increase the density of homes within a dedicated parcel with the promise of preserving trees, wetlands and environmental features on the site.

After several rounds of Planning Commission and City Council meetings, and requested revisions, Roger Sherr — the co-president of Sherr Development — said he is happy his company earned approval to get started.

“We’re experts in home building, and I don’t say that lightly, because there are a lot of bad builders. There are a lot of bad floor plans. There are a lot of bad elevations,” Sherr said. “From an architectural standpoint, I think one will appreciate the harmony, consistency and coordination within the community. … I think it will preserve and allow for increasing home values in the communities we develop.”

Home sizes will range from 1,600 to 2,500 square feet. Sherr said the development’s target demographics will be first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers and empty nesters. The parcel will hold a 2.3-unit density per acre, and house heights will max out at 2 1/2 stories. He said home prices will range from $200,000-$350,000.

“I think we’re going to have a little bit of something for everybody.”

The subdivision will have two thoroughfares, a main one off of 10 Mile Road and one at Paisley Drive, which leads into the Ridgeview subdivision due east. A retention pond and a subdivision mailbox center will sit at the front of the property.

While only 15% open space — wetlands, trees and environmental features — is required under the cluster site option, Sherr Development has plans to preserve roughly 27% open space.

Sherr said there is also a “strong potential” for sidewalks in the subdivision.

“In this area, many of the subdivisions don’t have sidewalks, but we do have sidewalks along 10 Mile and Orchard Lake roads, and we have commercial there, too. We’re anticipating sidewalks in the community to provide connectivity to the surrounding shopping areas.”

Although there were challenges, given the size and shape of the site, and various objections — including from council members and Ridgeview residents — Sherr told the council Jan. 13 that he doesn’t believe council members will see another plan as “well conceived” as the one they’re proposing.

Still, Barnett had concerns.

When Sherr’s company last met with City Council in July 2019, council members denied the project due to concerns with the development’s proposed density of 2.4 units per acre and with a proposed exit onto Orchard Lake Road, which public safety officials told council members would pose a risk. Council members sought to lower the density to 2.2 units per acre.

“I was concerned with the fact the developers failed to comply with (council members’) density number … and in my opinion, it was not compatible with the existing subdivision to the east, where you have two lots in the new proposed subdivision backing up to one lot in the existing one,” Barnett said.

Bridges’ main concern, and reason for voting against the project, also sprouted from the issue of density.

Barnett said developers missed the mark to be more creative with their proposal and perhaps allow for and incentivize the use of green energy — like solar roofing tiles — in their project.

“I don’t fault the developer. I was not around when they first came in with the original plan,” she said. “We have to start looking at these opportunities in a new, creative way. If we fail to do so, we’re not doing our best in redeveloping the community according to where the market is moving in the future.”

With revisions to the plan, however, Sherr was able to change the opinion of some council members, like Ken Massey — who said a density difference of 2.3 to 2.2 won’t make a difference — and Samantha Steckloff — who believes the community needs new developments like this.

Sherr also had support from the president of the Ridgeview Homeowners Association, who said the revised plan was better and addressed her association’s concerns with cut-through traffic.

With final approval on the books, Sherr hopes to begin development this spring, start building home models in the summer and have homes ready to sell by fall.

“Things will move quickly, (but) we’re experienced. We know what we’re doing,” he said. “The result is attractive housing that people will enjoy for years.”

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