Farmington Hills development proposal sparks objections over fate of wetlands

Planning Commission to meet Feb. 15

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published February 13, 2024


An agenda item scheduled to come before the Farmington Hills Planning Commission has captured the attention of some residents trying to save local wetlands.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Farmington Hills City Hall, 31555 W. 11 Mile Road, to consider a proposal from Forest at Riverwalk Development LLC for 16 parcels for construction of single-family homes, with a one-family cluster option.

The location for the proposed development is on the south side of Folsom Road, between Parker Avenue and Lundy Drive.

Folsom is a service drive for the M-5 highway, and it runs from Farmington Road to Orchard Lake Road, according to Michelle Gala, who is a resident in the area.

Multiple residents who live in the area may be in attendance at the Planning Commission meeting to voice their opinions about the proposed project.

The developer wants to build approximately 35 cluster homes. The size of the land is 16.29 acres, but with easements, Forest at Riverwalk Development LLC would only be able to build on 13.23 acres.

A group of residents in the area has contacted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to protest the development proposal, said Gala, who stated that the area being considered for development is located on wetlands. 

She said it contains wildlife, including snapping turtles.

“We’re not talking little wildlife; we’re talking hawks and owls and just everything you could possibly imagine in this area – fox, coyotes, all of that are in these wetlands,” Gala said. “So, that’s part of why we’re trying to stop this – because you’re destroying the ecosystem. You’re destroying the wildlife. You’re creating an environmental issue.”

Gala said that the home that she lives in is over 100 years old, and there are other homes in the area that were built prior to hers.

“We’ve seen tons of changes in this area, but you just can’t keep killing all the green space,” Gala said.

Stuart Michaelson is a partner with Forest at Riverwalk Development LLC. He said he understands that development project proposals don’t always meet with approval from residents.

“Since 1983, I’ve been developing and building, and I’ve gone through many, many meetings, including in Farmington Hills,” Michaelson said. “It’s typical – people that own lots or land adjacent to a new development have always complained.”

From Michaelson’s perspective, there is a way to avoid the primary concerns of residents.

“We came up with a plan that stays out of the wetlands area; it stays away from the river,” he said.

A representative for the Planning Commission could not be reached for comment.

Check out the Farmington Press for an update on the Planning Commission’s recommendation.