Carried over from a past meeting, the Macomb Township Planning Commission further discussed the topic of impervious surface requirements Oct. 1. Pictured is the commission earlier this year.

Carried over from a past meeting, the Macomb Township Planning Commission further discussed the topic of impervious surface requirements Oct. 1. Pictured is the commission earlier this year.

File photo by Sarah Purlee


Impervious requirement explained at meeting in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 7, 2019

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — At the Macomb Township Planning Commission’s Oct. 1 meeting, further explanation was given in regard to impervious surface requirements.

Impervious surfaces are mainly artificial structures, like pavements, covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt and concrete.

Currently, the township’s requirement is that materials shall not exceed 50% of a total property area.

“When somebody doesn’t meet the impervious surface ratio, the ordinance doesn’t provide for a variance,” Macomb Township Planning Consultant Patrick Meagher said.

After measuring out lots in the township with impervious surfaces, few parcels exceeded the 50% rule.

In September, Kerry Duggan, president of Wind Surf & Sail Pools Inc. of Clinton Township, asked the commission to look at impervious percentage allowed for extra patio and concrete of pools.

“People in small lots are having problems with that,” he said. “People with brand-new homes are not able to do the size patios they want to do. Their pools are not able to build any closer to three and a half feet off the property line and that’s with a retainer wall. This has put a hardship on some of our customers.”

One such customer was Kim Servillo, who resides north of 25 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road.

“I have a small lot, 8,400 square feet, so 50%, then when you add impervious surfaces, it comes to 3,700 sqaure feet,” she said. “Then you take three feet around the pool and coping, that leaves about 180 square feet to put in a walkway.”

She said her family can’t put a porch with steps going down to the pool because they will be over 50%.

“For small lots, 50% is a huge chunk, compared to a great big lot,” she said. “We’re at our wits’ ends trying to figure out how we’re going to get our sod in, get our sprinkler in.”

Duggan said Servillo isn’t able to do the patio the way she wants with the code the way it is.     

Meagher said pools aren’t considered impervious surfaces, but decking, concrete and pavers, and similar materials are included in the pervious surface calculation.

Resident Justin Efthemiou said his family has a smaller lot and when they moved, regulation wasn’t in place for the 50% rule.

“From what I understand, it’s 50% paved areas and 50% natural areas,” he said. “We put in a patio and then decided to put in a pool last year.”

When the pool plan was drawn up, the yard was at 52.8%.

“Because I have a smaller lot, we’re suffering because we can’t have an area for the kids to sit around the pool because I poured a nice patio in the front area with a nice landscape block,” Efthemiou said.

Planning Commission Secretary Aaron Tuckfield said with most of the homes built right now in the township, the commission is continually seeing residents having a hard time fitting in porches, pools and sunrooms.

Meagher cautioned that if the amount is increased, there will always be those who will ask for one more percent.

The discussion will continue at the commission’s Oct. 15 meeting.

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