New Grosse Pointe City home addresses lot dimension challenges

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 8, 2019

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Although it doesn’t meet Grosse Pointe City’s standards for lot coverage and setbacks, officials and neighbors alike concur that a planned new home at 307 Roosevelt Place will improve, not detract, from the neighborhood.

While many other parcels in the R-1B district have lot depths of 130 to 160 feet, this property — like some others on the west side of Roosevelt Place — has a depth of only 65 feet, leading to serious challenges with regard to constructing a home with modern amenities.

“We’re really dimensionally challenged from a lot depth standpoint,” Brian Keesey, a principal planner with the City’s planning firm of McKenna Associates, said during a Dec. 17 City Council meeting.

So, when the planners were presented with a proposal for a new, 2.5-story home with an attached garage and covered porches, the planners weren’t troubled by the fact that the proposal called for a lot coverage of 41.96 percent when the maximum is 30 percent.

The proposal also needed a variance for deficient setbacks: 6.7 feet for the front yard, where 10.15 feet is required; 16.6 feet for the rear yard, where 25 feet is required; and 17.6 feet combined for the side yard setbacks, where 20 feet is required. In the case of the side yard setbacks, the planners noted in their report that the home would meet the minimum of 9 feet for at least one side, with the other side yard setback being 8.6 feet.

The six homes closest to 307 Roosevelt Place have an average lot coverage of about 47 percent, the planners said. The proposed home would be 30 feet in height to the mean height of the highest peak, which is in keeping with a maximum height of 35 feet in this zoning district, the planners said.

The new home will replace an existing single-family home with a breezeway and a garage in the rear of the property, Keesey said.

“The footprint of this structure … would be in character (with the neighborhood),” he said.

Neighbors at the meeting agreed.

“We’re just anxious to see the development move forward,” said Roosevelt Place resident Greg Dettloff. “The property’s a mess … Obviously, we’re for it. Why does the process take so long?”

City Council members responded in unison that the Dec. 17 meeting was the first time this plan was in front of them.

A new Roosevelt Place resident, Angela Messacar, said she was enthused about the proposal as well, calling the plans something that were “in the best interest of the block.”

“I do think this is a great opportunity … to see that our charming little neighborhood keeps moving forward,” Messacar told the council.

City Councilwoman Sheila Tomkowiak said she walks past this property regularly.

“I see this as more of an improvement than a variation (from City regulations),” she said. “I don’t have any objections to this. I saw the plans for the house. I think it’s going to be spectacular.”

Her fellow council members agreed with that assertion, voting unanimously in favor of granting the variance.