Planning Commission reviews site plan for potential apartments on church site

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published March 8, 2017

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FERNDALE — Discussion for a proposed apartment complex on 10 Mile Road continued last month, with the Planning Commission deciding that more changes need to be made before a vote happens.

The Planning Commission discussed at its Feb. 15 meeting the site plan for 928 E. 10 Mile Road, the location of the El Shaddai Church and the potential future site of an apartment project by H.F. Architecture and Duke and Duke Investments.

The proposed plans for the project, which were brought to the commission in August 2016, include a two-story, multiple-family residential building with 28 units, a facade upgrade, and reconfiguring the off-street parking lot, according to city documents.

In discussing the number of proposed and future apartments coming to Ferndale, Community and Economic Development Director Jordan Twardy said the city has been using its master plan as a guide, from which city officials know they can absorb a lot more housing over the next several years.

“We’re trying to bring in housing in a way that jibes with the character of Ferndale,” he said. “We obviously know there are characteristics about our neighborhood that we don’t want to lose. So when we get density like this, we try to find places for it that do not take away that character.”

For the potential 10 Mile Road project, Twardy said the location is near the freeway and adjacent to a neighborhood.

“It’s a place where you can put density without sacrificing, you know, neighborhood quality,” he said.

“The guiding principle with the master plan is striking a balance between preserving our neighborhood and accommodating this growth that’s coming to our city,” he said.

Councilman Dan Martin, who also acts as the liaison for the City Council to the Planning Commission, said the reason the project was sent back to the architects was because the two streets on either side of the location, Horton and Inman, currently are blocked as a traffic control issue.

“It was an open-ended condition that they rectify whether those (streets) remain blocked or not remain blocked,” he said.

He stated that the reason for the blockage was because of people cutting through the streets to get to 10 Mile Road and who also were racing through the neighborhoods.

“My concern was that we did that for a reason,” he said. “I don’t want to remove a solution and re-create a problem that we had before. And it just wasn’t resolved in what was in front of the Planning Commission in February. Our message essentially was, ‘Figure it out and bring it back to us.’”

There also was concern about the proposed design of the building relating to what the facade would look like and the materials that would be used.

Martin said he had heard that members of the Community and Economic Development Department had gone out to talk to residents, and he expects the site plan to come back to the Planning Commission sometime this month. A date had not been set as of press time.

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