In November, the Sterling Heights Planning Commission deliberated over a proposal to put a new apartment complex along Brougham Drive but ultimately postponed the matter until January.

In November, the Sterling Heights Planning Commission deliberated over a proposal to put a new apartment complex along Brougham Drive but ultimately postponed the matter until January.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Planning Commission weighs Brougham apartment plan

Vote on PUD postponed for possible adjustments

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 4, 2023


STERLING HEIGHTS — A plan to put an apartment complex on Brougham Drive was recently postponed by the Sterling Heights Planning Commission after members suggested changes that they believe could make the property more harmonious to residential neighbors and the concept of a mixed-use district.

During a Nov. 8 meeting, the Planning Commission deliberated on a planned unit development proposal for the Marketplace Cove Apartments. The proposal, as it stood, would have built three three-story multifamily residential buildings containing a total of 249 units.

The overall site, located at 8484 Brougham Drive and 35360 Van Dyke Ave., is composed of two parcels totaling over 10 acres. The apartment buildings would be on a parcel that’s a bit over 6 acres, and the plans for the other parcel  included parking and a detention pond, officials said.

The site is currently zoned C-3 general business district and is part of the Van Dyke Mixed Use District. The proposed development is north of the MJR Marketplace Cinema 20, which is located east of Van Dyke Avenue and north of 15 Mile Road.

According to city officials, a planned unit development is a framework that offers developers more flexibility. City Planner/City Development Manager Jake Parcell said some of the apartment proposal’s modifications via the PUD process could, among other things, ease requirements for parking spaces, frontage trees and site density.

In terms of density, Parcell said the current proposal would be the densest PUD in the city with 40.95 units per acre – if one only takes the estimated 6-acre parcel holding the apartments into account. According to a city presentation, surrounding residential developments’ densities are 3.78, 6 and 10 units per acre.

In response, Philip Ruggeri, an attorney representing developer Tony Gallo, said Gallo has been working on this project for three years, adding that it’s on a “very, very difficult piece of land.”

Ruggeri also said “this is not Mr. Gallo’s first rodeo” and explained that Gallo owns other Sterling Heights apartment complexes that were PUD developments that average 25-30 units per acre.

“This is an ideal spot to take a piece of property that’s dormant, not paying any taxes of any magnitude, and create a significant investment that will generate revenue, will generate jobs and will add some spark to that particular property,” Ruggeri said.

Gallo said that, by considering the property’s 10.77 acres as a whole, the density calculation only comes out to around 23 units per acre. Besides offering living spaces, the Marketplace Cove Apartments project also plans to have a dog park, a fitness center, bicycle racks, courtyards and more, he added.

When it was time for public comment, residents who spoke mostly criticized or opposed the project, citing reasons such as traffic, property values, safety and noise.

Resident Linda Yates described having to often wait for several cars to pass along Brougham before she can pull out of her driveway. She predicted that the situation would only get worse if the apartment plan comes to fruition.

“If it’s going to be 250 units, two cars per unit, that’s a lot of cars having to exit, and I think they’re all going to be exiting down Brougham,” she said.

In the end, Planning Commission members unanimously voted to postpone the issue until January to give Gallo time to adjust his plan. Commission members discussed a few possibilities that they would like to see. Those included:

Moving one of the apartment buildings northward to the setback line along Brougham.

Adding more recreational space, which could mean having two apartment buildings instead of three.

Initially offering additional first-floor retail space for lease at one of the apartment buildings. If no takers are interested, those could be later converted into residential units.

Increasing the eastern property line’s buffer, as it is near other homes.

“The city’s standpoint is not saying that, ‘No development here, no apartments,’” Planning Commission Chairperson Pashko Ujkic said. “The disagreement is: Does it go commercial first floor and residential above that? Or does it go all residential, first through third?”

Ujkic added that while the Planning Commission will eventually vote on whether to recommend the project, the Sterling Heights City Council will have the ultimate say on whether the proposal passes.

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Planning Commission by visiting Find out more about Gallo Cos. by visiting