Plans for attached condos in Troy spark traffic concern from neighbors

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 4, 2018

TROY — The Troy City Council will consider the conditional rezoning of 1.2 acres along Rochester Road, north of Long Lake Road, after the Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan and rezoning.

The Planning Commission voted 6-2 to recommend approval of the preliminary site plan and the conditional rezoning from one-family residential to one-family attached residential zoning at its Nov. 27 meeting.

The Planning Commission is the recommending body on conditional rezoning requests, and the City Council has final approval.

Planning Commission Chair Ollie Apahidean, Vice Chair Carlton Faison, and Commissioners Barbara Fowler, Michael Hutson, Philip Sanzica and John Tagle supported the measure.

Planning Commissioners Karen Crusse and Tom Krent opposed it.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said the city’s master plan calls for mixed uses along Rochester Road and more intensity in the neighborhood node zoning.

“It does comply with the master plan and provides transition,” he said, noting that one of the issues that neighbors had with the development was traffic.

The plans include a curb cut on Sylvanwood Drive.

Planning Director R. Brent Savidant told the Planning Commission that property owners on Sylvanwood Drive had signed a petition opposing the development.

Savidant said he did not believe the city engineer would support a curb cut on Rochester Road instead.

Carlisle said that OHM Advisors, the city’s traffic consultant, determined that the proposed development — three 2 1/2-story buildings, each with three or four units, for a total of 10 units — would generate five additional trips during morning rush hour and eight more trips during evening rush hour.

“Traffic impact would be minimal,” Carlisle said.

Under a parallel plan, four single-family homes could be constructed right on the site, meaning no rezoning would be needed.

Carlisle said the developer, Renis Nushaj, plans to keep the tree buffer along Rochester Road and to plant 57 new, 6-foot spruce trees on the site.

Eight residents spoke during the public hearing.

Dan Levitt, a resident on Sylvanwood Drive, said he moved to his home in 2010 for the “peaceful street,” and he questioned the validity of the traffic study.

Don Tarr, who has lived on Sylvanwood Drive all his life, said the proposed development “is overdoing it and trying to fit a lot into a little. This doesn’t fit.”

“The end of the street is so busy. The traffic study is not accurate,” said James Jones, who lives on Sylvanwood Drive. He described the neighborhood as “country-ish, with mature trees and the lake in the back.” Sylvanwood Drive is adjacent to Sylvan Glen Lake Park.

“It doesn’t fit the neighborhood,” said Sylvanwood Drive resident Mike Michalski. “It would be nice for two or three homes.”

Crusse said that four single-family homes would be “a better answer” and would not create traffic issues. “We end up with four new homeowners who traditionally have more skin in the game than traditional condo owners,” she said.

Nushaj said the cost of the units would be in the low $300,000s and that the intention is not to have leases on the units.

Hutson said that the applicant has met everything the ordinances require and satisfies conditions of the city’s master land use plan.

Savidant said the council will consider the request in early 2019.