Preliminary site plan approved for 4-unit condos in Troy

Planning Commission approves unanimously, with conditions

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published March 11, 2021

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TROY — A preliminary site plan for a proposed four-unit single-family condominium development, Casca Village of Troy, was recently unanimously approved by Troy Planning Commission members at their Feb. 9 meeting, with a few conditions.

The 2.2-acre vacant parcel sits east of Crooks Road and south of South Boulevard, near Andrews Road, and has never been developed. Troy Planning Commission members approved a similar preliminary site plan for the condominium development in 2015, but the approval lapsed after no further action was taken on it before the three-year expiration window.

White Lake-based Powell Engineering President Michael Powell, who works as the design engineer on the project, said that at that time, the developer, Anthony Randazzo, of the Auburn Hills-based Trowbridge Land Holdings, decided to focus efforts elsewhere.

“The economics for the owner were not appropriate, so they decided to hold and put their efforts into other projects,” Powell said at the Feb. 9 meeting. “They knew this was going to lapse, and we had to virtually start over again now. Quite frankly, they’re going to spend more money to do it now, and between the engineering and the landscaping, I think it’s going to be a better project now.”

The new preliminary site plan was approved with conditions that the developer submit a landscaping plan, including screening for a proposed greenbelt area; work with the city’s Engineering Department to ensure compliance with private road specifications; and submit a second elevation to the building department — Troy ordinance requires that no more than three single-family homes in a row can be one story tall.

Under normal conditions, a landscape plan would have been required to receive preliminary approval of the development from the commission, but Troy City Planner Brent Savidant said he made the executive decision to push the site plan through.

“Although we did not have any up-to-date landscape plan, I thought it was still an opportunity to, given we had the one from 2015 to use as a base, an opportunity to still move forward with this application,” he said.

Powell explained that the quick turnaround of approval from Savidant to move forward with the preliminary plans didn’t provide him with enough time to submit a new landscape plan as well. He said the new plan will look similar to the 2015 plan, with a few improvements recommended previously.

“We recently received approval of this turnaround, and the modifications your planning and fire departments wanted, and there just was not enough time to submit a revised landscape plan, but to delay this — we had this ready quite a while ago, and because of the (pandemic) the owner was really asking, and the planning staff allowed it to proceed so they can try to start building this project first thing in the spring and start selling lots,” he said.

“It was important for us to come before you to see whether or not you had some input, and then the landscape architect can use that input to provide for the final landscape plan.”

Still, Planning Commissioner Jerry Rauch felt the landscape plan should have been submitted alongside the preliminary site plan for approval. “Give that there’s been three years since the original application and now, I personally can’t see why the applicant couldn’t wait to submit a landscape plan to this body,” he said.

The proposed development will be made up of four single-family condominiums ranging from 15,000 to 17,000 square feet. A 10-foot greenbelt feature will be placed on the east border of the parcel to create a buffer between the development and the existing residential community. A T-shaped turnaround driveway has been approved by the National Fire Prevention Association and the Troy Fire Department for emergency vehicle access.

A benefit Powell said comes from building condominiums like the ones proposed is that the community tends to have a strong homeowners association. “They’re responsible for all the work that’s in the development. They’re responsible for their own policing of modifications, things like that. There’s a very detailed set of legal documents that give the homeowners association a great deal of power in what happens within their condominium.”

Despite the issue of a missing landscape plan, and other conditions to be met, Savidant told Planning Commission Chairman Tom Krent that he was comfortable with any direction the commission went, including approval of the plan.

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