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Senior living center would make dog park a done deal

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 29, 2015

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The Troy Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the Troy City Council approve plans for a senior assisted living facility that would be next to city-owned property slated for a dog park — and would make the park a reality.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on a proposed planned unit development for the assisted living center Sept. 22. In a PUD, the developer is typically given flexibility on ordinance requirements in return for preserving natural features on the site.

North Point Development is proposing to build a 70,000-square-foot, 100-bed senior assisted living facility and memory care residential complex, with 37 parking spaces, on the western side of Livernois, north of Big Beaver Road. The 9.59 acres are zoned single-family residential and are located just north of the 16.5-acre planned dog park.

“What we’re getting includes a conceptual design (for the dog park) and water feature,” Public Works Manager Kurt Bovensiep said of the proposed plans. “All we’ll have to do is put up fencing.”

He noted that the park and the assisted living center would have shared parking and a shared retention pond.

If the PUD is approved, it would make the dog park a “very, very good reality. We could see the park open once the parking lot and other things get in,” he said.

The developer’s cost for the dog park was not available at press time. The city had planned to fund the dog park with an 80/20 funding model, with the city paying 20 percent and soliciting the rest through grants and donations.

The site for the proposed Stonecrest senior living facility includes unregulated wetlands and a floodplain. The developer proposes to use the city’s planned dog park site for stormwater management and would construct 80 parking spaces for the dog park on city property, which would be shared if additional parking were needed at the center. The developer included a plaza, a trailhead and sidewalks in the park, and a sidewalk on Livernois Road, and would contribute an additional $50,000 toward development of the dog park, including paths and trails.

“It’s a true partnership,” said City Planning Director Brent Savidant.

In return, the city would allow the height of the two-story building to exceed the 30-foot maximum by 8 feet. The city has also asked for revisions to the plans with regard to lighting, landscaping, inclusion of bike parking and trash enclosure screening.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said the developer planned to preserve the wetlands and a significant number of trees on the site.

“We do find that single-family residential may not be feasible on this property,” he said, noting that the plan preserves all of the site’s natural features.

Carlisle said the council has final approval of the preliminary site plans for the PUD, and city staff would have final approval over the site plans.

During the public hearing, Joe Peterson, who lives on Scottsdale Drive, off of Livernois Road, south of Wattles, said the senior assisted living center doesn’t fit with the single-family homes. He had traffic concerns and concerns about flooding.

“It’s a pretty large product in a residential area,” he said.

“I don’t think this is a good fit for this area,” said Joyce Peterson.

However, Steve Toth, chairman of fundraising for the dog park, called it a win-win.

“The development does look attractive,” he said, noting that the senior assisted living center would bring employment and would boost hotel business when out-of-town guests visit residents at the center.

“We enjoyed working with the city and staff,” said Mark Pomerenke, vice president of North Point Development. He said they met with neighborhood associations, and he believes North Point addressed neighbors’ concerns.

“I’m very impressed with Stonecrest,” said Planning Commission Chair Philip Sanzica. “I loved the public-private partnership with the city.”

“I’m excited to see how this works out,” said Planning Commissioner Karen Crusse.

Carlisle said that during a Boomers and Shakers forum held Aug. 17, the 80 people who attended generated 240 comments. The intent of the forum was for city leaders to hear from seniors, empty nesters and baby boomers  — identified as those born between 1946 and 1964 — and talk about what is important to them as city staff works to update the city’s master plan.

He said people reported that they wish to downsize to smaller ranches or condos in Troy, but those options don’t currently exist.

“Seventy-five percent of the discussion focused on housing needs,” Carlisle said.

“People who live in Troy today want to continue to live in Troy as they age,” Savidant said.

“It’s good to know we voted for it and had the same kind of feedback,” Planning Commissioner Padma Kuppa said of the PUD and the Boomers and Shakers forum.

The council will likely hold a public hearing on the PUD preliminary site plans — upon receipt of the revised plans from the developer — within the next two months.

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