A cluster site development that will bring 10 single-family homes to the former Kendallwood Swim Club parcel, 29150 Farmington Road, was approved unanimously by City Council Nov. 11.

A cluster site development that will bring 10 single-family homes to the former Kendallwood Swim Club parcel, 29150 Farmington Road, was approved unanimously by City Council Nov. 11.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Single-family homes approved for former Kendallwood Swim Club

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published December 4, 2019

 The property has been vacant for years, leaving it unkempt and open to graffiti and other troubles. In this photo, explicit language in the graffiti on the door has been blurred.

The property has been vacant for years, leaving it unkempt and open to graffiti and other troubles. In this photo, explicit language in the graffiti on the door has been blurred.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 The Kendallwood Swim Club swimming pool hasn’t been in service for more than two years. The pool’s surrounding areas have become unkempt.

The Kendallwood Swim Club swimming pool hasn’t been in service for more than two years. The pool’s surrounding areas have become unkempt.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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FARMINGTON HILLS — The property that houses the former Kendallwood Swim Club, 29150 Farmington Road, is set for a makeover.

The City Council unanimously approved a cluster site plan  Nov. 11 for 10 single-family homes to be developed on the 3.82-acre parcel by local development group Farmington 13 LLC.

Farmington Hills City Planner Mark Stec said the city’s cluster option allows developers some flexibility in developing on a residential site that may prove challenging under the city’s traditional ordinances and zoning regulations.

“One of the challenges (of this site) is just the shape of the land itself. It’s kind of a knife shape, (but) that’s more of a function of the previous use as a swim club,” Stec said. “There’s a lot of investment on the part of the developer to rip all that up. There’s a lot of cost up front. If the cost just to get the site ready to develop outweighs that for a developer, then the site will never get developed.”

This cluster site option allows the developer to put more homes on the site, thus making it a financially feasible development overall, Stec said.

Isam Yaldo, from Farmington 13, said that despite some of the challenges with the land, he wanted to develop it because the swim club has been closed for a couple of years and there weren’t many other site options around the city where this development could occur.

Farmington Hills is sitting at around 90% developed, Stec said.

The homes will range from 1,800-2,200 square feet, Yaldo said. Some of them will be constructed family-style, with a master bedroom, while others will be built in a more colonial style, with three similarly sized bedrooms.

Yaldo said he does not have a cost estimate for the project yet, though it will cost his company approximately $400,000 to demo the site and prepare it for development.

He said that while the exterior of the homes may fit into the pre-existing aesthetic of surrounding residential neighborhoods, the insides will be completely modern.

The homes will be built on the south side of the private roadway and cul-de-sac. In what will be the backyards of the houses sits a detention basin and floodplain, which have also brought along their own challenges to the site, though not so much as the shape of the parcel itself, in Yaldo’s opinion.

“The shape of the land is the toughest thing. It’s like a triangle,” Yaldo said. “It’s not your normal rectangle or square shape.”

Yaldo said he will be investing in significant landscaping, as well as using existing landscaping, to offset the view of the floodplain. The actual house sizes will also be smaller than the development space approved, in order to avoid building on the floodplain.

Overall, Yaldo thinks the development will be an improvement to the community.

“Would (the city) rather have an old, dilapidated, shut-down swimming pool than having 10 families live in Farmington Hills?” Yaldo said.

While Stec agrees it’s a benefit to have a developer interested in resurrecting the site, and it may be beneficial to have more families become residents of the city, he does acknowledge that there will be a transitional period for residents living behind the proposed property. They will have neighbors now where they, at one time, had a swimming pool and recreation space.

The next phase of the development will be to work with the city’s engineering staff on the specifications needed for infrastructure and utilities, as well as with Building Department staff to secure building and site permits. From there, the final agreement will go back to City Council for a final vote.

Stec said that, overall, Yaldo has been “a great developer to work with.” He said Yaldo has worked hard to address many of the issues and concerns that have been brought to him by various parties. Stec said he sees no contention from the city to seeing this project through.

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