Town center rezoning request turned away by planning commission

By: Thomas Franz | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 29, 2017

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Concerns over infrastructure and long-term ramifications of approval caused the Macomb Township Planning Commission to recommend denial of  a rezoning request for two pieces of property near the township hall building during a March 21 commission meeting.

Broughton Development LLC petitioned the commission to rezone two parcels located on the southeast corner of the Broughton Road and 25 Mile Road intersection from agriculture to town center.

“We don’t think (agriculture is) appropriate for that piece of property considering what the township has planned for that area, especially with the frontage on Broughton,” said Bob Kirk, an attorney for Broughton Development. 

Kirk said his client is eyeing a mixed use development for the property with possibly a higher density residential area and commercial elements.

“We don’t think (agriculture) is appropriate for that area because it’s more of a commercial area with the ice rink and fitness facility there,” Kirk said. “We’re trying to work with the township on a plan that works for everyone, but our client is ready to step forward and develop this property, but the way it’s zoned and master planned don’t really work for this parcel.”

Planning Director Patrick Meagher said during the meeting that approval of the rezoning could set a precedent that would cause the township infrastructure problems in the future. 

“The primary concerns of the town center committee right now are that ... the master plan hasn’t looked at this area for the density being proposed on this parcel,” Meagher said. “The sewer capacity is a huge concern for the township.”

Discussion of the town center and master plan resurfaced at a March 15 joint board meeting between the Planning Commission, Board of Trustees and Zoning Board of Appeals. Meagher said the Broughton Development property is an example of an area that could be reviewed.

“We’ll probably re-examine this entire area as we progress, but that would also be in conjunction with looking at the utilities and infrastructure over the area,” Meagher said. “I think it’s an area that warrants review by the commission as we progress.”

For now though, the commission recommended that the Board of Trustees deny the petition for rezoning.

“It’s not just for this development. It’s a concern that if it was rezoned, others could follow suit, and that could (place) the township at a particularly vulnerable spot with regard to not having adequate sewer to facilitate additional zonings,” Meagher said. 

Kirk said that Broughton Development has owned the property it was requesting for rezoning for more than 10 years. Broughton eyed the town center designation to allow for more creativity and flexibility as opposed to a typical single-family or multi-family designation.

“It’s more unique, and we’re looking to do something a little more different there, but maybe not to the strict letter of the town center,” Kirk said. “Although we might get denied, I think we can work with them to get something produced in the end.”

Currently, the town center zoning designation, created in 2001, is only used for an area between 24 Mile and 25 Mile roads, and Broughton and Luchtman roads. 

The zoning ordinance for the town center designation states that its purpose is to develop a “pedestrian-oriented environment with traditional residential neighborhoods and a traditional town center with buildings containing neighborhood commercial, residential and office uses.”

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