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Troy City Council concurs on cluster plan for homes near wetland

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 29, 2019


TROY — Plans for a cluster development that had been on pause from last summer so a developer could provide a traffic study on the impact to a local neighborhood got the green light from the Troy City Council May 20.

The Troy School District owned the property previously.

The council unanimously approved a cluster plan for 35 homes on just over 19 acres located west of Livernois Road and north of Wattles Road.

The Planning Commission voted 6-0 Feb. 12 to recommend approval of a cluster plan submitted by Joe Maniaci, of Mondrian Homes.

Troy Planning Director R. Brent Savidant told the council that the plans preserve 42% open space, including 5.4 acres of wetlands.

The Planning Commission recommended that the council approve the proposed plans with the stipulation that the developer submit an open space preservation covenant and detailed plans for tree and wetland preservation on the site for the council to review.

In October 2016, the council adopted a cluster zoning designation that offers density bonuses for restricting housing unit sizes to 1,500 square feet and for sustainable designs — including green infrastructure and naturalized stormwater management — and it requires the developer to preserve 20 percent open space.

After a study on demographics and building usage, Troy School District officials and the Board of Education determined that undeveloped district-owned parcels of land — about 180 acres in total  — including this site, known as Section 16, would not be needed to build additional schools, with the exception of an early childhood center.

Single-family homes surround the parcel.

Savidant noted that Maniaci plans to offer 1,900-, 2,100-, 2,450- and 3,400-square-foot homes on a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet.

In his other, similar developments, Maniaci said, the home prices start at $500,000. He told the Planning Commission that the prices of the homes constructed in this development will be “market driven.”

He explained that he offers ranch-style homes, but he’s only built seven in the last 20 years.

By right, Maniaci could construct 33 homes on the parcel, leaving 20 percent open space. He was granted the two additional homes based on the 42% open space.

One resident, Avis Landmesser, spoke at the May 20 meeting, expressing concern with traffic generated by the development.

“The cluster plan does a better job of preserving natural features than the parallel plan,” Savidant said.

“I think it’s a great plan,” said Councilman David Hamilton.

“To see 42% open space maintained is phenomenal,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ethan Baker. “I believe this is a better fit for the area.”

“This meets the spirit of what we were trying to do with the cluster,” said Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek.