Troy City Council nixes plans for attached condos amid neighbors’ concerns

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 16, 2019

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TROY — The Troy City Council unanimously denied a rezoning request for 1.2 acres along Rochester Road, north of Long Lake Road, after more than 60 residents signed a petition in opposition to the rezoning.

The Planning Commission voted 6-2 to recommend approval of the preliminary site plan and the conditional rezoning from one-family residential to one-family attached residential zoning at its Nov. 27 meeting.

The Planning Commission is the recommending body on conditional rezoning requests, and the City Council has final approval.

Planning Commission Chair Ollie Apahidean, Vice Chair Carlton Faison, and Commissioners Barbara Fowler, Michael Hutson, Philip Sanzica and John Tagle supported the measure.

Planning Commissioners Karen Crusse and Tom Krent opposed it.

The denied plans were for 10 units in three three-story buildings with a detention pond and bioswales. The plans included a curb cut on Sylvanwood Drive.

The developer, Renis Nushaj, told the Planning Commission that the cost of the units would be in the low $300,000 range and that the intention was not to have leases on the units.

Residents’ concerns centered on traffic and safety at the July 8 meeting. Over 20 people spoke during the public hearing.

Community Development Director R. Brent Savidant told the council that the city’s traffic consultant, OHM Advisors, said the traffic impact — at five new vehicle trips during the morning rush hour and eight new vehicle trips during the evening rush hour — would be minimal.

He explained that because residents signed a valid protest petition, a two-thirds supermajority, or five council votes, were needed to approve the conditional rezoning request.

Savidant told the Planning Commission that he did not believe the city engineer would support a curb cut on Rochester Road, instead of Sylvanwood Drive.

Tara Hulett told the council that had she known the rezoning plans were being considered when she purchased her home on Sylvanwood Drive this past fall, she wouldn’t have purchased her home.

“A house belongs there, not a condominium,” she said. “I’m scared to death of the traffic it’s going to bring.”

Matt Mikiczenco, who also lives on Sylvanwood Drive, said the street and subdivision were not set up for multifamily dwellings.

Alison Peck, who lives on Sylvanwood Drive, said traffic on Rochester Road currently makes it difficult to get in and out of the subdivision.

“It’s great to see something different, but it doesn’t look right to me on Sylvanwood Drive, right there,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ethan Baker. “I think it’s a quality development, but it’s not right for that location in Troy.”

“It doesn’t fit. It’s too much density for that wooded street that is narrow with limited parking,” Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek said.

Mayor Dane Slater praised the city staff and Planning Commission for the work they do and said that he doesn’t like to vote against their recommendations.

“My advice to the developer — I think you need to put in something a little smaller and get it in off Rochester Road instead of adding to an already traffic problem,” he said.

“The developer should not take it that if he does come back, that it would be approved,” said Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm. She added that for conditional rezoning requests, the council decides upon the plans based on the conditions the applicant offered.

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