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Troy City Council nixes rezoning needed for attached condos on Rochester Road

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 26, 2020

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TROY — The Troy City Council told a developer no — again — about a rezoning needed for attached condos on a little over 1 acre on a busy stretch of Rochester Road, adjacent to Sylvan Lake Park, south of Square Lake Road.

The council voted 6-0 Feb. 10 to deny the request to rezone the parcel from one-family residential to one-family attached, a rezoning needed to proceed with plans for 10 homes.

By right, four single-family homes can be built on the site.

The city’s Planning Department and Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning.

Over a dozen residents spoke in opposition of the plans during the sometimes raucous Oct. 8 Planning Commission meeting, prompting Assistant City Attorney Julie Quinlan Dufrane to say she would clear the chambers unless people refrained from making comments from their seats.

The Planning Commission voted 5-4 to recommend approval of the rezoning from one-family residential to one-family attached residential zoning.

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

Commissioners Karen Crusse, Barbara Fowler, Michael Hutson, John Tagle and Ollie Apahidean supported the measure.

Commissioners David Lambert and Sadek Rahman, and Commission Chair Carlton Faison and Commission Vice Chair Tom Krent opposed it.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said the rezoning request was consistent with the city’s master plan, which calls for mixed uses along Rochester Road and more intensity in the neighborhood node zoning designation.

A conditional rezoning request had been submitted for the same site in 2018. The council unanimously denied that request July 8 of that year.

Community Development Director R. Brent Savidant told the council at the Feb. 10 meeting that the current traffic situation — with five lanes of traffic, traffic counts of 40,000 cars a day, and speeding and cut-through issues — was a big sticking point with residents.

Steven Dearing, with OHM Advisors, the city’s engineering and traffic consultant, told the council that traffic impacts from the additional 10 homes “are very minimal” and the speeding conditions that residents reported on Rochester Road “pre-exists the development.”

Eight residents spoke in opposition to the rezoning request Feb. 10. Also, more than 25% of residents within 50 feet of the parcel signed a valid protest petition, requiring a two-thirds, supermajority vote to approve the request.

“The council’s job is to protect our safety,” said resident Don Tarr, who lives on Sylvanwood Drive.

Michael Donahue, who also lives on Sylvanwood Drive, speaking to the issue of cut-through traffic, told the council that between 10 and 20 cars use his driveway to turn around each day. “Clearly, (the proposed development) makes it worse.”

“It destroys the integrity of our subdivision,” said Pierre Harik, who lives on Sylvanwood Drive.

“I can’t make this fit,” said Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek. “Residents’ concerns were not addressed since the July (2018) proposal.”