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Troy City Council will consider putting larger homes in the cluster plan

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 18, 2020

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TROY — The Troy City Council will consider offering incentives to builders for 1,900-square-foot homes — an increase from the current incentive offered for 1,500-square-foot homes under the city’s cluster ordinance.

In October 2016, the City Council adopted a cluster zoning designation that offers density bonuses for restricting the 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% open space.

The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend amending the current cluster zoning ordinance Feb. 25. Planning Commissioners John Tagle and Carlton Faison were absent.

The Planning Commission is the recommending body on site plans proposed under the cluster option and zoning ordinances, and the City Council has final approval in both cases.

Community Development Director R. Brent Savidant said the intent of the Planning Commission and the council with the cluster option was to incentivize developers to offer smaller homes to appeal to empty nesters and retirees who wanted laundry rooms and master bedrooms on the first floor.

“We’ve seen some developers using the (1,500-square-foot) option, but not many,” Savidant said.

Planning Commissioner Karen Crusse said it was a challenge for a community “used to bigger homes” to downsize to a 1,500-square-foot home. “1,500 is a little small,” she said.

“Developers have said that 1,500 is just too small,” Savidant said. “The hope is if we go to this number, we will see more. With 1,900 square feet, you can be more creative.”

Planning Commissioner Ollie Apahidean expressed concern about residents concerned with the transition from existing neighborhoods with larger homes to the smaller homes that would offer affordable housing in Troy.

“What does affordable housing look like in Troy?” he asked.

Planning Commission Chair Tom Krent said that affordable housing would likely be higher density — which often draws pushback from existing neighborhoods. “Do we want it, and to what degree, in Troy?” Krent said.

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