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Thread: News Flash: Developer to meet wth Residents

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
    Aug 2001

    News Flash: Developer to meet wth Residents

    So this week , a developer who is hoping to build on approximately 225 acres of woods and fields including a 1000ft of wooded lakeshore, wants to meet with the local lake association, of which I am a board member.

    The planning board in our township is all volunteer and seems to do a pretty good job. Mostly due to the direction of the chairperson who is a zoning attorney. ANyway, the developer now knows there is a PUD ordinance aimed for subdivisions and the word is this guy wants to go for low density high end homes.

    THis parcel is part of a contigous undeveloped area, diverse in topography and plant communities. THe land in question was in a conservation reserve program for years, (area realtors have said for a hundred years) the farmer died, the family wants the inheritance liquidated.

    SO I can accept this reality, but how much can we ask for?

    >Complete protection of the wooded lakeshore, but allow for stair decks down to shore from house. With house set back waaay off shore. They'll still have a killer view.
    >Stormwater design plans
    >Address limits on pesticides and herbicide use
    >What about increasing sewer charges for extra baths or water softeners. Hookupwould be mandatory to the local sewer system.(the lake is sewered with it pumped and settled out in series of lagoons. The effluent is sprayed on field crops. The sewer system is in the lakes watershed too, big problems with it now, facing a total rehab)
    >Township resident access to existing footpaths - It could be the first leg of a footpath around the entire lake. THere is no perimeter road around this lake.
    > OTher things I havent thought of? I feel embarrassed to admit this, but I have yet to pick up a copy of our local zoning ordinances or the new master plan either. I should have by now!

    If the above suggestions were amenable to the developer how would one get that in writing? Covenants? home-owner association rules?



  2. #2
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Feb 2002
    Is he going to apply for a PUD? You need to find out what requirements are in the zoning ordinance. Does it have to get approved by the local PC, with final approval through City Council/Twp Board?

    We have a prelinary step and a final step at the Planning Commission, then it goes to City Council. Ours requires a minimum of 20% open space - you might want to find out what yours requires.

    I'm not familiar with the area, so I don't know specifics, but you guys should consider whether or not you want public access to the lake. You mentioned foot trails, but what about a parking area, public beach, boat launch etc?. The Planning Commission, if it were to approve the PUD, should approve it conditional upon the final plan indicating the items you mentioned (maintain trail around lake, no clearcutting waterfront land, etc. etc. etc.). That way, these items are part of the plan and therefore connected to the approval.

    The municipality cannot impose excess restrictions other than what is allowed in the zoning ordinance. You can always try to 'highly suggest' certain things. I believe the only way a covenant or deed restriction can be implemented is if the original owner had that created into the deed, and it sounds like he (or someone) did. Did the original conservation agreement have an ending date? Can the current owners (the children) sign off on it to end the agreement? If not, then it should still be in the conservation reserve area.

    I am not too comfortable with requiring the developer implement covenants. The municipality cannot enforce them if it is allowed by zoning. Also, give it 25-30 years....half time time people forget about the covenants until an old timer sees a detached garage going up and gets mad. Then, he has to take it to civil court, since the City can't do anything to stop him. This is just my experience anyway.

    Good Luck! Keep us posted....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Thanks for the reply SWMP,

    The meeting was last Thursday, and I tell you when the plans were unfurled the lake Association Board Members all blurted out which parcel they had their eyes on to buy! SO of course any menton of restrictions wasn't going to go over too well! There was some minor agreement on maintaining a wooded shoreline. Ten measly feet was the figure mentioned when the lots are close to 400 ft deep and mostly wooded. I also questioned why the developer decided to allot 40 flat acres of cropland as open space instead of a steeply wooded shoreline slopes and wetlands. Well that would reduce the number of lakefront lots for sale! And that 40 acres could be split once more or left to build tennis courts or whatever.

    The plan is ok, but I am really gonna emphasize the benefits of maintaining sensitive areas as open space, at future planning commission meetings. And the lake board members are well aware of all the benefits of wetlands and guards against erosion etc etc, but frankly that night I was dismayed by the display of greed without any consideration for the overall quality of the lake and other residents living in the area.

    Oh Yeah Aand they want to call it Big Pine Island Preserve.

    With no mention of preserving anything!
    what is the purpose within
    if not to reach the cluBBe
    herein it remains contained
    let the journey of the words begin

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