Cherry Hill Village: new urbanism in Canton, Michigan

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#1
This past weekend while over in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area, I stopped to take a look at a New Urbanism Community known as Cherry Hill Village in Canton. I was fortunate enough to have been there four years ago when they were half way done with phase one Now with two phases completed and phase three underway, along with the commercial downtown partly done, I was able to see how it influenced the community.

Many of the homes have a traditional historic neighborhood type appearance with garage spaces accessible by an alley way in the rear of the building.

The housing types and styles vary from place to place. I was surprised to see pedestrian corridors with houses facing the interior instead of the exterior.

The three homes with the white fence are show/spec homes that give buyers an idea of three of the 27 available floor plans. They range in size from 4,300 to 2,300 square feet and have attached garages in the rear of the property. They however do not have much in the way of a yard, but are within shouting distance of one of the many open common areas or parks.

Each home has a historic appearance, but all are less than 5 years old. Additionally, very few of them are vacant and those for sale sell quickly. Plat/association restrictions prevent any two of the estate homes that are side by side from looking like each other.

This is one of the few that had an open house. Unlike many new homes, the floor plan of this one was not as open as one might expect.

This one was also for sale and had a similar floor plan as the one above. It however was a block from the retail sections. The realtor was asking $374,900.

These townhouses are across the street from the one above. They all have garage space in the back.

The downtown element also has a pedestrian historic feel. It does not appear to be as successful as one might expect. The signs advertise a coffee house and a pizza place. But closer inspection shows that both sites are vacant.

The Cold Stone around the corner was open and busy on a cold Sunday afternoon. The lamps are also set up to burn natural gas instead of an electric light bulb.


The developer built mixed use (retail on the first floors, residential on the upper floors) along the two major streets. Four years ago, this intersection was nothing but a farm field.

One of the more successful aspects of this development was a theater. According to the sandwich advertising board in the front, they have several events at various times during the week.
 

mendelman

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#2
Thanks for the pictorial update of the development's progression.

I was last there about 2 years ago and the 1st phase was done and the 2nd phase was progressing.

I am pretty impressed with the project and what it is trying to accomplish, except it still has the major flaw of being a greenfield development about 5 miles from the main shopping/employment centers in the area, so it fails on one of the major points of NU. But, yeah, it's better than a typical subdivision.

The future phasing plan looks like they could possibly get a fairly decent critical mass of housing and walkable commerical space. It looks like it could almost become a nice little town, in and of its self.

Thanks for pictures.
 
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#3
mendelman said:
The future phasing plan looks like they could possibly get a fairly decent critical mass of housing and walkable commerical space. It looks like it could almost become a nice little town, in and of its self.

Thanks for pictures.
The Up Town Section is also finished, but is groups of almost identical townhouses and apartments.
 

BKM

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#4
The houses don't do all that much for me, personally. But, the site planning appears to be quite intriguing, and I liked the downtown retail corner, with the curved building. It appears very "urban" in character.
 
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#5
Wow...very nice.

I echo the sentiments of improved housing and closer to existing population centers.

I think housing styles could be a little more varied, and the development could include more pockets of denser areas. I also hope more shops will come (hopefully that will come in time). And I don't see many civic buildings here. A post office, school, church, monument, etc. would be nice to see.

And also one thing I hope NU projects will be able to master is to include the necessary big-box retail (grocer, home center, electronics) into their projects (and do it well), that will both serve its community and the existing area.

Otherwise, a good project.
 
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#6
mendelman said:
I was last there about 2 years ago and the 1st phase was done and the 2nd phase was progressing.

I am pretty impressed with the project and what it is trying to accomplish, except it still has the major flaw of being a greenfield development about 5 miles from the main shopping/employment centers in the area, so it fails on one of the major points of NU. But, yeah, it's better than a typical subdivision.
Wow, I was there last about 6 years ago and it was nothing but a church and an old general store, and farms for as far as the eye can see.

I completely agree with mendelman. While I think it is a nice development, I would rather see it used as infill somewhere, not on a greenfield.
 
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#7
BKM said:
The houses don't do all that much for me, personally.

Personally I like the similarities in housing style... a few more variations in siding (other than color) would be nice to mix it up a bit, but otherwise the abundance of Porches on the otherwise boxy looking homes gives it a nice community wide character.
 
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#8
illinoisplanner said:
And I don't see many civic buildings here. A post office, school, church, monument, etc. would be nice to see.
There is a recreation center with a performing arts theatre in it (ski's shows this in the later photos). There is just not enough population out there to warrant a Post Office. I have visited this site a few times, they have had a tough go starting this, and have even had to auction off some of the houses. This is most likely due to the following.

1). The housing Market in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area is very soft, particularly for up-market housing. The fear of losing your job makes you more apt not to move, or if you do move you move down, not up.

2). Suburban township mentality. Places like Canton are known for being able to give you a lot of square footage cheap. Combine this with cheap taxes. I looked at some of the 'flats' that were being offered and found them to be very small, but start at over $200k for less than 1,000 square feet, no basement. Taxes would be very high for what you get. In addition, you have to pay monthly dues or assessments to your condo association. This is hardly a bargain.

3). A few miles from this location are naturally occuring historic downtowns including Belleville, Ypsilanti and Plymouth. These areas have real character and charm. The cost of the housing is less to boot, and the materials used far better.

It makes an interesting stop to evaluate, but you still have to drive a few miles to buy grocieries and there is no real employment center other than a few retail establishments and a few doctors offices. I know I would not want to live there. I don't think you can afford a $400,000 house working at Coldstones. Mason Run in the City of Monroe is very similar, but simpler and within a mile of a historic downtown. It re-uses a brownfield.
 

mendelman

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#9
Off-topic:
DetroitPlanner said:
Mason Run in the City of Monroe is very similar, but simpler and within a mile of a historic downtown. It re-uses a brownfield.
Yes! Good example! I forgot about that one.

Here are some pics (from the Gallery) of Mason Run that Super Amputee Cat took:











 

BKM

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#10
Mason Run is not very appealing to me at all. The houses don't look like they'd weather very well.

I know the Midwestern ideal of the open residential park is a strong tradition, but once the yards get that tiny, you have to begin building fences or hedges or walls. Openness works fine on a 10,000 square foot lot. On a 4,000 square foot lot, you better love your neighbors if you're going to live this open a setting.

Yep. I've been acclimated to/contaminated with the California idea-which encloses every back yard. ;) :-$
 

The One

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#11
As always....

How much do these places cost to REALLY live in??? I'm sure the immediate appreciation has put them into the stratosphere cost wise.....eh?:-o :-c If not, sign me up;-)
 
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#12
Why is everything so pastel? They're just providing fodder for those who say that New Urbanism is Disney. There are other colours they can use.

As for the layout itself it wastes space in the streets and the front yards, which comes at the expense of space in the backyards. There's no need for setbacks when there's a porch on the house.
 

BKM

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#13
jaws said:
Why is everything so pastel? They're just providing fodder for those who say that New Urbanism is Disney. There are other colours they can use.

As for the layout itself it wastes space in the streets and the front yards, which comes at the expense of space in the backyards. There's no need for setbacks when there's a porch on the house.
Marketing. The old timey "Village" thing (even in the name) demands pastels :)

Did you find the setbacks that bad? They look like less than 10 feet from the sidewalks?

I like this much better: http://www.newurbliving.com/assets/articles/Mar-Apr/cheshire1.asp
 
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#14
BKM said:
I know the Midwestern ideal of the open residential park is a strong tradition, but once the yards get that tiny, you have to begin building fences or hedges or walls. Openness works fine on a 10,000 square foot lot. On a 4,000 square foot lot, you better love your neighbors if you're going to live this open a setting.
An enclosed yard in Michigan just ain't right. You have to remember this is a brownfield that has been newly developed. There was no landscaping to begin with.

Mason Run is not made of the concrete boards found in Cherry Hill, but the size and scale of the buildings, plus the detached garages are more traditional, and better fit into the area. It is made to be affordable, and is located near a navigatable river and a historic downtown. Its a much better site/reuse.
 
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#15
Did you find the setbacks that bad? They look like less than 10 feet from the sidewalks?
10 feet is the width of a parking space. That means you could replace the setbacks with two lanes of parking, leave one lane of traffic in between them, and add a lot of space to backyards.
 
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#16
jaws said:
10 feet is the width of a parking space. That means you could replace the setbacks with two lanes of parking, leave one lane of traffic in between them, and add a lot of space to backyards.
I thought about that too, but then you'd lose the trees.
 
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#18
jaws said:
Place the trees in the parking lane. It creates standard-sized spaces and shades the cars.
With today's SUVs and crap...people will be hitting them all the time. And the pavement would disrupt the root system, or vice-versa.
 

Luca

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#19
The neighborhoods will look better when the trees/planting are mature. I like the houses / layout in the first development a lot better than in the second but it's difficult to tell from pictures. As BKM woudl say, they don't comapre too well to 19th cnetury homes but it's a lot better than the beige crapboxes you normally get.

The totally greenfield site does the raise the issue of whether they could not ahve built it closer to an existing downtown. i guess the clsoer you get to existing towns the more fractioend teh owqnershoip, toguher to do a whole development.

The retail aspect is certianly positive but they need to give thought to what kind of shops will thrive.

Question for the forum, given that 'everyone' in the US drives anyhow (you'd certainly need a car to live there), are nighborhood corner stores at all viable? I wa sthinkign somenthign along the liens of a convenience store but a bit mroeuyspocale with soemd eli / speialty items too. You could even put ins tuff like vids/internet/newspapers/etc. Does the psot office still 'famr out' sub-post office locations? That would create foot traffic, if it worked.
 

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#20
BKM said:
I know the Midwestern ideal of the open residential park is a strong tradition, but once the yards get that tiny, you have to begin building fences or hedges or walls. Openness works fine on a 10,000 square foot lot. On a 4,000 square foot lot, you better love your neighbors if you're going to live this open a setting.
Give it some time. It is a brand new development and midwest builders usually don't provide fences. They leave it up to the buyer.

Off-topic:
Luca said:
Question for the forum, given that 'everyone' in the US drives anyhow (you'd certainly need a car to live there), are nighborhood corner stores at all viable? I wa sthinkign somenthign along the liens of a convenience store but a bit mroeuyspocale with soemd eli / speialty items too. You could even put ins tuff like vids/internet/newspapers/etc. Does the psot office still 'famr out' sub-post office locations? That would create foot traffic, if it worked.
Corner stores are only really viable in the densest portions of the major central cities in the US (ie dense neighborhoods in LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, etc.). This usually a byproduct of very small scale development patterns preventing large(r) retailers from building, and that driving is less convenient than walking. But in the other 80% of the US, the corner stores have been out-competed by the larger retailers that provide more choice, can offer cheper prices due to higher sales volumes and are precieved as more "convenient" than the old corner store.

My favorite is the neighborhood market grocery store. It is big enough to provide sufficient choice and cost, but is generally no larger than 20,000 sqft, which affords it the ability to locate in more dense urban location that are walkable. I have such a market one block from my apt. and it is great. I actually despise having to drive to the grocery store now. It's actually much more inconvenient.
 
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