Barnard Property Planned for Townhouses

by CYNTHIA KMETT

Troy’s Planning Commission is ramping up the city’s design standards this year. They don’t want developers to find a piece of vacant property and then ask: What can we build here, especially if it doesn’t go with the neighborhood.

The question of whether or not something fits in with †he neighborhood arose last month when a storage facility was proposed for land on Long Lake, just west of Livernois. Residents did not want a four-story storage facility in the neighborhood.

The problem for planners is that if developers meet all the city’s zoning requirements, it’s hard not to approve a project. To do so might well mean heading up to Circuit Court.

With another storage facility on the table last week for 1-899 Safe Storage to be built on Coolidge, south of Maple, planners wondered how many storage facilities the city really needed. This project required “special use” approval from the planners, which means they can attach some special conditions to a project.

In this case, it would be to fulfill the requirements of the Sustainable Design Review Committee and get approval from the FAA that the four-story building would not interfere with the Oakland Troy Airport, which is very close to the proposed site. The applicant received Sustainable Design Project (SDP) status on January 25, 2017. Sustainable elements provided include a 1650 SF rain garden area, a white-color Duro-Last roof membrane to reflect sunlight, water-efficient plantings proposed, energy-efficient LED lighting with cut-off fixtures to prevent light trespass and lights placed on timers to reduce light pollution, reported Brent Savidant, Troy’s planning director.

The applicant, Guido Architects, has provided staff with a letter from the FAA determining that the structure would have no substantial adverse effect on the safety of the airport. The structure is to be marked/lighted in accordance with FAA Advisory circular Obstruction Marking and Lighting, red lights.

This facility is not in a residential neighborhood, so the decision for approval wasn’t as difficult. However, there is always the question of need. 1- 800 Self Storage has already expanded its Maple Road facility because the first building filled up. In addition, they are building on Rochester Road, and it is a four-story building (although five stories are allowed and were originally proposed and curb back when neighbors objected to the project).

The height of buildings in the city was suddenly on the table. The planners know that the Master Plan calls for greater density and higher buildings, but they think they belong in the Big Beaver form-based zoning, and not residential neighborhoods.

Expect to see the question come to the table in †he not-too-distant future.

Also on the agenda were plans for the former home of Judge Norman Barnard and his wife Harriet. The property is at Livernois and Haldane, just south of Square Lake. The property is zoned neighborhood node on Livernois, and two-family residential in the rear. While it could be developed with its current zoning the developer would like it all neighborhood node, making it easier to place the 45 proposed units on the 2.6-acre site.

After a bit of discussion, the planners agreed neighborhood node would work best, and that this was a project well suited for the neighborhood.