Looking for a Ranch? They’re Coming

by CYNTHIA KMETT

There is a new condo development proposed for the west side of Rochester Road, north of Long Lake and it’s the first time the Troy Planning Commission has seen a developer come in and have the smaller sized homes they say the city needs to keep empty nesters from leaving Troy.

MJC Properties is proposing 14 units on 3.89 acres of land between Creston and Trinway. The units will be approximately 1,500 square feet, the recommended size the Planners hoped for in Cluster Zoning, which is being proposed for the Midtown Crossing development. They had debated what would be a good size and had gone between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet before deciding on 1,500 as good for those who want to downsize, but might have considerable treasures to save and grandchildren who might visit.

The proposal calls for seven duplex units along a private road. Planners definitely like the developer’s style choice of facades, American Craftsman. And, these condos will be ranches, with no grass to cut or snow to shovel by the new residents.
The zoning proposed for Midtown Crossing is Cluster, often misunderstood by surrounding neighbors.

The aim of Cluster is essentially to provide more open space, and perhaps save more trees. In return, a developer may earn more units on the site. The neighbors, however, generally get a deeper buffer from the new homes.

This site has single-family residential zoning at the moment on the northern 2.7 acres and it would allow 13 units, and it is controlled by a consent judgment from 2006 and updated in 2015 with an approved site plan. The developer bought a second lot and would now like to use the cluster option on the two adjoining parcels.

The proposed site plan shows 39 per- cent open space on the site, and they’re even thinking of putting a fountain in the detention basin. While the plans would add just one additional home, the builder could ask for a half- dozen more units by keeping this much open land, and didn’t.

There were some differences of opinion on building materials. Planners really want the developer to use high- er-quality material, besides the stone and brick shown, so it won’t require so much maintenance through the years. They were told, however, that building materials are already up 10 to 15 per- cent this year. Planners want “fiber cement board” on the homes.

The plans call for the homes to be priced, at the moment, in the low $300,000 range.

There was a public hearing on the plans, and one resident seemed concerned that these new residents would cut down their street, which has no sidewalks. The new development, however, would not be attached to the adjoining streets and is only accessed from Rochester Road. Another resident was worried about where the snow would go on the site. Well, it’s pretty open, and this won’t be a city street so you can assume their association will be sure it finds an open space. The site even has parking for visitors.

Planning Trustee Michael Hutson said this is “one of the better clusters I’ve seen in some time.” He did add that he would like to see the association’s covenant keep residents from encroaching on all that open land and the extensive landscaping that is proposed on the site plans along the perimeter of the site.

Final approval of this plan is in the hands of the city council and the court has to approve the changes, too. In case you see action on the site, MJC already has permits to remove the two homes there because of the consent judgment that’s already in place.