by CYNTHIA KMETT
It’s not often you hear neighbors say they have no objection to a new subdivision next to theirs, but that’s how Golf Trail residents feel about Phase 4 of Oak Forest, which basically comes into the neighborhood off Square Lake, between Rochester and John R.
What residents are adamantly opposed to is their street, Trevino, being connected to the subdivision via Willow Grove, one of Troy’s few remaining gravel roads, so everyone can traverse between Rochester Road and John R without going out on a major mile road. Troy favors connectivity between subdivisions as it puts less traffic on the mile roads.
The new Oak Forest Phase 4 will have 25 homes and meets all of the city’s zoning requirements. Homes will range from a 2,500-hundred square foot ranch to a 3,700-hundred square foot colonial. The site needed no variances or additions only that the developer needed to tell the city who would maintain the subdivision’s open space. Planners, as they like to do, wanted to see more side entry garages on the homes. It seems two of the models can have a side garage if the buyer doesn’t mind the added cost. And, yes, the developer is looking at bioswales for drainage in the yards that back up to Jaycee Park, but that’s an engineering department decision.
Staff recommended the plan to the Troy Planning Commission at last Tuesday’s meeting.
But when Golf Trail residents learned of the road connection, they began to send emails to the Planning Dept. opposing the idea. That prompted Planning Director Brent Savidant to contact Troy’s traffic consultant, OHM. A traffic report, not a full traffic study, was forthcoming. It indicated all the good reasons to connect neighborhoods and indicated this new phase would only generate six or seven additional cars using Trevino during peak hours.
In public comment, residents said they lived on a quiet street and didn’t want any more traffic dumped on their street. One resident claimed a real estate professional told them their property values would drop significantly. Another estimated hundreds of cars would be cutting through and he didn’t believe the new subdivision residents would want this traffic either. Plus, their children can play in the streets because they’re safe. (Of course, the subdivision’s five-acre park is right behind the Trevino homes, so kids do have somewhere to play safely.) They really would like a Emergency Vehicle Access here, which can be easily knocked down by a fire engine.
Wait a minute. That traffic study did not indicate how many cars might use Trevino when all 110 homes in Oak Forest are completed.
Let me be honest about this. I live in this subdivision, on the north side; Trevino is to the south. Cars cut down my street every day headed to Hilmore, but not like on Player. I was quite surprised that Player residents weren’t the ones out in force opposing this new cut through proposal. Rochester Road, now that everyone has a job again, backs up south of Long Lake at evening rush hour. Cars steam on to Player at the light at Sylvan Glen Golf Course, fly down the street and make a left on Hilmore and head out to avoid the light at Rochester and Square Lake. So residents on Player could easily see double the cars from this connection idea, and residents of Casper and Trevino will see traffic they’ve never seen before.
Exiting by that route to Rochester Road, whether you’re headed to I-75 or north to M-59 will be tempting as there’s a light to let you in to the flow of traffic. However, as Planning Trustee Don Edmonds, a Player resident who is far enough from Hilmore to be out of harm’s way right now, observed, this is known as the “forever light,” because a green light is not a priority here for the Oakland County Road Commission (RCOC). If three cars make it out on green, you’re lucky. During golf season, it’s even worse when a league is done playing. What will happen if a couple dozen cars want to use this light in the morning?
Savidant said he would bring this situation to the attention of the RCOC, which has control of all our traffic signals.
In addition, it’s doubtful many Golf Trail residents will want to snake their way through to John R. It’s not a main shopping destination and they have two ways out to Square Lake if they want to get to John R. And, did anyone mention that in the fall of 2018 John R is slated to be a major road widening construction project? That should make a trip through Golf Trail pretty attractive.
Planners discussed road calming devices and an angled street to make a cut through less attractive, even a complete traffic study, but made no decision. They’ll be back in the New Year with their thoughts