Farmington residents and business owners will weigh in July 9 on the latest proposal for the long-vacant Maxfield Training Center property – one that represents a significant change from drawings shown to school officials just a few months ago.
The new plan submitted by developer AC Acquisitions distributes 115 studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments among three buildings arranged in a “U” shape aligned on the east side of the 3-acre property. In March of this year, Farmington Public Schools trustees granted a request to reduce the sale price by $200,000, based on a new proposal for 60 owner-occupied condominiums.
The current plan is lower in density than the first, submitted after trustees in 2016 accepted a $1.2 million purchase offer, pending city approvals. The developer’s proposal for a four-story building with 189 apartments and underground parking drew heavy criticism during a spring 2017 public hearing, so the company went back to the drawing board.
New plans were expected in December 2017, but the presentation had to be rescheduled after company principal Walter Cohen fell ill.
The current iteration shows the largest building, with 59 units, tucked into the site’s northeast corner and close to Farmington Place apartments, a six-story high rise. The second largest building, which fronts on Thomas Street, would hold 32 apartments. The smallest building, with 24 apartments, sits in the southeast corner of the property.
In a review of the new plans, city consultant OHM Advisors determined that the proposed design “meets land use and PUD designation requirements.” While its 175 parking spaces fall short of the required two spaces per unit, reviewers said the type of units and potential shared parking arrangements would make the case for granting an exception.
Consultants also pointed out the need for a “strong pedestrian connection” between the complex and Riley Park on Grand River, as shown in the Downtown Master Plan and Downtown Area Master Plan: “In order to fully comply with these plans, the applicant’s proposed design should further develop and strengthen the existing pedestrian connection to create a continuous district environment.”
In addition, the report noted, landscaping does not meet requirements for buffers adjacent to residential neighborhoods, and adjustments may be required for trash enclosures and carports.
The public hearing will be held during the Planning Commission’s 7 p.m. meeting in council chambers at City Hall, 23600 Liberty Street. The agenda and supporting materials, including the full OHM review, are posted at farmgov.com.