Farmington Hills officials tabled plans Monday for an “age-targeted” development on Nine Mile Road and asked Pulte Homes to come back with a plan for fewer units.
Pulte proposes 28 single-family detached condominiums on the 10-acre Piemontese Swim Club property. It lies between Polo Club Apartments to the west and larger, single-family homes in Heritage Village to the east.
Mike Noles of Umlor Group said the open layout ranch homes have a “flex room” for hobbies or guests. Senior-friendly features include accessible showers, wider doorways, fire suppression, and lawn and snow maintenance.
Noles said the city’s Planning Commission, which forwarded plans to council, appreciated the benefits of an age-targeted neighborhood, such as limited use of streets, water, and wastewater, and reduced rush hour traffic.
City planning consultant Rod Arroyo of Giffels Webster said Pulte will plant three types of evergreens to screen the perimeter. They’re preferred to fencing, he said, “because these species… will grow at a rate of two to three feet per year. Within about five years, you’re going to have 20-feet tall evergreen trees that will fill this border area.”
Joe Skore, vice president of land acquisitions for Pulte, estimated a base price in the mid-$350,000 range. Depending on features, buyers could pay as much as $450,000 for homes ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet.
Objections to density
Residents shared concerns about signage, long-term maintenance, landscape screening, storm water drainage, and screening, Noles said. Neighbors who took part in public comment during the meeting objected most to the project’s density.
City officials also wanted to see fewer units on the property. Council member Valerie Knol pointed out that another developer had recently lowered density with smaller adjacent homes.
“I just do not believe 28 homes is appropriate,” she said. “Nine Mile has a different feel, there’s a lot of trees… and it’s very pretty.”
Strickfaden agreed with neighbor Todd Trombly, who said, “This doesn’t look like Farmington Hills.”
Noles said the city created the cluster option for this type of “transition” property, which has “a wall of multifamily housing on one side, and a wall of manufacturing on one side.”
“We have been working on this for a very long time,” he said. “We have made a number of concessions.”
‘Be a little more forward-thinking’
Mayor Vicki Barnett shared concerns about narrow setbacks at the east entrance, maintenance fees for seniors on fixed income, fencing around a retention pond, and construction of a private road. Residents would pay a city-wide road millage without seeing a benefit, she said.
Noles said the private road and fencing aren’t deal breakers, but density would be.
“I hate to say no, but we just can’t make it work,” he said. “We really are at our breaking point with this particular project.”
Barnett said the reduction could amount to only two units. “I just want you to be a little more forward-thinking and creative and see what you come up with.”
Skore agreed to the delay. Officials will take another look in about a month.
Watch a replay of the discussion, which starts around the 1:26:05 mark: