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SG-W:/ development proposals in Scio Township



Hello, My name is Jan Gerson.  I live on Liberty Road in Scio Township. 
There are 2 development proposals currently under consideration by the
Township Planning Commission. I'm hoping to get suggestions to help our
citizen group restrict the projects to what is reasonable for the area. 

The first proposal is called "Lakewood".  The proposal is for 168.8 acres,
approximately beween Saginaw Forest and Polo Fields on the north side of
Liberty, and extending back almost to Park and Jackson Roads.  The
property is primarily the Ward/Smith farm and the developer Silverman.
The original proposal was for 192 townhouses and 107 homes.  

Citizens spoke at the public hearing; concerned about the impact on
traffic, the danger involved with the access roads as proposed, impact on
schools, the environment, the watershed, and Gelman contamination.  The
project as proposed would require city services in areas that aren't in
the service district and "spreading" of density from Jackson to Liberty
Road.  There was a road proposed from Liberty to Parkland Plaza, emptying
onto Jackson Road. 

145 of the acres are zoned Estate Residential.  This zoning requires 2.5
acres per unit.  The master plan, however, shows this area as 1 acre per
unit.  The Planning Commission recommended denial.  The Board made it
clear that water and sewer services could not be used on this site, but
then sent the proposal back to Planning Commission instead of voting it
down.  They would rather "deal" with the developer and get a PUD than have
conventional rezoning to 1 acre lots.  

Citizens need to show why this density is inappropriate for this area in a
way the Board feels can hold up in court.  We feel (but need to have
expert proof to back us up) this many homes in this area would overload
the environment.  We feel (but need to have expert proof to back us) there
may not be safe, feasible access for this large a project on the site. 
There are only 2 locations where the property actually boundaries Liberty
Road.  We are angry that citizens bear the burden of proof in a
circumstance where our government should be protecting us. 


The second project is called "Scio Sunrise" and is for 15 acres on the
south side of Liberty, east of Knight Road, west of Saginaw Hills.  This
property is owned by Pat Grammatico.  The zoning is for 2.5 acres per
unit, but the Master Plan shows 1 acre per unit;  and he requested 12
homes on 15 acres.  This is a troubling request since it will be precedent
setting, not due to its size.  It is a wet, rolling parcel.  There are
serious drainage issues on this site.  The PUD clusters the homes on less
than an acre each and mass grades many of the unique features of the land. 
Much of the land left open actually appears to be unbuildable with
unacceptable perk tests.  So the attempt is to use a PUD to increase
density beyond what would be allowed with conventional zoning. The
planning commission (I believe)  will not approve the proposal unless it
gives the same number of units that conventional 1 acre rezoning would
allow.

The property bordering the site is either undeveloped at this time (here
is the precedent) or the lots are 2.5 acres or larger.  Neighbors of the
parcel understood the zoning to be 2.5 acres per home and were shocked
when they learned the Master Plan would allow 1 acre sites.  The Planning
Commission again seems to say they'll allow the density given in the
Master Plan.  Several residents even asked at the Township before buying
and were told the zoning was 2.5 acres per unit.  They weren't told about
the Master Plan and didn't know enough about development to ask about it.
Should the Township protect them from this developer or be concerned about
the developer's probability of winning in court given the Master Plan? 
How can citizens get the professional support needed to control the mass
grading and overbuilding of the parcel?

Thank you for reading this far.  I've tried to include the important
points in this overview.  Please contact me with any suggestions or
questions. 

Jan Gerson