BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The northeast corner of Clintonville and Mann roads will look substantially different in a few years’ time.
At the Aug. 20 regular meeting of the Independence Township Board of Trustees, the board unanimously approved the rezoning of nearly 80 acres from single family residential to single family attached with Lombardo Homes starting work soon on building 240 new units (three per acre) on the Steeplechase property.
“The PRO has a set of conditions that are tied conceptually to their site plans,” said Independence Township Planning and Zoning Manager Brian Oppmann. “That will be very similar to how the development will look once they come back for final site plan. (Lombardo) has worked with Mr. Joppich (Township attorney Steven Joppich) and all the documents are in order and the first reading was held back in June, so they are moving very quickly on this one.”
All units will be ranch style with two-car garages and over 53 acres (or 66 percent) of the site will be devoted to open space. Sensitive wetland and nature features will be preserved as well.
Though there were many residents in attendance at the meeting, none came forward to address the board on this topic.
Due to the potential for increased traffic in that area, a stop light or similar traffic control may be implemented in the future.
“The Planning Commission did talk about that, and the township has control of that,” said Township Trustee and Planning Commissioner Ron Ritchie. “There was a traffic study done and it wasn’t warranted to say that there is a light due right now. Obviously, as density and traffic increase, and that’s something the county monitors and measures, then we’ll have to take action in the future.”
Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle added that he has been in touch with Oakland County Road Commission Managing Director Dennis Kolar expressing his concerns for traffic and the development and was told that a roundabout may be part of the solution, as well as a four-way blinking stop sign, similar to what is at Clintonville and Waldon roads. The latter would be less costly from a price standpoint.
“This is a specialized type of rezoning,” said Joppich. “You are rezoning the land to R4, but it won’t be designated R-4. It will actually be designated ‘PRO R-4’ – that’s how it will show up on the zoning map, so it’ll be a little different. That PRO represents this special designation that reflects under the statutes that there is an agreement in place and that’s why it’s also part of your approval process. You don’t see an agreement for a standard rezoning. This is a specialized rezoning that’s allowed under the statutes to give you some flexibility. It’s a situation where the property owner or developer comes in and says, ‘Hey, I want this rezoning to R-4, but I’m willing to abide by more certain, restrictive standards, or special standards that I wouldn’t otherwise have to comply with under R-4 zoning.’
“It enables them to gain some of the advantages of R-4, but not all of them. The agreement gets recorded and it’s signed by the township and recorded against the property, so everybody is on notice that this is a special rezoning of the property and you have to abide by all of these conditions. It’s all going to be a matter of public record at the county and the township, and they have to build it according to those plans.”
Once the motion passed, Kittle looked at a Lombardo representative, Cosmo Lombardo, and said, “Start digging.”