Last January, Bloomfield Township trustees unanimously denied a preliminary plat proposal to turn five single family residential lots into a cul-de-sac subdivision from vacant property that fronts Franklin Road south of Hickory Grove Road, just north of Bloomfield Hills Schools' E.L Johnson Nature Center, after numerous residents spoke out against it, concerned about the impact to the nature center, and to what they believed would be smaller size lots.
The developer, Terry Nosan of Nosan Ventures, explained to the board that he was not requesting rezoning, just infrastructure improvements, and had made an application to commence with the state's platting process as prescribed by the Michigan Land Development Act in order to replat the property, and there were limitations on what the township could do to deny him under the act.
When denied by the township, Nosan sued the township.
Also speaking out at the time was Bloomfield Hills Superintendent Dr. Rob Glass, who spoke of the subdivisions’s potential environmental impact to the nature center. However, even though the district had these concerns regarding the nature center, over the approximate 18 months the land was for sale adjacent to it, they never sought to purchase it at any price, despite recognizing that there was a likelihood that the property would be sold as the economy improved and it would be developed.
Township supervisor Leo Savoie saw the potential to make a deal between the two parties, and helped bring the two together. Recognizing that the land would be developed in some fashion, the school district became interested in acquiring it in order to preserve the environmental beauty of the nature center. However, as a developer in a strong housing market, Nosan wanted something in return.
Turns out the school district had more land than they were using or needed at the Doyle Center, their administrative headquarters on Wing Lake Road. In the land swap, Nosan Ventures will convey the 4.603 acres of land on Franklin Road to the school district in exchange for 8.04 acres of 18 acres of land the district owns by the Doyle Administration building at 7273 Wing Lake Road. Nosan will be permitted to apply to build 10 site condos under the open land development ordinance, with two acres being maintained as heavily wooded land and wetlands. And the district must agree to merge the Franklin Road land into the nature center.
The land swap, which the township was not technically involved in, cost taxpayers nothing, and preserves wetlands and the nature center, as well as put eight acres of non-taxable land potentially onto the tax rolls, is a benefit for residents.
It’s an example of local government cooperating and truly working for the people.