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  • By Lisa Brody

Hickory Grove School to become 41 home sites

Bloomfield Hills School District former elementary school Hickory Grove Elementary School, on Lahser Road north of Hickory Grove, received unanimous preliminary approval from the Bloomfield Township planning commission at its meeting on Monday, January 15, for a planned unit development (PUD) site plan review to be developed into a single family residential development, and it will now go to the township’s board of trustees for final approval.

The development, which will be gated, is to be called Villas of Bloomfield.

Robertson Brothers Homes of Bloomfield Hills presented a planned unit development site plan review for the 27.46 acre parcel which they are under contract to purchase from the Bloomfield Hills School District, for a high-end, age-targeted planned development of 41 detached condominium units with ranch and cape cod plans featuring first floor master suites. Tim Loughrin, manager of acquisitions for Robertson Brothers, wrote in a zoning board of appeals application that Robertson Brothers’ was “designed to work within the interior of the site, thereby significantly reducing the impact to the perimeter of the site from what would otherwise be developed as a traditional neighborhood development. In order to accomplish this, a clustered approach to the site plan was created. The site plan is proposed to provide 35.34 percent open space, well in excess of the 10 percent required in the PUD. Further, the condominium structure will provide for the ongoing maintenance and preservation of these open spaces.”

Planning commission member Neal Barnett said the builders spent a lot of time with surrounding residents before submitting their site plan for review. “They were sensitive to their concerns, and modified their proposed plans based on some concerns.”

He noted that the developers are carefully respecting trees on the property and the need to maintain and preserve nature. “The result is they have proposed a plan where the development is pushed to the middle of the development as much as possible,” Barnett said. “Many of the rear yard setbacks are deeper than the township requires in order to maintain as many as possible, especially on the north side of the development.”

After meetings with residents from adjacent subdivisions, the condominiums will be clustered to the center of the development to allow for a large buffer for the surrounding neighborhoods and to limit the impact on existing wetlands. There will be a common 9.55-acre open space within the interior and periphery of the development for accessibility by the residents. In addition, there will be a two-acre roadside park in the front of the development, along the Lahser Road frontage. Wood chip trails will allow for continued access for residents.

“I think it will be a great community development, a great addition to the township, as well as providing an option for residents who want to stay in Bloomfield Township,” Barnett said.

Robertson Brothers next will have a wetlands hearing in the township on Monday, February 5, and then come before the board of trustees for final approval at a later date.

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