By Jessica Mathews/

A new residential project in the City of Brighton has been given the green light.

The Bluffs at Springhill will feature 70 single-family units on 28.94 acres of wooded land located south of Flint Road between the Spring Hill condo association and I-96 to the east. The entrance will be off Spring Mountain Drive. City Council met virtually Thursday night and unanimously approved motion to rezone the parcel from A-1 single family residential to PUD or Planned Unit Development, along with the accompanying site plan. The PUD contract agreement was removed from Thursday’s agenda. It will be reviewed by Planning Commission next month and then tentatively before Council for the June 18th meeting. A public hearing was held prior to approval and three residents voiced concerns.

The project has gone through an extensive review process since receiving preliminary approval about a year and half ago. Council members commented it was a very comprehensive plan and all requirements have been met. Neighbors have raised various concerns about drainage and soil erosion controls, buffering, construction methods, the structural integrity of homes in close proximity and the large amount of earthwork. Lead Project Engineer Mike Noles representing Pulte Homes delivered a presentation on the project and changes made to address resident concerns. Noles said developers held several public meetings with surrounding residents who wanted perimeter buffers, and a 30 foot natural buffer has now been included with additional landscaping. There will be 9.6 acres of open space preserved on site and developers identified 205 “saved” trees along the perimeter, which residents requested. 229 new trees will be added of a variety of species. He noted the density went down and they made more room along buffers to create a 30-foot buffer strip, added landscaping and are solving a major drainage problem in the area.

Noles told Council developers have modified plans to accommodate residents and the storm water system is one of the main benefits that will greatly improve drainage issues. He said a detention basin will be built to capture runoff going into the nearby Spring Hill development that will discharge to an existing wetland - effectively removing 12 acres of water from draining through the existing neighborhood. He said they have an extensive soil erosion control plan that meets all city, county, state and federal regulations. Noles said several studies have also been completed to look at several issues as recommended by staff, planning commission and members of the public. He said they’ve completed a traffic study, environmental study, sound study, a geo-tech report, a tree survey and offsite survey among others.

Councilman Kristoffer Tobbe commented that the resident concerns were valid and they’ve lived through a tough situation with their development. He said his concern was that the project would get started but not be finished due to economic factors and then they’ll be left with even bigger problems and a bigger mess. Noles said requirements and securities are written into the PUD agreement for developers, which guarantee they will complete the improvements. He said those improvements have to be done prior to the start of any homes and bonds will be in place for a significant sum of money. Noles further assured the development will be built properly and said there will be extensive monitoring by engineers, third party inspectors and others over the course of construction with written reports and soil erosion control inspections.

The project has received unanimous approvals from all required agencies. Noles stated final engineering has been submitted and developers are seeking EGLE permits and then applying for soil erosion control permits.