By Tom Tolen/

Before a packed house at Brighton city hall, the City Planning Commission Monday night unanimously approved the final site plan for The Bluffs at Spring Hill.

The developer, Farmington Hills-based Schafer Development, is proposing rezoning from single-family residential to a Planned Unit Development in order to to build 70 upscale homes. It would be at an undeveloped, wooded site on a bluff at the 1,000-foot elevation, just beyond Spring Mountain Drive, off Flint Road and I-96.

The meeting was mostly attended by people who live in the adjacent development on Spring Mountain Drive, although a few live on Hillcrest, at the opposite end of the proposed development. And Mike Bignell, who is on the board of the nearby Hamilton Farms condominium development, also attended the meeting. Concerns expressed by the citizens for the latest proposal primarily centered around their fears that it would result in severe erosion and water runoff onto their properties, since the approximately 30-acre site is prone to erosion. That effect resulted in a lawsuit against the original developers of the development on Spring Mountain Drive and a court order to take corrective actions.

The residents attending Monday night's meeting expressed concerns about how the drainage and erosion would impact their homes, which are downslope from the proposed development. However, the developers assured them they have a plan in place which would capture the water that normally flows toward the homes on Spring Mountain Drive and direct it to a planned detention basin, and from there into a county drain. Planning Commission Chairman Matt Smith told WHMI that he was impressed by the effort that the developers put forth in answering the concerns of commissioners and the public at the last meeting, when preliminary site plan approval was given to the proposal.

To handle the additional demands on city water, the developers said that a new, larger capacity booster station would be constructed at the corner of Hillcrest and Nelson streets. They said that would also improve water pressure over what it is currently for residents in the area. In answer to concerns about the possibility of clear-cutting the forested site, commissioners were told that 2/3rds, or 20 acres, would be clear-cut, with the remaining acreage left wooded.

Smith says it will be at least a month before the PUD site plan goes before the City Council for final consideration. If the development is approved, company representatives said the homes, from 2,000-3,000-square feet in size, will be priced in the $400,000 range. Plans are to build the development in one stage, starting around the middle of May.