By Jon King /

A public hearing is set next week on a plan to tear down an abandoned school in Brighton and replace it with a townhome development.

The City of Brighton Planning Commission was originally scheduled to consider a site plan approval in April for the West Village of Brighton project. However, the meeting was postponed to allow the developer time to receive the results of a traffic study of the area from an independent engineering firm. S.R. Jacobson Development Corp. of Bingham Farms wants to build 140 townhomes on the former Lindbom School site at 1010 State St., between N. 6th and N. 7th streets. They also seek to rezone the 10.5-acre property from R-1, or single-family residential, to a planned unit development, or PUD.

Michael Caruso, Brighton’s Community Development Manager, tells WHMI that the report has since been received, and as such, the city’s Planning Commission will take up the issue at their next meeting on Monday, June 7th. As to the traffic study, it concluded that the development would generate a “similar number of trips as compared to uses permitted under existing zoning (R-1), and significantly less trips than the previous land use, Lindbom Elementary School.”

Receiving site plan approval would be a necessary step toward a purchase agreement for the parcel on the city’s northwest side. To receive final approval, it must also receive a final recommendation of approval from the City Council. Once that’s completed, the developer plans to tear down the old school building in September and then immediately begin construction.

West Village of Brighton is just the latest plan for the site since the school closed in 2010. A company owned by Fenton-area developer Pat Battaglia purchased the school for $1.45 million from Brighton Area Schools in 2015 with a proposal to open a charter school in the building, but the BAS board balked at sponsoring the school. Battaglia then proposed a senior housing complex and later a senior housing and assisted living facility for the site, but financing for both projects fell through.

Robertson Bros. of Bloomfield Hills had also proposed single-family homes on the land, but abandoned those plans due to underground contamination of trichloroethylene caused by an old manufacturing site on nearby N. Fifth Street.

S.R. Jacobson Development says they plan to deal with that by not including basements in the townhomes so they won’t get near the contamination zone which is located 14 feet underground. In addition, they will connect to the city’s water supply, avoiding groundwater concerns while vapor barriers will be installed to prevent air contamination.