A Detroit area developer wants to build 140 town homes on the former Lindbom School site in Brighton. It’s just the latest proposal for the 10.5-acre, former school property at 1010 State St., between N. 6th and N. 7th Streets, on the city’s northwest side. There have been several previous proposals for the contaminated site, none of which came to fruition.

The Brighton City Planning Commission will consider an application for preliminary site plan approval for the project as a Planned Unit Development at its meeting tonight (Mon.). The former Brighton elementary school was closed in 2010 due to declining enrollment and financial issues and has been vacant since. The plans of the newest developer to come on the scene, S.R. Jacobson Development Corp. of Bingham Farms, are to demolish the school to make room for a community center, which would be the hub of the project, consisting of 140 luxury town homes. Town homes are essentially luxury apartments that are to be leased on an annual basis. If given final approval, the town homes will consist of 2-and-3-bedroom high-end apartments of 1,280 to 1,550 square feet, the larger units having 2-car garages. According to the conceptual plans, the garage would be on the first floor and the living areas on the second and third floors.

There have been several previously proposed developments at the site, most notably by Fenton area developer Pat Battaglia. Battaglia’s former company, American Classical Academy Brighton Holdings LLC, purchased the school for $1.45 million from the Brighton Area Schools in 2015. He proposed a charter school called the Livingston Classical Academy for the site, but the school board turned down his request to be the sponsor. The school was later chartered by the Whitmore Lake Public Schools and ended up there. Battaglia later proposed a senior housing complex for the old Lindbom site, but his financing fell through. His final proposal, submitted in 2018, was virtually identical to the senior housing and assisted living one which was approved by the Planning Commission in 2015 but was dropped when, again, his financing fell through. Another intended use for the site that fell through was by Robertson Bros. of Bloomfield Hills, which had proposed single-family homes, but later abandoned plans because of the issue of underground trichloroethylene contamination caused by a former nearby industry.

Jacobson Development says it will deal appropriately with the contamination issue and has completed both the required Phase 1 and 2 environmental assessments. Jacobson officials stress that the project will have city water, and therefore water contamination is not an issue. However, because of the possibility of vapor rising from beneath the surface and entering the town homes, special measures will be taken to prevent vapor intrusion. Measures will also be taken during the construction phase to ensure the safe removal of asbestos, which has been found in the former school building. Brighton Community Development Director Mike Caruso says the new proposal is by a “quality” developer with a solid reputation gained over 40 years. He says if the site plan meets the city’s criteria, it will provide good “transitional housing” as a buffer between the commercial-industrial and R-1 (single-family homes) residential neighborhoods in the city. “We try to work with the developer, and at the same time, protect the city,” he says. Tonight's meeting will be held at city hall in Brighton beginning at 7 p.m. (TT)