Plans for a large development that has been proposed in Lyon Township on the Erwin’s Orchard property will likely require change before officials will even consider the project.

The proposed Cider Mill Village is a mixed-use development that includes retail, a recreation center, community garden, event center, trails and various housing options. 12 acres of the orchards would also remain to preserve the Erwin’s legacy. Bill and Linda Erwin, who have been hoping to sell their property so they may retire, have voiced support for the project; however it’s been mostly met by scrutiny and suggestions for change by both township officials and residents.

Developer Howard Fingeroot and his project team came before the township’s Board of Trustees Monday night to discuss the conceptual plans. When it came time for officials to weigh in, the majority said they couldn’t get past the housing density, which proposes 579 dwelling units over the 264-acre property, averaging roughly 2.3 units per acre. Treasurer Patricia Carcone said she was "absolutely shocked" by the project's 197% density. Township Supervisor John Dolan says density also contributes to population, questioning whether the area's infrastructure could support such a large influx as the schools are "already busting at the seams".

Another issue that resurfaced several times was the developer’s proposal to re-align Kent Lake Road with Pontiac Trail to support the higher density, which Trustee Sean O’Neil says has not received approval from the Oakland County Road Commission yet, and may not even be feasible. Other concerns from officials included a lack of parking in the proposal, incongruity with the township's master plan and ownership as it relates to each of the amenities, like whether the orchard portion would be sold to a third party.

Although Monday’s meeting was not a public hearing, the Board of Trustees allowed residents to voice their opinions for a brief period. Most echoed the board’s feelings, though one resident did express support, saying that he feels it’s a “well thought-out plan” and that the density fits the acreage.

The meeting only served as a conceptual review, so no action on the plan was taken. Developers were asked to reconsider their proposal to potentially incorporate some of the suggested changes before moving forward. (DK)