With questions not answered to the satisfaction of city planners, another development proposal in Brighton has been tabled.

The first proposal at the City Planning Commission meeting Monday, to repurpose the mothballed former Lindbom School into senior housing, was tabled. After a break, a second public hearing was held on the proposed Bluffs at Spring Hill residential development. The Bluffs at Spring Hill would be constructed near Spring Mountain Drive off Flint Road, on the south side of the I-96 overpass. The Bluffs at Spring Hill would consist of 72 single-family homes in a site condominium development. It would be situated on 31 acres directly beyond the cul de sac at the end of Spring Mountain Drive, where a site condo development already exists.

The 31 acres is currently undeveloped and is largely forest land. The developers, Steven and Spencer Schafer of Schafer Development in Farmington Hills, say that a 66-foot easement off Flint Road would allow them access to the property so that a street could go in and the development be constructed.

Planning commissioners were told that the 72 homes would be site condos, which are homes in every sense, with the caveat that site condos are completely detached from one another. In addition, the owners own the home itself, the land on which it sits and the yard, so each homeowner is responsible for upkeep of the yard and removing snow from their driveway in the winter. They pay association fees, with the money collected used for amenities outside the boundaries of their individual properties.

A large number of people commented at the public hearing on the preliminary planned unit development (PUD) on the proposal — virtually all of them opposed to the project. The residents mostly live in the Nelson St.-Hillcrest Ave. area. According to City Council Member and Planning Commissioner Jim Bohn, objections cited centered on the density. Although 72 homes on 31 acres equates to nearly half an acre per home, in reality 11 or 12 acres, or more than one-third of the land, would be left undeveloped as green space. Another objection cited by nearby residents was a need for buffers along the perimeter of the development. The homes would range from 1,600 square feet to 2,800 square feet in size and priced from the upper $300,000 range to the lower $400,000 range.

The developers told commissioners their market research indicates homes in that price range built as site condos attract empty-nesters, professionals, and upwardly mobile young people. Since six conditions must be met before a preliminary site plan can be approved, and because the Planning Commission felt they had not all been met, commissioners voted to table the matter until the October meeting. (TT)