East Bay Housing Projects on Deck

A new 27-unit apartment complex Maplewood Lane off Holiday Road has been approved by East Bay Township, with work on the 3.47-acre site to begin this fall. Another project could be coming soon for approval, with a development group appearing before township planning commissioners last week for a conceptual review of a 30-townhome neighborhood proposed for the corner of Hammond and Four Mile roads.

Maplewood Lane Apartment Complex
East Bay Township planning commissioners unanimously approved plans for Stanley Jaroh to build a new 27-unit apartment complex on vacant property on Maplewood Lane off Holiday Road (pictured). Jaroh plans to build two two-story residential buildings, one with 13 units and one with 14 units.

Project representative Jesse Mitchell said each rental unit would be approximately 1,000 square feet and have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Rent is estimated at $1,500 per month – “subject to change based on construction costs,” the development team previously noted – with indoor storage lockers and carport parking provided. Mitchell said the development team had worked to manage costs and best utilize the property in order to keep rents down, noting the difficulty of finding apartment rentals in the region for under $2,000 per month – particularly new units.

The property has access to public water and sewer and is zoned High Density Residential (HDR), which permits a maximum of 8 dwelling units per acre. According to a staff memo, the site used to be completely forested but was clear-cut by the previous owner. That clear-cutting raised concerns among neighbors about the loss of views and the proximity of the new development to their homes. Jaroh agreed to add trees and landscaping to help buffer the apartment complex from neighboring residences.

Planning commissioners attached some conditions to the approval, including requiring a $20,000 performance guarantee to ensure landscaping is completed and maintained. In addressing concerns about the initial clear-cutting, Township Director of Zoning and Planning Claire Karner previously noted that the township’s zoning ordinance is being rewritten. New rules will soon be in place that will better address issues like landscaping requirements, as well as prohibiting clear-cutting before an applicant comes in for site plan approval, she said.

Mitchell said the project team hopes to finish grading and get the foundations in for one of the two apartment buildings this fall, with framing to follow in 2024. The second building will likely follow in the next year or two, he said.

Blue Water Vue
A developer who previously explored plans for a single-family neighborhood with potential commercial units at the corner of Hammond and Four Mile roads is back with a modified project proposal called Blue Water Vue.

Ron Wilmes approached the township last year about a planned unit development (PUD) – or a zoning plan tailored to a specific property – for the six-acre site. That plan called for building 23 single-family homes in phase one and 7 units – either residential or commercial – directly fronting Hammond in a future phase two. However, township officials at the time noted the project wasn’t really a proper fit for a PUD. Developers ultimately put that approach on hold.

The project team – including representative Doug Mansfield – appeared before planning commissioners last week with an updated proposal, this one essentially a use-by-right project. It calls for building 30 townhomes in two phases, with the first phase to be built off Four Mile Road and the second phase to be built off Hammond Road. The development would include eight three-plex units and one six-plex unit. The for-sale units “will be connected by a patio and basement level,” according to a memo from Karner. “The developer is proposing amenities including sidewalks, a 10-foot non-motorized trail along Hammond Road, and open space with a gazebo for residents.” The commercial element has been eliminated from the project.

Planning commissioners expressed general support for the residential development, with multiple board members saying they liked the design and character. However, one major sticking point still needs to be explored with township attorneys. When the adjacent Waterview Ridge neighborhood was developed, a stub was built to provide future access connection to the Blue Water Vue property. But for reasons township officials couldn’t explain, that legal agreement was never recorded with the county register of deeds. Karner said township records and the construction of the stub itself makes it clear a connection between the neighborhoods was always intended, but Waterview Ridge is now opposed to that connection being built. It’s unclear – without a legal agreement recorded – whether the township can compel that connection.

Developers plan to provide a pedestrian connection between the neighborhoods, but the road connection remains up in the air. Karner said she would consult with township attorneys about the legal aspects of mandating a vehicular connection. If it’s not built, the only vehicular access connection to Blue Water Vue will be off Four Mile Road. The meeting last week with planning commissioners was just a sketch plan review; Mansfield indicated the project team would likely submit a formal application in the near future.

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