Saline Planners Show Support for Cascade Pointe Development on North Ann Arbor

 01/30/2017 - 19:14
Builder Danny Veri presents his plans for 'Cascade Pointe' to the Saline Planning Commission.

Of all the issues on the Saline Planning Commission agenda Wednesday evening, the main event was a public hearing on the proposed development at 911 N. Ann Arbor St. Yet, when the issue arose, the Commissioners along with applicant Danny Veri addressed a mostly empty council chamber.

Earlier discussion of the development had brought out several neighbors with strong opinions, but at this hearing of the application for combined preliminary and final site plan approval, they were absent. This happened in spite of the proper advance notification of the public hearing.

The proposal was for a three-building, 16-unit apartment complex, to be called Cascade Pointe. It would be located on 2.5 acres at the northwest corner of Ann Arbor Street and Saline Waterworks Road.

The proposal was reviewed by Chris Atkin of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, OHM Advisors and Superintendent Gary Roubal with city staff. All three groups had submitted reports.

Roubal began the discussion. He said the staff reviewed some Saline-specific issues, spoke with the developer and received some responses, but then the OHM report came in with 23 issues for the preliminary plan and 11 more for the final plan. Carlisle/Wortman identified further issues, so Roubal decided it would be best to postpone consideration for approval until February 22.

“There’s really no showstopper,” he said, but the number of details would just take much more time to pursue.

Commission Chair Bill Beardsley asked if a second public hearing would need to be held in February, since there was nobody present to give input. Roubal said it would not be legally required, but Mayor Brian Marl suggested that they could have one anyway.

There were questions asked about a small area of wetlands in the northwest corner of the property. The plan also includes an underground retention basin, which is not real common, but Roubal said it was not that odd either.

Assessor Catherine Scull pointed out that the access road, Savanah Court, was only 20 feet wide which would seem to limit on-street parking. Atkin said that there would be no on-street parking, because that normally requires an extra 10 feet of width per side.

The plan calls for 10 visitor parking spaces in a lot, one of which is designated for handicapped drivers. Some commissioners were concerned whether that was sufficient.

Veri spoke briefly. He asked if the commissioners accepted the basic premise of the plan, not wanting to spend more money if they did not.

“I think the basic premise is pretty good,” Marl said. “I’m interested in moving forward.”

Commissioner Cheryl Hoeft agreed, but wanted more parking slots. Beardsley commended the developer for a design that he thought blended well with nearby professional buildings.

Regarding wetland, the developer said that MDEQ allows developers to fill up to a third of an acre without any mitigation and the amount that he might be filling was about 10-fold less than that.

The commission voted to postpone further discussion until February 22. At that time an additional public hearing will be opened, to allow for public input.  

Commission Names Officers

The commission voted to retain the same slate of officers as last year. Thus, Beardsley will serve as Chair, Hoeft as Vice Chair and Scott Fosdick as Secretary/Treasurer.

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Roubal Highlights 2016 Accomplishments

Roubal presented a review of the Planning Commission’s accomplishments during 2016 with a PowerPoint presentation. Projects reviewed and approved included Risdon Heights, the upgrade and new community center at Maple Heights Apartments and Linden Square Phase II.

Site plan amendments were approved for Production Services Management, Inc. (PSMI), Sauk Commons, Sun Engineering and Clean Get-A-Way Car Wash. A concept plan review for Klingelnberg to buy and renovate the Sun Engineering building was completed.

Four parts of the city were rezoned to make them more amenable to development. The old Community Unit Plan (CUP) zoning ordinance was replaced with a more general Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance.

Administrative amendments were approved for several projects, including a patio area for Stoney Lake Brewery, a soil remediation project prior to construction of Linden Square Phase II and renovation of the sewer and water lines for Maple Heights Apartments. Site plan remediation projects initiated by property owners included parking lot paving at Evangelical Homes and Thorncrest Apartments and tree replacement along Maple Road by Saline Mobile Home Park.

The recreation master plan and non-motorized pathway plans were completed and the overall master plan is near completion. The Master Plan should be ready for final approval within a month.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be a joint meeting with Beckett & Raeder, Inc. on February 8 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss plans for Salt Springs Park.

Bob Conradi Is a retired pharmaceutical scientist who has redefined himself as a photographer and journalist. He has lived in Michigan for 36 years and in the Saline area for 10. He enjoys researching and learning about new ideas. Reach him at bobcphotography@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RobertConradi.