My previous article on this subject, Watch for Rezoning Signs, can be read for background.
Developer Jerry Amber has proposed a downsized four story apartment building with 46 units, compared to the earlier proposed five story building with 60 units for a vacant 1.23 acre parcel at Livernois, 0.4 miles north of Big Beaver. (A pretty small piece of land a long ways from Big Beaver.)
In January, the Troy City Council rejected the rezoning request by a 4-3 vote after the Planning Commission recommended rezoning the parcel to the Big Beaver District from its current office zoning. The Big Beaver District is designed to be a “mixed-use gateway that promotes walk-ability,” according to the city’s master plan.
City planners like it, but local businesses and residents do not. Two nearby business owners with single-story offices complained that the tall building would not fit into the surrounding neighborhood. Nearby homeowners do not like the idea of fifth or fourth floor apartments looking down into their back yards.
The lawyer for the developer claims his client “has listened through the process.” But obviously Mr. Amber has not satisfied all their objections, just made the building a little less tall and increased the greenbelt at the north edge from 11 to 13 feet.
For more details, read Terry Oparka’s article in the Troy Times.
Expansion of Big Beaver District?
How large is this area now, and what justification does the city have for expanding it to 0.4 miles north of Big Beaver into an existing residential neighborhood with only a 13 foot buffer between it and the single story office buildings to the north? Will the developer or the city compensate the homeowners or existing business owners for the loss in their property values? If the city grants the rezoning request, will there possibly be a class action lawsuit? One of the homeowners is an attorney.
The City already has had to increase their offer for the controversial Troy Transit Center property, with Federal tax money. Do they really want to expose themselves to another potential lawsuit? This would be city money, not someone else’s.
Perhaps if the developer planned a two or three story building, there would not be the objections. Understand that would make it less profitable for the developer, but it might be cheaper than paying compensation to the homeowners.

 
New Restaurants Close to the Road

Recently some new restaurants have opened very close to Big Beaver just west of I-75 as part of the new “walk-ability” model. We’ll see how many people want to sit outdoors near a road with a 45 mph speed limit and heavy traffic.

 
When my wife and I were shopping for a house, we decided against buying a house on the corner of Caswell and Big Beaver because of the traffic noise, thinking of outdoor events in the yard and traffic noise. The property value was probably $10,000 less because of the location on Big Beaver. We opted for a house with a quieter yard and paid more for it.
I feel bad for the Timberview and Millstone homeowners whose property values will suffer if this rezoning is approved without compensation. They did not know there would be a tall apartment building looking into their yards.