Citizens For Northville

The Downs Development PUD Preliminary Plan Approval stage continues as the Planning Commission will now deliberate in a series of several meetings over the next few months on the merits of the Hunter Pasteur Plan.  Public comment will continue at future Planning Commission meetings and of course, folks can write to the PC anytime.  It is important that we continue our efforts to engage the entire community in the process so that all are heard.

Public Participation Options

Members of the public may attend any meeting in-person, OR participate electronically using the Zoom option below.  Members of the public attending by Zoom may participate as if physically present at the meeting.

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Easy Way To Be Heard

The future of the town you love is at high risk, your property values are at stake, your involvement - now - is paramount.  It’s not too late.  
Quick, easy way to be heard: 
  1. Attend the Planning Commission meetings (held the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each Month) and raise your hand to speak.
  2. Prior to any meeting send an email to City Clerk, Dianne Massa, with your personal comments, concerns, etc.: ( dmassa@ci.northville.mi.us) requesting submission to Planning Commission and City Council
- Key Message for those concerned about the plan: The Hunter Pasteur proposed Preliminary Plan in its current form is very high risk to the city.  I (we) urge the Planning Commission to adopt the Criteria Listed in this email to objectively evaluate if the Plan meets the PUD requirements as stated in Article 20 of the Zoning Ordinance.  I (we) feel that the Plan does not meet the PUD requirements, in particular, Section 20.05:
“…..The proposed use or uses shall be of such location, size, density and character as to be in harmony with the zoning district in which it is situated, and shall not be detrimental to the adjoining zoning districts….”
And therefore do not support this Plan in its current form.
Respectfully submitted,
Mr. and Mrs. Northville

The Downs Preliminary Plan CFN Recommended Approval Criteria


I feel that the developer’s plan is very well done.  But is the plan right for Northville?  I have been contacted by many, many people who believe that the plan, in its current form, is not right for Northville.  While the developer has made improvements to the original plan, the plan density was reduced only somewhat and together with Housing Types, foreign to Downtown Northville, remains the central issue in our view.  

 

The Plan, in its present form, appears to be a high risk plan with unknown consequences for Northville. Once implemented, becomes irreversible. Hopefully, working with the developer in good faith, the plan can be enhanced to mitigate this risk.

 

The key question that must be answered is “Is the HP Plan in keeping with Northville’s present Character and small-town Charm?  We believe it must be answered based on a specific set of criteria that we are requesting the Planning Commission (and later the City Council) adopt and respond to, item by item, as outlined below.  Otherwise, all we have are opinions.  

 

There is a secondary question.  Is a high density plan the only way to pay for the public benefits such as daylighting the river?   Lower risk scenarios should be explored with the developer that would include daylighting the river. 

 

These criteria must be answered and made public so that the citizens are fully informed as the process unfolds.

-Following are excerpts from the PUD (Planned Unit Development) Article 20 of the  Zoning Ordinance with related Criteria numbers that tie into each of these sections:

              20.01: Purpose and Intent: “…….to preserve significant natural, historical, and architectural features and open space……..” 2 3 6 7 10 13-17

              20.05: “…..The proposed use or uses shall be of such location, size, density and character as to be in harmony with the zoning district in which it is situated, and shall not be detrimental to the adjoining zoning districts….” 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 12 13-               17

       “…. The proposed type and density of use shall    not result in an unreasonable increase in the     need for or burden upon public services,        facilities, roads, and utilities….” 1 4 5 8 9 11 12 13-17

   

           20.8 1. PUD:  “Reasonable conditions may be required by the Planning Commission before the approval of a planned unit development, to the extent authorized by law, for the purpose of ensuring that existing public services and facilities affected by a proposed land use or activity will be capable of accommodating increased service and facility loads caused by the land use or activity, protecting the natural environment and conserving natural resources and energy, ensuring compatibility  with adjacent uses of land, and promoting the use of land in a socially and economically desirable manner.” 1 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 12 13-17

 

We request that the Planning Commission (and later the City Council) adopt and respond to the following criteria to assess as objectively as possible the answer to the question: “Is the Plan in keeping with Northville’s character and small-town charm? 

 

Criteria:

 

  1. Is Residential Density in harmony with surrounding neighborhoods?:

 

       5.8 homes per acre current surrounding neighborhoods– 48 acres x 0.70 (to account for    roads/unbuildable areas/parks) = 34 buildable acres.  474 units/34 = 14 homes per acre.  More than twice    the current density of surrounding neighborhoods        which are predominantly single family homes.  On the other hand, are single family homes in demand in Northville?  What is the inventory of unsold homes?

 

  1. Are Residential Architecture and Housing Types in harmony with surrounding neighborhoods?:

 

       Homes: yes on front façades. Are monolithic apartment and condo buildings; row, town and carriage houses appealing structures adjacent to Single Family Homes.  Are these types of structures sustainable?  South entrance to city unappealing and would be a canyon with current Plan. 

       Apartment and Condo Buildings?:

 

  1. Have Walkability requirements been met? :

 

  1. Will impact on traffic improve? :

 

  1. Is Commercial Density in harmony with downtown?:

 

  1. Is Commercial Architecture in harmony with downtown?:

 

  1. Have Landscaping requirements been met?:

 

  1. Will FAR restrictions be met?:  

 

  1. Is Parking adequate (where do non-Downs residents park that want to use the green space?)?:

 

  1. Has Farmers Market area been specified?:

 

  1. Has impact study been done for City Services/Aging Infrastructure/Utilities?:

 

  1. Has assessment been done concerning impact on surrounding neighborhood Property Values: ? 

 

  1. Has the City conducted a Pro Forma Cost/Benefit Analysis?

 

  1. Have required developer escrow accounts been determined: ?

 

  1. Has the developer claimed $2.1 million net tax increase for Northville been substantiated and        will it offset incremental costs to the city?

 

  1. Has the developer’s ability to complete the Plan been assessed?:

 

  1. Will the Plan attract visitors to Northville: ?

We believe that whatever the Planning Commission ultimately recommends to the City Council, it must include a very specific, sober analysis of the enhanced plan and its impact on Northville’s small town Charm and Character. And this analysis must be widely communicated to the public, demonstrating how the plan is in the best interests of Northville, in order for the plan to have broad based support by the public.  Such an analysis is critical to clear-eyed decision making and even more so, given the highly volatile geopolitical and financial world that may be in the process of rapidly unravelling in ways that none of us have seen in our lifetimes.

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