Downs site plan application accepted as generally complete
Posted on 02/17/2022
View of the Downs property from Cady Street. Photo by Liz CezatThe Planning Commission on Feb. 15 unanimously approved the PUD Preliminary Application for site plan review for the Downs development as generally complete, per Article 20 of the Zoning Ordinance. The next step is to conduct a public hearing so community members can comment on the merits of the preliminary site plan itself. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, at 6 p.m., at the Community Center with a Zoom (online) option available to the public.

There were approximately 170 people in attendance at the Feb. 15 meeting with 69 at the Community Center and about 100 watching via Zoom.

Donna Tinberg, chair of the Planning Commission, said in comments made after the meeting, “There was a narrow scope to the meeting: to determine if the application was complete. And commissioners found that it was. However, a complete application does not mean that the site plan itself was approved.”

When it was time for the commissioners to deliberate, they focused on questions about the completeness of the plan. While some commissioners mentioned their concerns about aspects of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) – such as character, housing mix, traffic flow, integration and accessibility – they recognized that these big issues will be addressed as the process continues.

“This is a long process,” Tinberg said. “We have to focus on it step-by-step. We’ll do good work at each step and then move on to the next one. When you care a lot, as residents do, it’s hard not to let the fears carry you beyond that step. It may seem that our review is purely factual and technical, but we (commissioners) live here too and are feeling some of the same things as people in the community. We want to see that the best possible, most charming addition to Northville is built here. We want to work with the community and ask that they stay in step with us.”

Earlier in the meeting, Bob Gibbs of Gibbs Planning Group, commissioned by the DDA, reported on his team’s analysis of the retail/restaurant potential for Cady Street and downtown Northville and concluded there’s far more capacity for businesses than is currently shown in the Downs plan. That aspect of the site plan will be discussed at future meetings.

Tinberg emphasized that “Hunter-Pasteur indicated they are ‘100 percent committed to this project.’ That means this entire community is a partner to Hunter-Pasteur, whether by chance or by choice. We need to find a way to work together to get the best possible result for our town.”

Hunter-Pasteur’s Seth Herkowitz is scheduled to appear before the Historic District Commission on Feb. 16 for a conceptual review of the portion of the Downs site plan located in the Historic District on Cady St., which includes an apartment complex, luxury condominiums, town houses, retail/commercial space and a portion of the central park.