City to gain new neighborhood, parks, retail
Posted on 11/24/2023
Daylighted river rendering, from Hunter Pasteur's 11/21/23 presentationThe Planning Commission on Nov. 21 approved the Final PUD Site Plan, with conditions, for redevelopment of the Downs by developer Hunter Pasteur by a vote of 7 to 1.

The following is the motion reviewed and amended by the Planning Commission. It was moved by Paul DeBono, seconded by David Hay and approved by all commissioners except Jeff Gaines. This motion will be part of the minutes of the meeting, and will not become an official record of the decision until the minutes are approved by the Planning Commission at their next regular meeting.

Approval With Changes or Conditions – Final PUD Site Plan

Based on the information received from the applicant, and reflected in the minutes of this meeting, the Planning Commission finds that The Downs Final PUD Site Plan, located on vacant parcels on the south side of Cady St. (between S. Center & Griswold), the Northville Downs racetrack property south of Cady St. (between S. Center St. and River St.), and two areas on the west side of S. Center St., as illustrated on plans dated as follows, and as amended through subsequent submissions and discussed at the November 9 and November 21, 2023 Planning Commission meetings:

Engineered Site Plans (Seiber Keast): 9-8-23
River Engineering (Barr Engineering): 9-1-23
Landscape Plans (Grissim Metz): 9-8-23
Architectural Plans (Neumann Smith): 9-5-23
Architectural Plans (M Architects/Presley): 9-6-23
Photometric Plan (Visual): No date

meets the required standards and findings for Final PUD Site Plan approval (Section 19.05) and Final Plan (Section 20.07) of the Zoning Ordinance (which references Sec. 20.01 – 20.04) and approves the Final PUD Site Plan, with the following conditions:

A. Land Use: As described in Sec. 3.1 of the PUD Agreement, provide an amendment to the Final PUD Site Plan that increases the amount of retail space in the Condominium Building by at least 657 square feet, representing the retail square footage reduction in this Final PUD Site Plan compared to the Preliminary PUD Site Plan (which accounts for the addition of 250 square feet of public restroom) so that the retail space in the Apartment Building, Condominium Building, and flex space in Row House Building is at least 18,610 s.f.

B. PUD Development Agreement: Execute the PUD Agreement, approved by City Council on September 18, 2023, within 10 business days of Final PUD Site Plan approval by the Planning Commission.

C. Architecture/Floor Plans/Elevations:
1) Changes in the Final PUD Site Plan to the apartment, condominium, row house, single-family attached, or other buildings located within the Historic District boundary to be approved by the Historic District Commission.
2) Documents verifying compliance with the LEED requirements indicating “certified” level are provided to the City, and confirmed by City consultant, before building permits are issued.
3) Update architectural plans for different color roof shingles and different garage door styles in rowhouses and single-family attached buildings within the Historic District boundary, as represented to and approved by the Historic District Commission at their October 17, 2023 meeting.

D. Natural Resources:
1) Defer evaluation of Grading Plan to City Engineer.
2) Defer technical and safety review of proposed river channel design to City Engineer.

E. Site Access and Circulation:
1) Defer evaluation of traffic mitigation measures presented to the residents of Beal Street, River Street, and Fairbrook Street west of the project to City Engineer.
2) Include details of Electric Vehicle (EV) parking stations (40 EV stations at apartment building and 10 EV stations at condominium building) and equipment on architectural construction documents for review against zoning ordinance requirements and other applicable codes, and approval by the City.
3) City Engineer to confirm project has met the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

F. Parking:
1) Article 17 of the Zoning Ordinance allows the Planning Commission discretion to modify the numerical requirements for off-street parking based upon evidence provided by the applicant that indicates that another parking standard would be more reasonable. The proposed reduction in parking spaces for the apartment building by 13 garage spaces and 2 surface lot spaces (for a total of 266 parking spaces) has been deemed by the Planning Commission to be a more reasonable standard, based on the fact that the number of provided parking spaces meets the Central Business District parking requirements, right-sizes parking for the new use, and because using the racetrack underlying zoning is not logical, as there will not be a racetrack on the subject site.

G. Parks and Open Space:
1) The applicant to work with the City to implement the preferred option that provides the City with the available funds vs. construction of a temporary Farmers Market location on the subject site.
2) Defer evaluation of the gateway design to the City Manager, or his designee.

H. Lighting:
1) Lighting levels along interior residential streets evaluated by the Police Chief.
I. Utilities:
1) Defer review of utilities and stormwater management to DPW Director and City Engineer.

J. Project Phasing:
1) Evaluation of the proposed phasing schedule and logistics plan by DPW Director, Building Official and City Engineer.

K. City staff and consultants shall continue to review the site plans as construction plans are developed for conformance with the PUD Development Agreement, Conditions of Preliminary and Final PUD Site Plan approval, City Council’s approval, and the Zoning Ordinance.

“The Planning Commission, city planner and developer did a lot of hard work to get to this point,” said City Manager George Lahanas. “There was also tremendous input from the community and city task forces. Oversight and actions by City Council, the Historic District Commission, the Downs Project Advisory Committee (DPAC), the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and city attorneys kept this project moving. It was a major effort that will yield positive results for the city in the future. This is the launching point for the next phase, which is construction.”

At the end of the meeting, Chair Donna Tinberg told the developer, “Mr. Herkowitz and team – we thank you for your patience these last many years as we worked our way through our review of this legacy project, which is going to change the face of Northville. We wish you well in the next steps and look forward to seeing the project take form.”

View the video here.