Council conducts first reading of Downs PUD
Posted on 09/22/2022
City Hall

City Council recap of Sept. 19 meeting

Liquor licenses – City Council approved the liquor licenses of two Main Street businesses based on Police Chief Alan Maciag’s presentation and no objections from the Northville Liquor License Review Committee (LLRC).

The Little Salumi, 137 E. Main, a sandwich shop, was approved for a new SDM license, new Sunday sales (a.m./p.m.) permit, new catering permit, and a new beer and a wine tasting permit. Shop owner and applicant Jessica Poole, of J.M. Poole, holds the licenses. Poole previously was approved for these licenses by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).

Sokoloski Brewing LLC, doing business as Great White Buffalo Brewing Co., 101 MainCentre, was approved for a new micro brewer license; new small wine maker license; new beer and wine tasting permit; new off-premises storage permission; new on-premises tasting room permit; new Sunday sales permit (a.m./p.m.); and a new outdoor service area permit. The brewery is seeking approval for these licenses by the MLCC.

Allen Terrace Crack seal repair – The Allen Terrace driveway and parking lot was recently crack sealed. The next step of the process is seal coating, and re-striping, with some driveway patching. CAP Sealcoaters, of Warren, was awarded the project by Council with the lowest bid of three vendors at $7,250 plus a 10% contingency as approved by the Northville Housing Commission.

Downs PUD – The first reading of the proposed zoning ordinance map amendment of the Downs and associated properties was conducted at the meeting.

City Planner Sally Elmiger, of CWA, reviewed the process with council and citizens. She noted the Planning Commission held a series of deliberations on five key topics: 1. Residential and Commercial Land Use, 2. Roads, Pathways, Connections and Parking, 3. Architecture, Landscaping and Aesthetics, 4. Parks, Public Spaces, and Farmers’ Market and 5. Infrastructure, Financials and Phasing. Each of the topics was covered over the course of 10 meetings (each topic generally required time at three meetings each). Item five (#5) was discussed at two PC meetings but evaluation of detailed cost estimates regarding public benefits and utility/traffic upgrades was deferred to the Downs Project Advisory Committee (DPAC), which will make a recommendation to Council.

Following these detailed deliberations, with public comment heard on each topic, the Planning Commission recommended the Preliminary PUD Site Plan and the PUD rezoning be approved by City Council, with conditions, on a 7-2 vote at the Sept. 6 meeting.

Now, this ordinance is before Council. The city charter calls for two readings when an ordinance is considered, with at least a two-week period in between readings. Due to the nature of this ordinance, it will likely take longer before the second reading and a decision on the PUD. City Council members indicated at the meeting they will categorically review each component of the plan, taking into account concerns raised by citizens.

Seth Herkowitz, Hunter Pasteur Northville executive, reviewed aspects of the developer’s preliminary site plans and how they changed over time, based on recommendations by the Planning Commission, task forces and the community. He noted the plan was guided by the Master Plan and is within the density permitted, with 9.96 dwelling units per acre (DU/AC). That equates to 443 housing units over 44.45 acres. South of Beal, the proportion is 5.06 DU/AC. Regarding the projected increase in traffic volumes, he noted that HPN Consulting Engineer Julie Kroll, of Fleis and Vandenbrink, did an assessment that was reviewed and accepted by city Consulting Traffic Engineer Steve Dearing, of OHM. Regarding the Farmers’ Market, he said the developer is providing land on the Downs for three years during the transition to a new site, which was recommended by the Farmers’ Market Task Force.

He noted the Planning Commission’s review resulted in a refined, improved site plan and asked council to adopt the commission’s recommendation for conditional PUD approval.

Approximately 30 people, at the meeting or online, spoke publicly about the development. Some of the concerns included its impact on traffic, public safety, infrastructure expenses, downtown character and amount of commercial space, as well as the types and style of housing. Supporters mentioned benefits of cleaning up environmental hazards, new public parks, and a mixed-use development that would be an improvement over the racetrack property as it now stands. Public comment lasted about 2-1/2 hours.

Council moved to introduce for first reading the proposed zoning ordinance map amendment to rezone the Downs and associated properties at 301 S. Center St., 118 E. Cady St., 341 Beal Ave., 318 River St., 105 Fairbrook St., and 109 Fairbrook St., from Central Business District (CBD), Cady Street Overlay District (CSO), Racetrack District (RTD), and Second Density Residential District (R-2) to Planned Unit Development District (PUD).

A second reading will be considered after City Council has received and reviewed:

a. Recommendations from the Downs Project Advisory Committee (DPAC) on financial considerations and other issues critical to this project,

b. Input from Northville’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA),

c. Northville Historic District Commission status update for PUD areas within the Historic District’s boundaries,

d. Information or modifications considered sufficient or necessary by City Council to decide on the Preliminary PUD Site Plan, and

e. A draft PUD Agreement acceptable to City Council.

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