Mixed-use development at Downs, Cady St. advances
Posted on 09/09/2022
Aerial view of the Downs. By CV MediaThe Planning Commission voted 7-2 on Sept. 7 to recommend approval, with conditions, of Hunter Pasteur Northville’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) and Preliminary Site Plan to redevelop the Downs Race Track and sections of S. Center, Cady and Griswold into a mixed-use development.

The development proposes to be a primarily residential area with commercial space on Cady St. Housing styles include single-family homes, townhomes, row houses, carriage houses, single-family attached homes, a condominium building, and an apartment building. In addition, two new parks would be added: a central park and a river park. Daylighting the river, creating a new south gateway and contributing toward the restoration and relocation of the historic log cabin would be among the public benefits resulting from the project.

The PC’s Sept. 6 meeting was held at the Northville Community Center to accommodate members of the public who wanted to comment on the project. There were approximately three hours of public comment and nearly four hours of deliberations among commissioners. The meeting ran from 6:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (The vote was taken at the end of the meeting, which was Sept. 7.) Two dissenting members were Vice Chair Steve Kirk and Commissioner Jeff Gaines. Public comments – some from people who have spoken previously – were wide ranging with many focusing on concerns regarding density and traffic. Several also provided written comments. View them on the website.

The meeting came just one week after the PC’s Aug. 29 special meeting, where commissioners collaborated with City Planner Sally Elmiger and Special Counsel Carol Rosati, to revise a draft list of conditions that would be attached to the PC recommendation to City Council. Those conditions were further revised and refined at the Sept. 6 meeting. Part of the motion includes a list of public benefits and cites where the developer deviates from design standards with the commissioners’ consent.

Chair Donna Tinberg expressed pride in the comprehensive deliberations by the Planning Commission relative to the preliminary site plan/PUD that began in earnest in April 2022 following a formal public hearing in March 2022. Various revisions by the developer were presented in response to commissioners’ suggestions, task force recommendations and public opinion. Tinberg was complimentary about the civil discourse of public comment.

“Part of our city’s character is how we behave toward one another,” she said. “Diverse opinions were expressed and listened to respectfully throughout the process. I really appreciate that about this community.”

City Council is expected to begin considering the Planning Commission’s recommendation later this month and there will be opportunities for the public to provide comments to City Council during that process. The City Council could delete, change or add conditions to the PC’s list prior to voting. If the PUD and preliminary site plan are approved by Council, the developer will return to the Planning Commission for approval of the final site plan. A final site plan is likely to be submitted in phases that align with the construction schedule. Meanwhile the Downs Project Advisory Commission (DPAC) will make recommendations to City Council regarding project costs and funding sources.

View the Aug. 29 video here.

View the Sept. 6 video here.

View written public comments here.