FARMINGTON -- A development with 57 duplexes will be available in the future as additional rental space in the north central part of Farmington, between Broyles and Wilson streets.
Farmington Planning Commission last week approved the large-scale development plan for the multi-family Farmington Hills Community, with two main contingencies.
First, the developer must receive approval from the adjacent property owner to the north for a street connection into Farmington Heights Subdivision, Phase 2. In addition, the power company must approve a request to have the development's detention ponds within its easement.
City engineer Chris Brackett with Olsson Inc., said both of these must be approved before construction can start. If approval is denied on either contingency, any revised plans must come back before the planning commission, Brackett said.
Farmington Hills will be on 16.6 acres at the end of East Wilson Street. The complex will be located behind the townhouses on Wilson Street and behind the storage facility on Broyles. According to the application, Lots 102 Holdings LLC, owns the property, which is zoned MF-1 to allow single-family homes or duplexes.
The duplexes will be adjacent to two residential developments, Cedar Crest subdivision, a planned unit development with 222 units, either townhomes, duplexes or single family homes, and Farmington Heights, Phase 2, a single-family subdivision with 90 lots.
The plan shows that access to the development will be at the end of Wilson Street and in the northwest corner of the multi-family subdivision.
The original large-scale development plan only showed one entrance into the subdivision.
In a memo about Farmington Hills, fire Chief Bill Hellard said the developer would have to provide an additional fire access road, as required by the International Fire Code. Hellard wrote that if all units had approved residential sprinkler systems installed, it's possible the development could be approved with only one fire access road.
The owner's engineering firm, Blew & Associates, turned in a revised plan with a second fire access for the commission's March 22 meeting.
Brackett said the second access will also provide another way for residents in Farmington Hills to leave their neighborhood, instead of all the traffic going to Wilson Street.
Planning commission members expressed concerns about traffic in the area from new residential developments, especially traffic at the Wilson-Broyles intersection and at the Hunter Street/U.S. 62 intersection.
Commissioner Gerry Harris noted that the average household has people going in and out five to six times a day. With 58 duplexes off Wilson Street and another new subdivision off North Hunter Street with 117 homes in the first phase, the city needs to do something about the intersection at Hunter and U.S. 62, Harris said.
"If we don't get something done, there's going to be major problems," she added.
The comment was made that most people will probably go onto Broyles Street so they can hit the traffic signal at Broyles and U.S. 62.
But commissioner Judy Horne pointed out Broyles is getting busier and busier, especially during school pickup and drop-off times. She said people will have problems turning onto Broyles from Wilson because of traffic. She recommended installing a traffic light at Broyles and Wilson to help with this congestion.
The commissioners wondered if Farmington Hills would have sidewalks but Brackett pointed out the development was the same as approving an apartment complex. It will only have one owner. The city does not have an ordinance that requires sidewalks for such developments, Brackett said.
"Most developers put in sidewalks. There may be sidewalks in there. It doesn't show on the plans," Brackett said.
In other action, the commission approved the preliminary plat for Mrs. Jack McClure Subdivision and also approved part of a variance requested for the subdivision.
The property has multiple owners, 102 Holdings, Trademark Custom Homes and Aspen Construction.
The subdivision will be located on about 16.5 acres, with seven lots that range in size from one acre to three acres along Jack McClure Road and Little Elm Road. The land is in the county, but in the city's planning area.
The owners requested a variance from the city's required street improvements for a subdivision. This would be curb and gutter and sidewalks along Little Elm and Jack McClure roads.
Catey Atchley with Blew & Associates firm, representing the owners, said the reason for the variance request was because other developments in the area did not have street improvements. In addition, she said the county does not require it.
Melissa McCarville, city business manager, said the planning commission can forward its requirements for the development, but Washington County planners can accept those or reject them.
McCarville said she wanted to make sure the city received a dedicated right of way, and Brackett recommended the city at least require the developer to install sidewalks.
"We're planning for the next 20 years," Brackett said, noting that area could be annexed into the Farmington city limits in the future.
Brackett said the last time the city required street improvements for a development in the planning area, the county did not go along with the improvements.
After some discussion, the commission voted 4-3 to approve the variance, with the exception that the owner install sidewalks and dedicate right-of-way to the city along the development side of Jack McClure and Little Elm roads.