Linden — A developer is proposing to build a 72-unit townhouse condominium development on Stan Eaton Drive across the street from the water tower in Linden called the Linden Place Townhome Condominiums. 

 The Linden Planning Commission approved the preliminary site plan Monday, June 6. The applicant is Coolhand Property Development, LLC, which is owned by Luke Birchmeier.

 The property, located on the south side of Stan Eaton Drive, between Byram Lake Drive and S. Bridge Street, is 9.53 acres and is zoned residential-4 (R-4), multiple family residential. This zoning allows for multiple family dwellings as a principal permitted use. Plans include nine buildings with eight units each. 

 Birchmeier, who grew up in Linden, said his goal is to build a lower price housing option in the city. “It’d be a nice spot to live in so close to the school as well,” he said. 

 According to a letter from City Planner Adam Young, senior project manager with Wade Trim Associates, the developer plans to build a loop access drive with two ingress/egress points to Stan Eaton Drive. 

 “In addition to the two offstreet parking spaces for each unit, a total of 22 off-street parking spaces (3 Americans with Disabilities Act) will be provided for guests. An internal sidewalk circulation system will be provided, which connects to a proposed sidewalk along the south side of Stan Eaton Drive,” according to Young’s letter to the commission.

 Plans include servicing the development with a network of new water and sewer pipes, as well as stormwater drainage and a detention basin. On the southwestern portion of the property is a 1.51-acre wetland area that will remain untouched except for stormwater crossings/outlets. 

 Young recommended adding a signed/marked pedestrian crossing for Stan Eaton Drive considering that Hyatt Elementary is located across the street from the proposed development. Birchmeier said building the sidewalk will be a “huge bonus” not only for residents but school traffic as well, and he added that he’s not opposed to crosswalks. 

 Young also recommended conducting a traffic study, requiring a landscape buffer and more. 

 Department of Public Works Director Don Grice wrote that the project site plans do not provide for a complete 8-inch watermain loop through the project, and the building water taps should be connected to the new 8-inch watermain loop and not the existing watermain on Stan Eaton, according to the agenda packet. 

 Fire Chief Brian Will also provided comments on a water suppression system. When the commission approved the preliminary site plan on Monday, June 6, plans did not include a sprinkler system. Will wrote that a three-story development will need a sprinkler system.

 Police Chief Scott Sutter also provided comments. He supports having a traffic study completed considering the proximity to Hyatt Elementary. 

 City engineer David Richmond said they will need permits from the Genesee County Drain Commission, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the city of Linden. Currently, there’s an 8-inch water line that stops at the end of the site. He said he wants to see this line loop through the system and they may need to add another hydrant. In regards to fire suppression, Richmond said they might need to install pumps to achieve adequate pressure for the top floors of the development. 

 Commissioner John Hartranft asked about water supply and pressure. Richmond said the city has a permitted pumping capacity of 2.84 million gallons per day. With all four wells running, the city can supply about 2.84 million gallons per day. The permitted firm capacity, which is the water flow rate when the highest pump is taken out of service, is 1.76 million gallons per day.

   The current use is 0.65 million gallons per day. The Silver Lake Road Assisted Living facility being built along Silver Lake Road in Fenton Township will hook up to the Linden water system and will add .05 million gallons of flow. The Linden Place Townhome Condominiums would add a projected .08 million gallons. 

   “We’re still well underneath the actual flow. Where this project starts to push us is storage capacity. We have a storage capacity of 0.2 or 200,000 gallons. This would take…us up to about 0.19. So we’re getting right up there against the storage capacity with this project, but from an actual system capacity… We are good in that regard. The pressure is what would need to be checked,” Richmond said.

 City Manager Ellen Glass said the city is currently discussing water system improvements. 

 Commissioner Stephanie Johnson said, “I agree that we need a little bit more affordability and multi-family dwellings and stuff, but I think my biggest concern is the traffic right there, especially with the elementary school. My children personally go there so I know what it’s like right now as it is.”

 Commissioner Brad Dick’s biggest concern is water flow and having a fire suppression system. He’s also worried about traffic. 

 Commissioner Ray Culbert said he would “definitely” require a traffic study. “There’s a ton of traffic along that road and it really needs to be done,” he said, adding that he also would like school officials to comment on the proposed development. He’s also in favor of requiring a fire suppression system. 

 Birchmeier said any traffic study he does during summer, when school is out, would be “irrelevant.” However, he was not in favor of having to wait four months to conduct a traffic study. He also questioned if they were required to have a sprinkler system due to building codes. The commission agreed to let the fire chief make the determination. 

 Young recommended the approval of the preliminary site plan and wrote that the final site plan needs to address comments and concerns made by city officials.

 Four members of the planning commission were absent Monday, June 6. The vote was 4-1, with Culbert dissenting. The developer will need to provide more information during the final plan review process.

 See the preliminary site plan and recommendations at lindenmi.us.

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