More than 60 people crowded into the Peninsula Township Hall last night for a public hearing on a Pre-Preliminary Plat Subdivision Plan for “The 81 on East Bay,” a.k.a. the Old Boursaw farm, which borders Boursaw Road and includes frontage on East Grand Traverse Bay. The developer is Kevin O’Grady, owner of “The 81 Development Company, LLC.”
This is the second plan submitted to the Township for the 81-acre parcel, so there are currently two plans being reviewed by the Township. When I spoke with Michelle Reardon, Peninsula Township Director of Planning and Zoning, in June, she said only twice in her career has she seen a developer submit two separate plans for the same piece of property, and both were from the same developer.
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Reardon notes that although the PUD was approved, issues involving fire access, soil erosion and engineering were remanded back to the Township Board. A public hearing on the PUD will take place next week (we’ll post details when they’re available).
The PUD approved last August includes 41 single-family lots, new paved roads, and up to 40 boat docking spaces. The new plat subdivision plan includes 53 units/lots, each with individual wells and septic. Average lot size is approximately one acre, with 150 feet of frontage on a private road. Thirteen of the lots would be located along the eastern boundary of the property and have private water access on East Grand Traverse Bay. The remaining 40 lots would not have water access.
Following the approval of the PUD, adjacent property owner James Komendera founded the group “Preserve Old Mission” and brought legal action, noting that the character, density and environmental impact of the proposed project was inconsistent with the Old Mission Peninsula and the standards of the Zoning Ordinance.
In January of 2016, 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rogers ruled against the developer, citing proper soil erosion studies and emergency fire road issues. A public hearing for “The 81” was scheduled for May 10, 2016; however, at that time, the developer’s attorney, Phillip Settles (replacing attorney Joseph Quandt, who withdrew because of issues surrounding his business relationship with Township Supervisor Pete Correia), requested that the public hearing take place at a later date.
The new Plat Subdivision Plan is a “use by right,” which means it’s a use permitted in a zoning district and is therefore not subject to special review and approval by a local government.
At the public hearing last night, Reardon noted that this is a very preliminary plan and no decision would be made at this point.
Several Peninsula Township residents, as well as Scott Howard, attorney for Komendera, spoke at the public hearing, citing concerns over traffic, erosion, soil toxicity from previous farming on the land, and septic issues if the lots didn’t perc.
Township resident Brit Eaton said he’s very concerned about the traffic, especially combined with the Vineyard Ridge development on the south end of the Peninsula. “We’ve got 53 homes here,” he noted, “and we’ve got 42 down at Vineyard Ridge. So we’ve got 93-plus vehicles times two cars in each household, times five trips a day. So you’ve got pretty close to 900 to 1000 trips a day over this road that we see is already crowded.”
Eaton added, “Somebody’s going to get hurt on these roads. In the spirit of the Master Plan, there’s way too much traffic, and you should consider denying this project.”
Here’s a look at Pre-Preliminary Plat Subdivision Plan for “The 81 on East Bay.” Click the image for a larger view, and leave thoughts in the comments section below.