2018-05-10 / Front Page

60 units of low-cost housing proposed

Near S-B schools
By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

Plans for a major residential housing development that could accommodate workers of modest means were unveiled last week to the Suttons Bay Township Planning Commission.

Located off M-22 at Richter Road just outside the Suttons Bay village limits, the project could include seven or eight multi-family “four-plex” buildings plus 14 single family dwellings or duplexes, totaling up to 60 residential housing units.

The property owners are longtime township residents Frank and Micheline Padella who also own and operate the F.L. Padella Company.

The company has been responsible for the development of numerous residential and commercial projects throughout Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties.

In a letter to the Planning Commission, the Padellas noted that they have lived in the Suttons Bay community since 1990 and raised two daughters who attended Suttons Bay Public Schools, from prekindergarten through graduation.

Declining enrollment in the school district has been attributed, in part, to a lack of affordable “workforce housing” in the community. The median price of homes in Leelanau County is the highest in the state of Michigan, but wages rank only 38th in the state.

At the May 1 meeting of the Suttons Bay Township Planning Commission, the Padellas said they have acquired 49.5 acres of land they would like to develop with multi-family housing units and lots for single family homes or duplexes. Leo Creek runs through the parcel, and much of the property is a wetland.

About three buildable acres at the north end of the parcel nearest M-22 would be suitable for “high density” development of seven buildings with four housing units each, according to a plan the Padellas submitted last week.

“And it is possible that an eighth ‘four-plex’ would fit” on the northern end of the property, according to the proposal.

“At the south end of the large wetland area” on the property is an open meadow near a tree line that could be used for at least 14 single family “site condominium” houses, or clustered housing on about seven acres, according to the proposal. Under current zoning, those structures could also be duplexes containing up to 28 residential units according to township zoning administrator Steve Patmore.

Part of the development might be hooked up to the Village of Suttons Bay’s water and sewer system, but the cost of including the entire development on the system would likely be cost prohibitive, the proposal indicates.

The project would include a substantial amount of common areas, and walking trails including a short walk to the Leelanau Trail leading directly into the Village of Suttons Bay.

Patmore noted that no action was taken on the proposal at the May 1 Planning Commission meeting. The Padella proposal is in the “pre-application” phase, he explained. A formal site plan review and public hearing have yet to be scheduled.

The zoning administrator said the property is zoned for agricultural use, but recent amendments to the Suttons Bay Township Zoning Ordinance allow for multi-family housing units in the agriculture district.

The head of the county’s Planning and Community Development Department, Trudy Galla, noted that the Padellas attended the recent Annual Meeting of the county Planning Commission which focused on the need for more workforce housing in Leelanau County. The Padellas have also provide input to the county’s Housing Action Committee which is focusing on the same need.

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This is an example of

This is an example of exemplary community commitment. Thank you, Frank and Micheline!