Traverse City News and Events

173-Home Rental Subdivision, Timber Ridge Expansion Proposed

By Beth Milligan | March 27, 2024

A 38.5-acre property off Hammond Road between Vanderlip and Four Mile roads – which has been the site of multiple proposed developments over the last decade – is now targeted to be a 173-unit neighborhood of single-family rental homes. East Bay Township planning commissioners will have a sketch plan review with the developers Tuesday, which will allow the board to give feedback before a formal application is submitted. Planning commissioners could also vote Tuesday to approve expansion plans from Timber Ridge, which hopes to add 90 new campsites and three new buildings.

Brigantine Development
Could the third time be the charm for a housing development to move forward on vacant land at the northeast corner of Hammond and Vanderlip roads?

Allen Edwin Homes – in partnership with Liv Communities, the development group behind Traverse City’s Liv Arbors – will appear before East Bay Township planning commissioners Tuesday with a new proposal for the site. The group plans to build 173 detached single-family homes (pictured, sample renderings) on the 38.5-acre property, including “a mix of two-story and bi-level dwellings with floor plans ranging between 1,800-2,085 square feet with 3-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, and an attached 2-car garage with private driveway,” according to project documents. “The entire project will be developed as an exclusive rental community, which will be professionally managed and maintained by the developer.”

Documents mention multiple planned amenities in the Brigantine development, as it’s being called, including a playground, pickleball courts, dog park, and an interconnected system of sidewalks and walking paths with benches and seating areas. A maintenance building and outdoor boat/RV storage area are also proposed on the far southwestern section of the site. Access to the neighborhood is proposed from private street connections to Vanderlip Road (on the southwest portion of the site) and Four Mile Road (along the eastern portion of the site). “No individual home will be directly accessed to/from Vanderlip Road, Four Mile Road, or Hammond Road,” documents state.

According to the developers, the Brigantine neighborhood “has been designed with careful consideration of the natural features present on the property and proposes a unique and creative residential housing concept consisting of detached single-family homes and recreational amenities in a professionally managed rental community.” Liv Communities recently went through a zoning text amendment process in East Bay Township to increase the maximum dwelling units allowed per acre in the moderate density residential (MDR) zoning district – which covers the Brigantine property – from five to eight units. The company at the time was looking at developing multi-family housing and sought more density for the property – an increase that was already being considered as part of East Bay’s zoning ordinance update.

However, Township Director of Planning & Zoning Claire Karner says the developers changed paths and are now pursuing a single-family development. The project has an overall density of 4.4 units per acre, less than what is permitted on the site under the updated zoning rules. “They would keep the parcel whole, so they aren’t looking to do a site condo or any type of land division,” Karner says. “Based on their market research, the detached single-family residential homes are desirable and in short supply for the region.”

The group said the homes would be rented at market rates. However, “contingent upon township approval, the developer would commit to designating a portion of these homes as attainable ‘workforce housing’ units with reduced rents based on income levels between 80-120 percent of the area median income (AMI),” project documents state. After receiving feedback on the project Tuesday, developers could return with a formal application. Issues Karner suggested planning commissioners discuss include setbacks and property line screening, a traffic study, internal road designs (including a possible connection to Headwaters and Crystal Ridge), the possibility of extending a non-motorized trail along Four Mile Road, and the specifics of any tax incentives for the workforce housing units, which would ultimately need to be approved by the township board.

The vacant property was previously proposed to be a 192-unit apartment complex called Brigantine Apartments under a different developer, Calvin Coseo. The project received its land permit and even held a construction groundbreaking ceremony in late 2022, but Coseo ultimately “ended up deciding not to move forward,” Karner says. Prior to that, another applicant – David Whiteford – received approval in 2014 to develop 216 multi-family dwelling units on the same property. Three of eight proposed buildings were constructed – they now comprise Headwaters – but the rest of the development was never built. The new Brigantine development is proposed to be constructed in two phases, with phase one planned to begin in the fall/winter of 2024.

Timber Ridge Expansion
Also on Tuesday’s agenda, East Bay Township planning commissioners will consider approving a site plan to allow Timber Ridge Resort to expand. Owner Gordon Waggoner is seeking approval to add an additional 90 campsites on the property – located on the corner of Hammond and Six Mile roads – to bring the resort’s total number of campgrounds to 450.

Waggoner is also seeking approval to build a new maintenance building, a 40x80-foot restroom and shower pavilion, and a 60x100-foot “maintenance and comfort center” building for TART Trails and the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, both of which hold events on the property. The new campsites will extend out from the existing resort and be surrounded by state land on the remaining three sides. Karner noted in a memo that the expansion site is heavily forested, with 238 trees needing to be removed. However, that number represents a maximum five percent of the total existing trees on the development site, Karner said, noting Waggoner is trying to “remove as few trees as possible.”

This is the third expansion Timber Ridge has planned in the last decade. East Bay officials previously approved an 80-campsite expansion in 2015 and a 38-campsite expansion in 2022.

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