Traverse City News and Events

Housing Updates: Developments On Deck, STR Legislation, Safe Harbor Open

By Beth Milligan | Nov. 9, 2021

East Bay Township planning commissioners will review and potentially approve a site plan tonight (Tuesday) for a new 192-unit apartment complex off of Hammond Road between Vanderlip and Four Mile roads. The project is just one of several housing-related developments and updates underway across the Grand Traverse region.

Property owner Calvin Coseo is proposing to build a multi-family community called Brigantine Apartments on a 38.57-acre parcel near the Crystal Ridge and Headwaters Apartments neighborhoods (pictured, property boundaries in blue). The complex would contain eight 24-unit buildings, including a total of 24 three-bedroom, two-bath apartments, 72 two-bedroom, two-bath apartments, and 48 units each of two-bedroom, one-bath and one-bedroom, one-bath apartments. The buildings would be 35 feet tall, or three stories.

According to the site plan application, the complex would include “garage parking and storage and community amenities such as a clubhouse building, pool, community meeting room, picnic areas with BBQ grills, fenced-in dog runs, tot lot play areas, a basketball court, a mowed turf multi-sports field, extensive landscaping, and walking trails.” Primary access to the neighborhood would come from Four Mile Road directly across from the East Bay Calvary Church driveway, with secondary access provided via Vanderlip Road along the site’s west boundary. The development would be serviced by municipal water and sewer. A majority of the property’s perimeter would be preserved as a “naturalized meadow landscape,” according to the application, with wetlands on the northwest end also untouched.

In a memo to planning commissioners, Township Director of Planning and Zoning Claire Karner noted that a different applicant – David Whiteford – received approval in 2014 to develop 216 multi-family dwelling units on the same property. That project also called for eight buildings and access from Four Mile Road, though it did not include a proposed connection to Vanderlip Road. Three of the proposed buildings were constructed and now comprise Headwaters Apartments; however, the rest of the development was never built. Karner said that while the Brigantine Apartments plan doesn’t include a connection to Headwaters, staff would like to see one added if possible. The project plan does include a non-motorized connection from Brigantine to Crystal Ridge.

Karner’s memo recommends approving the Brigantine Apartments site plan, though she notes planning commissioners could either choose to do so tonight or wait until their December meeting after some outstanding issues with the application are resolved. Those are primarily related to road and traffic issues, with the Grand Traversed County Road Commission requesting a traffic impact analysis, right-of-way adjustments on the site plan, and addressing concerns in some potential problem areas, notably the Vanderlip/Hammond intersection.

In other housing news…
> Garfield Township planning commissioners will vote Wednesday on approving a proposed 60-unit apartment complex called Marengo 31 on nearly 16 vacant acres behind the Baymont Inn between Hartman and South Airport roads. M Brothers Northern LLC is planning to build two three-story buildings, each with 30 units featuring a combination of one and two-bedroom apartments. Ninety-five parking spaces are planned for the development. A large majority of the site would be preserved as undisturbed wetlands area, with over 19,000 square feet of common outdoor open space and a BBQ area offered for tenants.

> The Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority recently approved $986,172 in reimbursement funds for both environmental and non-environmental clean-up work for a new mixed-use development at 309 West Front Street. The four-story building – which will be located along the Boardman River next to the new 4Front Credit Union headquarters building – will include 84,400 square feet of residential condominiums (91 units) and 5,030 square feet of retail and restaurant space, according to project documents. The building will also include 11,000 square feet of underground parking, including 85 vehicle and five motorcycle spaces. Developers are investing approximately $25.3 million in total capital funding into the property, according to project documents.

> Despite overwhelming municipal opposition in Michigan, Michigan House lawmakers approved legislation in a recent 55-48 vote that would prohibit communities from banning short-term rentals or making them subject to special-use permits. The controversial bill would include vacation rentals as an approved residential use in Michigan, with cities and townships able to enact noise or nuisance rules but not prohibit short-term rentals outright.

The Michigan Municipal League has opposed the legislation, saying its passing would be a “calamity” that would strip local communities of their right to enact local zoning ordinances and enflame an already red-hot housing market. Traverse City area leaders have also slammed the legislation. Michigan Realtors and the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy, meanwhile, support the bill, saying it would help protect private property rights. Last-minute language added to the House bill in an attempt to reach a compromise states that municipalities can limit the number of short-term units by the same owner to two and limit overall short-term rentals to no less than 30 percent of all existing residential units in the community. A companion bill in the state Senate has yet to go to a full chamber vote.

> Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse opened the doors to its emergency shelter on November 1 for the winter season for individuals experiencing homelessness. The facility is open 6pm to 8am daily through April 30 at 517 Wellington Street, with guest check-in between 6pm and 8pm. A new check-in console is located inside the Wellington entrance adjacent to the newly designated medical wing that “provides a safe, calm spot” for volunteers doing bag checks, COVID screens, check-in, and med check for guests, according to Safe Harbor. Guests who are symptomatic for COVID will be able to see a doctor and receive a rapid test in a separate room, with an isolation room available for those test positive (if there is a positive case, Safe Harbor will typically try to relocate that guest for the protection of other guests). Safe Harbor also has a new 20x20’ heated outdoor tent next to the building to provide an expanded socializing area with a projector and movie screen.

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