Construction returning to Bonner Hills property
The Tecumseh Planning Commission approved a revised final site plan for the Bonner Hills Development on Rogers Highway on Tuesday, Dec. 11. “Basically, it was a revised site plan from where they had originally planned quad units to enable them to start building 32 detached condo units in Phase 1,” said Brad Raymond, Tecumseh’s Building Department Director.The homes are described as ranch style or ranch with a loft, and are proposed to be made barrier-free, which developers believe will be appealing to buyers in the current and future marketplace.Bonner Hills developers purchased 80 acres from the city in 2004 when an original site plan was approved. At the time, city officials requested an environmentally friendly design for the development. The original site plan featured 34 four-unit structures, two two-unit structures, and 50 single-family detached structures. Some construction took place, including the building of a few quad units, before the economic downturn.Joe Kapelczak of JCK Associates, who has long been involved with the project, and Matt Lee, of MLG Contractors, were among those present at a special planning commission meeting held November 27 to discuss the revised site plan before the matter was tabled. Kapelczak said the new site plan features 101 single-family detached dwellings in three phases, rather than attached condominiums. Adrianna Jordan from McKenna Associates reviewed recommendations at the November 27 meeting upon reviewing the plan, and noted, according to minutes from that meeting, that “this is a new housing concept for the city because it provides HOA [home owner association] maintained landscaping and snow removal services where the single family homes are to be located, which would be a benefit for the aging population.” Jordan’s report noted that the proposed 101 unit development is significantly less dense than the original 190 unit development.Lee wrote a letter to the members of the planning commission prior to the December 11 meeting, pointing out that while the new plan could easily attract and accommodate buyers with disabilities due to the plan to meet ADA requirements, there are also other niche markets in the community that could be interested. He said people 55 and older who might be looking to downsize from larger homes and might have a shortage of time to do necessary upkeep who would be interested in the homes. Also, he said his company saw the need for high quality, yet affordable first time homebuyer housing as an alternative to renting. Home-seekers would find the different home styles and sizes all in one community.“Bonner Hills Building Company is offering a totally new concept to your local market,” Lee wrote, “We offer high end luxury living accommodations at affordable pricing levels that include no maintenance living for your snow, grass, landscape and exterior components…and all in one of the most well kept nicely located, clean, grassroots small town communities that Michigan has to offer. That’s Tecumseh.”The homes would have either brick or stone full front facades, vinyl siding, wood porch railings, concrete walkways, asphalt driveways and be similarly landscaped. Ranches are proposed to be between 1,252 and 1,352 square feet and can be either two bedroom and two baths or three bedrooms and two baths. Two story plans will offer a more spacious first floor living area with bedrooms on the second floor, and have three full bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths at approximately 1,400 to 1,500 square feet.Lee’s letter also noted that the economic downturn that peaked in 2008 left the development “crippled” in its ability to survive and pull through current and future economic trends. He told the planning commission, “We are here before you with the proposed new product line that we feel confident can pull our site out of the deep slump it has been forced into through factors out of our control.” He said he believed that the proposed change would not only save Bonner Hills but also spark interest in the historic city of Tecumseh. Home prices are projected to range from approximately $135,000 to $150,000 depending on upgrades and amenities. The developer is also working toward qualification for FHA financing. Sanitary sewer and water leads already exist within the community, as do private roads. Proposed designs would meet the city’s design standards and mimic existing housing in the community. Raymond said the company now needs to revise documents, but Phase 1 groundbreaking could take place in early 2013.“They could begin to put some models in place early in the new year, depending on when they get the other paperwork together,” Raymond said.