Meeting of Township Officials, Architects Could Settle Style Debate in Town Center
The Town Center Committee will convene on May 17 at 2 p.m. in Town Hall to address issues related to the building code regulating construction in Macomb Town Center. This meeting is open to the public.
In response to residents’ concerns that current building practices in Macomb Town Center do not follow the master plan or comply with township ordinances, the township supervisor has organized a meeting of the key players for May 17.
By convening the Town Center Committee, which consists of township officials and outside architectural consultants, Supervisor Mark Grabow said he hopes issues related to building codes and current construction practices in Macomb Town Center can be addressed and resolved.
“We want to look at the issues,” Grabow said. “This is an opportunity to correct these issues. We’re bringing those (concerns) to the table with engineers and the architectural consultants so we can clearly identify some of the limitations of the Town Center code.”
While the original ordinance regulating development in Town Center was highly specific, an amended version passed in July 2011 removed “certain requirements that were not necessary to achieving the desired vision for the Town Center,” according to a township summary of the changes.
“At one time there were extremely tight controls on requirements for Town Center,” Grabow said. “Some of those items were loosened for the fact that they were overbearing and costly. But the problem is, when they were loosened up, some of the language was lost and now we have to get the clarity because it has to be interpreted in black and white and cannot be interpreted vaguely for each person’s individual desire.”
Town Center residents have repeatedly raised concerns that the new homes under construction in their subdivision do not fit the “style” specified in the original plans.
“They’re beautiful homes, but they really don’t belong there,” said Barb Tomaszewski, a Town Center resident, at a previous board meeting. “It’s just ruined the entire square mile and the reason we moved there.”
When Tomaszewski and others bought in Town Center several years ago, they did so with the understanding that their homes would be built to reflect the “authentic historical and town characteristics of Macomb Township,” as stated in Article 25 of the Macomb Township Zoning Ordinance.
Where the original homes sport wood facades and detailed trim, the new homes are largely brick and feature few of the nuances that make each of the older homes unique.
Grabow said the committee will address this issue and others related to code compliance at the May 17 meeting, which will be held at 2 p.m. in Town Hall. Although the meeting is open to the public, Grabow said some "ground rules" will be put in place to ensure the issues are "clearly understood and we move forward" as opposed to rehashing the same issues already addressed.