Residents speak out against proposed apartment development

Property value, crime and traffic cited as major concerns

DAVISON TWP. — A standing room only crowd was at the planning commission meeting April 14 to hear a rezoning request by Ohio-based Redwood Living, who wants to build a 127-200 unit apartment community off Davison Road.

But most residents who attended the meeting said they objected to the proposed single-story ranch-style apartments because many feared the affects the development will have on property values, population density, traffic and crime in the area.

Located between the Briarwood and Turtle Creek subdivisions, behind VGs Grocery Store, the request by Redwood Apartments LLC to rezone 39.43 acres on Davison Road from RU-1 (residential urban) to RM-1 (residential multiple low-density), would allow them to purchase the property and move ahead with plans to build the first 127 units of what could be a 200-plus unit development.

The planning commission tabled the rezoning request at the end of the night, citing the need for more time to look at the proposal. They will take up the issue again at the May 12 meeting at 7 p.m.

Patricia Rakoci, director of acquisition for Redwood Living, said the apartments are two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,300 square foot, single family dwellings with an attached garage that look almost like a ranch-style home or condominium.

She said the apartments appeal to young professional couples, empty-nesters and seniors with leases ranging from $1,500 to $1,900 a month.

“These apartments are for those looking for a peaceful, quiet and maintenance free lifestyle,” Rakoci told the planning commission. “We build a neighborhood that’s maintenance free…it’s quite a niche for us.”

Redwood Living was founded in 1991 in Ohio and now has more than 13,000 units in 105-plus neighborhoods spread over 10 states. Including 22 neighborhood in Michigan. The company’s Michigan operations are based in Bingham Farms.

Residents of the adjoining neighborhoods, Briarcrest and Turtle Creek subdivisions, spoke out against the proposed development.

When the developer’s plans for multiple phases came up in the meeting, taking the number of units from the initial 127 to a possible 200 or more units, the crowd’s reaction was that of concern.

Resident Michelle Schultz said she bought her home in that area because of the woods, which will be taken out to build the Redwood apartments.

“There needs to be a barrier between the new development and my back yard,” she said. “Some woods or something so we’re not looking at each other’s doors.”

Beth Moffit, a resident of Briarcrest, said she was concerned about there potentially being 400 more people living in that neighborhood and the affect it will have not only on those subdivisions, but on the community as a whole.

“The schools are already overcrowded,” she said. “I’m not in favor of apartments, they can lower the value of our homes and property.”

Other residents echoed her sentiments about property values, many saying they planned to put their homes up for sale if the development is approved.

Mike Bernard, a resident of Briarcrest and police officer with Richfield Township, said he has seen trouble in almost all the Davison area apartment complexes, including those touted as high rent luxury apartments.

“The apartment complexes are nothing but trouble,” he said, adding as a police officer he assists Davison Township on many of their apartment police calls. “I don’t see anything good coming from this for Davison.”

Residents also pointed out many Google maintenance reviews for Redwood Living were not good and included slow response time and lack of upkeep.

“It reflects their integrity as an organization,” said Steve Lock, a resident who spoke at the meeting.

Rakoci said Redwood has 24 hours a day, seven days a week maintenance available. If there is not someone staying directly onsite to handle maintenance, they are subcontracted locally.

Commission members said they were concerned about granting a rezoning request because if they rezoned the property and Redwood, for some reason, walked away from the project, something less desirable could come along and locate there.

“The conditional use makes it stronger for the township, if we were to walk away,” said Rakoci. “Unless there was something wrong with the soil borings, we’re not going to walk away from this.”

She said Redwood had decided on the Davison area after careful studies and the township’s master plan which says it needs more rental housing.

Redwood has an apartment development in Grand Blanc, built in 2016. Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Scott Bennett said the township hasn’t had any reports of problems with the apartments located there.