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Residents concerned about new development

November 21, 2012 - Residents living on the southeast border of Independence Township, near Morgan Lake, were hoping to hit the green near their house, but those plans have landed in the rough.

Instead of a subdivision built on a golf course, property owners Eagle Ridge LLC want to develop a residential community with open space on the 265-acre site.

Even though construction of the 18-hole golf course was completed in 2005, Eagle Ridge LLC has determined a golf course is no longer viable. With 27 golf courses within a ten-mile radius, there isn't a need for another place to tee off, they say.

Instead, Eagle Ridge wants some of the 166 acres of woodlands and wetlands placed under conservation easements while residents could use the open space for activities like disc golf, kite flying, or hiking.

A plan approved by the Planning Commission on Nov. 8 offers a Residential Open Space Community with 243 lots for homes. While most of the lots would be 80-90 feet in size, Eagle Ridge LLC wants 81, 60-foot lots.

"I'm not sure if I'm in favor of any 60-foot lots," said township Planning Commission member Joan McCrary.

Ron Ritchie agreed, "I'm not in favor of the 60-foot lots."

While the Planning Commission insisted Eagle Ridge LLC reduce the number of small lots before approving the updated plans, locals living near the proposed development voiced additional worries.

"I always had a dream of living on a golf course," Jeff Houle said. "I'm concerned about the value of my house."

"In the event that this golf course is abandoned, our primary concern is obviously our financial investment," said Andrea Schroeder President of Homeowners Association at The Ridge at Morgan Lake.

"Some of our homeowners paid significant premiums to be on golf course frontage," she explained. "We would request further discussion on the dedication of the portion of the open space to those lots that have the immediate golf course frontage," Schroeder said.

Besides the investment made to purchase their homes, others living on Rohr and Morgan Lake roads were concerned about additional traffic.

"I'm concerned about Morgan Road and Rohr Road and the traffic pattern," said Tom Sampy. He lives on Morgan and believes, "there's going to be an incredible increase" of transportation on the roads. "It'll be a constant stream of traffic on Morgan Road and Rohr Road to get over to Maybee Road, and I'm not very happy about that," Sampy explained.

Increased vehicle congestion wasn't the only subject unsettling residents.

"On Rohr Road, we're all on individual wells. I have concerns about an additional 200-some units drawing on our water table," said Jan Doolittle.

"Now, we hear some of the traffic off I-75," said Consatina Carrick of Dora Lane. "Certainly with this development and the reduction of the woodlands, we anticipate there's going to be significant more noise. We'd like to understand how we mitigate the noise in that area," she said.

Others were worried about wildlife.

"There's deer across the lake, owls hooting in the woods, there are sand hill cranes there now," Lassay Johnson said.

"You put in 230 homes you're going to disrupt it," she said. "The wildlife there is just incredible. That's important to me; that's why we bought the place."

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