Residents, developer dispute over acreage

GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich.: Residents of a Detroit suburb are disputing with a developer over how many homes should occupy an 8-acre portion of land.
An eight-bedroom 1940s mansion currently sits on the acreage in question in the upscale city of Grosse Pointe Shores, the Detroit Free Press reported. Developer Richard Russell hopes to tear down the mansion and build 18 luxury homes.
Sixteen residents filed a lawsuit last month to limit the number of homes built on the land to no more than six. Residents hope to stop traffic congestion and a drop in property values, said attorney John Lizza, who is co-counsel on the lawsuit.
Russell said the resistance to his proposed development “happens every time there’s a big piece of property.”
“People get used to having it open,” he said.

Russell has filed a lawsuit of his own against Grosse Pointe Shores after the Planning Commission, City Council and Zoning Board of Appeals rejected his proposal saying it violates the city’s cul-de-sac ordinance. The case will soon be heard in the Michigan Court of Appeals.
“We’ve always been concerned about the number of houses going in there,” said Mark Wollenweber, Grosse Pointe Shores City Manager.
The community has about 1,300 mansions and large homes. The cul-de-sac ordinance limits how long blind alleys can be and requires large turnarounds to provide emergency vehicles with easy access, Wollenweber said.
If Russell is allowed to build the 18 homes, the area will see a large increase in residents and vehicles that will dramatically change the neighbourhood’s character, the residents’ lawsuit claims. Police, fire service, emergency medical services and the sewer system will also be challenged by the increase, the lawsuit says. -AP

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