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Revised mixed-use plan proposed for property near Lilley-Joy intersection

 Revised mixed-use plan proposed for property near Lilley-Joy intersection

A building consisting of three-story lofts (similar to the one pictured) would be built parallel to Lilley Road if the developers’ plans are ultimately approved.

Six months after receiving a less-than-blooming review from the Plymouth Township Planning Commission, owners of a five-acre parcel of land near the northwest intersection of Lilley and Joy roads unveiled Tuesday night their revised plan for the site that Sparr’s Greenhouse and Nursery  and three residential properties have occupied for the past five decades.

On Tuesday night, Mohammad Nawwas and Naji Kahala — who purchased the land in December of 2022 — and architect Scott Wright explained to the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees how their vision for a mixed-development project (while maintaining a downsized and upgraded Sparr’s flower shop) near the intersection of Lilley and Joy roads would enhance the area.

While the township’s planner, McKenna, agreed the developers’ proposed conditional rezoning application to C-2 (General Commercial District) from R-1 (one-family residential district) passed all of the requirements for rezoning, residents who live near the proposed re-development site voiced opposition to the idea, claiming the intersection’s already-traffic-congested status would escalate if the Sparr’s Lofts idea was ultimately green-lighted.

Privacy worries

Residents of a subdivision that borders the Sparr’s property to the northwest were also concerned that multi-level lofts would infringe on the privacy they currently enjoy.

Sparr's has been a fixture at the intersection of Lilley and Joy roads for five decades.
Sparrs has been a fixture at the intersection of Lilley and Joy roads for five decades

Tuesday’s presentation was for discussion purposes only — but it was still compelling to watch the early stages of the potential development play out.

While acknowledging they understood rezoning is a detailed, patience-requiring process, the landowners expressed subtle frustration on a few occasions during their presentation, emphasizing they have done everything the township’s planning department has asked.

Upgrading the area

“Sparr’s Lofts is intended to enhance the current greenhouse and nursery business, while upgrading the southwest corner of Joy and Lilley Roads,” the conclusion of their presentation stated.

“The project will provide a new gateway into Plymouth Township with upscale lofts and businesses to meet growing demands within Plymouth Township and surrounding communities.”

Major revisions

Nawwas and Kahala revised their original plan based on feedback they received in April from the Planning Commission, which recommended the Board of Trustees deny the plan.

The responsibility of planning commissions is to make recommendations to boards of trustees, which have the final say on rezoning matters.

Drive-through nixed

Among the major revisions were the elimination of a potential drive-through fast-food business near the bustling intersection; and the realignment of the residential lofts, which would be separated from the bordering subdivision by a parking lot.

An overview of the layout of the revised presentation
An overview of the layout of the revised presentation

Kahala told the board of trustees businesses — including an urgent care — have already expressed interest in occupying office space in the multi-use building that would run parallel to Lilley Road if the plan is ultimately approved.

If the project — which still requires a lengthy vetting process — is ultimately approved, it would fall under the Planned Unit Development category, which ensures the township has more involvement and decision-making powers over non-PUD developments.

Community benefits required

Developers working under PUD rules must provide “benefits” to the communities in which their projects are developed.

Kahala and Nawwas said the community benefits would include: modern high-end lofts for single or young married professionals, filling a need in the community; easy access to local communities; access to the new Henry Ford Health Center; improved property values; improved storm water management; and improved roads.

The development — which, if approved, would require the demolition of the three single-family homes on the property — would have just two entry/exit points: one on Joy Road and one on Lilley Road.

The plan appears headed back to the planning commission for further discussion.

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Ed Wright

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