Plymouth Planning Commission Reviews Hollydale Concept Plan
The possibility of turning Plymouth’s Hollydale Golf Course into homes created an upswell of resident concern Wednesday night. Nearly 20 people spoke to the Plymouth Planning Commission, all expressing issues they see with turning the city’s last remaining 18-hole golf course into new development.
“I don’t think there’s any green land left in Plymouth and I think that this property should remain green,” said resident Colette Riethmiller.
“I think this could be a really exciting time for the city of Plymouth by choosing to be a champion for green space. I would challenge all of you and every resident of Plymouth to reimagine what this space could be use for instead of another housing development,” said Diane Slayton, who lives near the golf course.
First Look at Hollydale “Sketch” Plan
The golf course owners, Rick and Lynette Deziel, decided to sell the property last fall. Wednesday’s night meeting was the Plymouth Planning Commission’s first opportunity to give feedback on the housing proposal. The plan, offered by Plymouth developer Jake Walesch and Gonyea Custom Homes, would build 319 homes on the course. The mix of homes ranges from larger ones of $800,000 to $1.5 million to villa-style one-level living homes that start at $550,000.
The developer submitted what’s called a “sketch” plan, a very preliminary proposal that allows an opportunity to receive feedback before submitting a formal application. The Plymouth Planning Commission also reviewed an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW), a document that points out potential impacts of the project, including traffic and water drainage. Some residents weren’t satisfied with the EAW saying it didn’t accurately reflect flooding and traffic safety issues.
Residents also wondered whether the city should change its newly approved 2040 comprehensive plan to accommodate the redevelopment. For one resident who lives in a townhome near the golf course, the proposal was personal.
“If this proposal goes through and they extend Comstock Lane, that road will go under my window, right under my window. I will have lost everything we paid a premium for,” said Wayne Larson. “I understand the Deziels wanting to sell, and I understand the city of Plymouth wanting the tax revenue from the homes, but let’s be honest, with all the traffic, the water, the overcrowded schools, this won’t work.”
Residents Can Still Submit Comments on EAW
No transportation improvements would be needed according to the EAW. The report says the 300-plus homes would generate an extra 3,011 daily trips. One of the traffic safety recommendations would be to convert Schmidt Lake Road to a three-lane road, with two through lanes and one shared center left-turn lane.
Residents can submit comments to the city on the EAW until Feb. 26. The Plymouth City Council is expected vote whether to accept the EAW on March 10. Accepting the document does not mean the project will get approved.
The Plymouth Planning Commission gave feedback, saying the plan for more than 300 homes is “way too dense.”
“It’s a non-starter for me,” said commission member Julie Witt.
Commission Chair Marc Anderson, who also felt the Hollydale project contained too many homes, wondered whether the city should amend its 2040 comprehensive plan a couple months after it was approved to accommodate a single developer.
“It says golf courses are important,” said Anderson giving his opinion on the comprehensive plan. “For another, there’s nowhere in there that says the city wants to own a golf course.”