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Chelsea council holds work session on Wolf Farms proposal

(Publisher’s note: There was a mistake in the acreage of this parcel that has been corrected.)

There was a full council chambers when the Chelsea City Council held a work session on Jan. 6 to discuss the proposed Wolf Farms development, a 42-acre parcel located in Lima Township near the intersection of Freer Road and Old US-12.

Although the proposed development is in Lima Township, the City of Chelsea must be directly involved for it to move forward. Chief among those reasons are the city must provide utilities, including water and sewer.

During the last three years, the City Council has held multiple work sessions to discuss potential development plans for this property, and Monday night’s session was held at the request of the Lima Township Planning Commission that tabled the plan until it received input from the city.

Among the options for the two municipalities to move this project forward would be an agreement on shared revenue called a 425 agreement or an outright annexation of the land into the city.

According to information provided to the City Council by Atwell, LLC, the Wolf Farms proposed development plan includes 67 single family homes, 73 town homes, 32 attached ranches for a total of 172 residential units on 28.44 acres. Also planned are two medical office buildings.

The proposed plan is scheduled to be built out in five phases beginning with one of the medical buildings.

In addition to the differences in zoning designations and Master Plans that exist between the township and the city, the proposed medical buildings were among the first of numerous concerns expressed by City Council members during the discussion.

Increased traffic concerns were also discussed as potential problems. According to information provided by the city, 17,000 cars travel on M-52 and 7,800 vehicles travel on Old US-12. Neither road is under the jurisdiction of the city. M-52 is a state highway and Old US-12 in under the auspices of the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

Although Chelsea would like to see additional housing units in the city, affordable housing is something that is frequently mentioned as a need in the city. Also discussed was housing stock under construction both within the city limits as well as just outside the city in Sylvan Township.  

The developers provided a public benefit summary for the work session that included new high paying jobs that would result from the medical building, a variety of housing, new city parks, an increased tax base to Lima Township.

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5 thoughts on “Chelsea council holds work session on Wolf Farms proposal”

  1. Who will pay for the expanded water and sewer system? We know the city of Chelsea has not had the best track record working with developers since they lost a $2 million lawsuit back in 2005 with Pulte homes and the rate payers are covering those cost to date. Politicians always cite jobs jobs jobs but is it really worth the extra cost to the larger community? Then theres the issues of two different government organizations. There is no indication they all have the same agenda. Also developers usually have deeper pockets to sue than municipalities. While it may be a win for the city’s tax base, it would be good to have a community forum with site plans, traffic studies and projected infrastructure cost to other city residents to make a more informed decision.

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    • Everything I am hearing seems to be to the benefit of the developers as well as city and township coffers.
      I feel confident the reason the school board went out for a 81 million dollar bond issue was because they are counting on the new taxes this development would bring in. How else do they explain that current residents would see no increase in current taxes. Please give me the name of the bank that offers that deal.
      What about the toll on the Chelsea water system when that much more water is drawn from our aquiver. Also, what effect would expanding the electrical grid have on current residents? Can anyone say power outages!
      This whole proposal raises more questions than it answers.
      Traffic on Old U.S. 12 is already heavy at times with the current developments. Two medical buildings are already planned next to St. Mary’s. Why do we need additional in the Wolf development?
      Last but not least, current residents in the area will see home values decrease due to the increased traffic and congestion not to mention the dramatic increase in housing stock in that area.
      This whole proposal is out of character for the small town feel of Chelsea. Any board member or city official who approves this plan must live in the far north or west side and not care for those living in the proposed development area.

  2. Who is it (besides the developers) that wants all this expansion in Chelsea? I was disappointed when hearing of this one. Traffic impact study? It’s overloaded now! And any study will likely be done by the same brain surgeons that didn’t see a need for left turn lights on Old 12 at Main St. Anybody see another poorly designed and built roundabout if this goes through?

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  3. The City of Chelsea will never return to the village it was 30 years ago when 3000 people lived here. And in 20 more years it will resemble Dexter or even Saline. Growth is inevitable unless we stop procreating. But that takes a lot of the fun out of life. The City will grow around its existing borders and gradually expand. Fact of life. However, the density– and location– of this project, given the already burdened traffic situation at Freer and Old 12 and Main and Old 12– has me scratching my head. The developer wants a profitable medical office building. Understandable. He wants return on investment not quality of life. That’s not his business. Real estate is his business. Do we need an office building? If we do, let’s find a developer willing to build one on M52 where there’s plenty of land within 5 minutes of the hospital complex. Not on over burdened Freer Rd across the street from an elementary school.

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