Dec. 12, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Use of Plymouth Township water and sewer lines is crucial to a proposed 588 unit development planned in the northeast edge of Washtenaw County. Salem Springs, a development of Schostak Brothers, will include townhouses, detached condominiums and single-family homes.
Some Salem Township residents say the undeveloped area directly off M-14 and Godfredson Road is in the least desirable area of the township. The Schostak-owned land is mostly vacant except for a few sections used for crop farming. The parcels surrounding the property are zoned for residential or agricultural use. That zoning will change, officials said, if Plymouth Township agrees to sell water and sewer services to the area.
Salem Township Supervisor Gary Whittaker, 60, a packaging company executive spoke can- didly last week about the Schostak development, focusing on the plan to build almost 240 homes at the corner of Napier and North Territorial Road on 50 acres, comparing it to the rapid “out of control” growth and commercial density in Lyon Township.
“It’s called the USD Corridor,” said Whittaker. It stands for Urban Service District and it’s the dividing line between the two townships, Plymouth and Salem.”
“If we can control the growth it will be a win-win for both communities,” Whittaker said.
According to Whittaker, the developer approached former Plymouth Township Supervisor Richard Reaume “a few years ago,” to cut a deal for water and sewer usage.
Whittaker said Schostak has been involved in litigation with township residents for years.
“They want everything to be right…they (Schostak) want big-box stores. It’s not in the master plan.”
The main question, according to Whittaker, is the capacity of Plymouth Township to provide services for 1400 acres.
Whittaker said he knows Plymouth Township has experienced water pressure issues in the past.
“A water tower would have to be in if there’s capacity for the 1400 acres. The (Plymouth Township) tower by Home Depot…they didn’t do it right,” he said.
Whittaker said he recently met with Plymouth Township Supervisor Shannon Price and Director of Public Services Patrick Felrath and talked with Northville Township Supervisor Bob Nix to discuss the proposed water-sewer plans.
“You know the situation that happened over in Northville about the psychiatric hospital, well that was a Schostak deal and Price was fighting Schostak on that.”
Whittaker was referring to the effort in 2008 by the City of Livonia to annex 414 acres of Northville Township property. The effort followed a protracted battle with Schostak who had purchased the land at Haggerty and Seven Mile Road, once the site of the Northville Psychiatric Hospital. Agreement could not be reached between Northville Township and the developers. Bloomfield Hills based Real Estate Interests Group (REIS) and Schostak Bros. filed a law- suit against Northville Township. A year later, REIS installed mobile homes on the property and the township approved occupancy permits for the stated purpose of having “guards” live on the site. These “residents” then filed legal paperwork to have the property annexed to Livonia.
Price confirmed last week he worked as the campaign manager for Northville Township in that2008 fight against Schostak Bros. and wanted to clarify that he has no special political connection with Schostak even though CEO Robert Schostak is a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and Price was director of constituent relations for State Attorney General Bill Schuette, a republican.
“I ran the campaign against him trying to annex the 440 acres of Livonia, so you got a situation where, you know, he (Schostak) spent $400,000 trying to annex 400 acres and I represented Northville and we spent $35,000 and he was unsuccessful. We were successful in stopping the annexation. He (Schostak) wasn’t happy with me then,” Price said.
In 2013 Hubbell, Roth and Clark were hired by Plymouth Township to study the feasibility of selling water and sewer services to Salem Springs. A report in 2013 indicated that the Plymouth
Township sewer system was adequate but additional water main improvements along Napier to Powell Road and an elevated 1-million gallon water tower would be required.
The report indicated that a new supply point from the Detroit Water and Sewer Division at Joy and Napier Road with connections made to the existing water system along Napier south of North Territorial Road and at Napier and Powell Road.
Plymouth Township officials approved a new feasibility study earlier this month to be performed by Wade Trim. Schostak will fund the study.
“I heard they’re an engineering outfit that will give you a true picture,” Whittaker said of Wade Trim.
Whittaker said he was concerned about the Napier Road corridor.
“I just want to see both communities be successful and say this is a nice area when you drive down that corridor. It’s going to be developed. My only interest is it’s done right and looks right.
“Take the politics out of it,” he said.