Franklin Forest Gets Approval

As seen in The Eccentric
By Larry Paladino

Thursday, October 17, 19 The long fight to bring an upscale cluster housing development to Franklin is over and ground is expected to be broken within two months for the $12 million, 21-site Franklin Forest subdivision. “It’s been an arduous process, but I think it’s going to be very attractive,” said trustee Jo Saltzman, who was joined by all five other council members present Monday night in approving the preliminary site plan as recommended by the planning commission. Homes in the development, which will have an average frontage of 150 feet, will sell for between $500,000 and $1 million.

The development will be bordered on the north by 13 Mile Road, on the south by the Southfield city limits, on the west by Bruce Lane and Hickory Lane, and on the east by the Helmandale Woods subdivision. Andrew Milia, president of Southfield-based Franklin Property Corporation, had been trying for about 10 months to get the village to approve the project, designed by Finnicum Architects in Franklin. Original plans called for 25 houses on the 25-acres, but that was modified down to 23 and then finally 21.

“We’ve satisfied all the major concerns, but there always will be those people who are against development of any kind,” Milia said after the vote. “This was a very tough procedure to go through, much more stringent than in other communities. But the final plan is excellent. … The plan is in character with the village.” Numerous hearings were conducted after the plans were first introduced, held by the council, the planning commission and even the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Ultimately, Franklin Forest acceded to the last few requirements of the planning commission. “Franklin Forest has conformed to all the motions put forth by the planning commission,” said commission chairwoman Sue Davis. “It has responded well to the concerns at the public hearings. … I think it will be a nice development.” Milia said hopefully all the homes the development will be completed within three years, “if the market supports this.”