In 2015, Royal Oak citizens overwhelmingly voted to allowed the city to sell 10 acres of the Normandy Oaks golf course to a developer, with the proceeds to serve the public, including a new park in that area and improvements to the Royal Oak Golf Course.

Allocating about two acres for public streets and rights of way is an appropriate use of city-owned land, to serve our new residents. Two public roads will traverse the single family home portion of the development. The north-south road will be an extension of Kent Road and the east-west street has yet to be named. Single family homes will line the two public streets.

The plans for this development including the multi-family component (condos) have been discussed at several plan commission and city commission meetings over the last year. Hundreds of hours of staff time have been devoted to making sure this project meets the intentions of the city with regards to this new neighborhood while protecting and preserving the former golf course/park property. The development is a PUD (Planned Unit Development) which allows the city to negotiate additional requirements of the development above and beyond the minimum zoning requirements in return for other developer requests such as site layout and joint stormwater management system.

Stormwater Management: Our existing ordinance doesn’t require single family homes to detain storm water; only multi-family developments. (Detention: intentionally holding and slowly metering runoff into our sewers). Our development agreement forces detention requirements upon the single-family area, further protecting the city’s combined sewer system. The developer and city worked together to find a solution to both the developer’s need to detain stormwater and the city’s need to do the same for the proposed park, even though we still do not know what features will be in the final park design.  Initially, the city anticipated the desire for some open recreational water features in the park and this became a driving concept for a proposed joint detention and recreational pond.

The existing south pond in the low part of the golf course was the ideal location for a much larger and multi-functional pond. The final development agreement allows Robertson’s residential development to discharge filtered storm water from both the single and the multi-family portions of the property into that pond. The pond is being constructed now because the Robertson development needs a place to send stormwater from their site as it is built.

The new pond was designed with input from the city engineering and their sewer consultants, along with the developer and their design engineers and landscape architects. The desired result will be a gracefully meandering and natural looking area surrounded by the mature trees. It will no longer have steep and dangerous slopes like the old pond. The new pond will also be a better habitat for a variety of plantings and wildlife. Additionally, the city’s consultant for the new Normandy Oaks Park is fully aware of the pond’s function as well as the city’s desired uses and will be incorporating this and other stormwater management features into their final designs.

It should be noted that the MDEQ, which keeps records of all wetlands in the state, has no record of any protected wetlands on the Normandy Oaks site. The old ponds were created to be part of the golf course as design features in the 1990s. They were not intended to remedy any stormwater deficiency and not used for irrigation.

Trees: While numerous trees were removed for the Robertson site development, only five trees are being removed for the creation of the new pond. Robertson will be required to plant at least 90 new street (public right-of-way) trees in and around the single and the multi-family development.

Soil erosion and dust. The developer has been required to install soil erosion silt fencing around the perimeter of the development site and all other areas they are currently impacting. A large stockpile of excavated soils is sitting in an area on the east side of the proposed Kent Road extension, where the new single family homes will be built. The developer is also working to control dust by spraying water on areas of disturbed soil where vehicles are driving.

In the next few weeks, the pond excavation will be completed and public sewer and water utilities will be installed in the two new streets as well as within the multi-family site.