Orchard Lake voters will decide whether the city should vacate a portion of Willow Lane during the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election.
The property, located close to Orchard Lake on Willow Lane, off of Old Orchard Trail near Birchway, was initially platted nearly 50 years ago as part of the Cuthbertson Resort subdivision.
Now the 20-foot-by-40-foot road ending is a grassy, non-improved trail that projects into a 1.56-acre parcel currently for sale at 44890 Birchway. The current owner and petitioner apparently has a buyer, but without the Willow Lane property the land sale may not move forward.
“Where this property is located on the building site is critical because first, it creates a larger building area without the need for variances, and secondly, without it you couldn’t put in utilities or driveways,” said Orchard Lake Director of City Services Gerry McCallum.
“It affects the ability to place a house on the lot because it interferes with setbacks as it protrudes into the lot and interferes with the building envelope,” said Mayor Bruce McIntyre.
The Orchard Lake City Council requested the petitioner to conduct an appraisal prior to a public hearing held on Monday, Aug. 15. Given the time constraints, an analysis was submitted that pegged the value of the petitioner’s overall property at $750,000 with the the Willow Lane portion valued at 10 percent or $75,000.
“We have no agreement or price,” McIntyre said. “We are waiting for a final appraisal.”
“The property has value because it opens up that building envelope so the city should get some value for it by giving up city land,” McCallum said.
The council agreed to put the issue on the 2011 general election ballot and directed the city attorney to draft ballot language that must be turned in by Tuesday, Aug. 30.
According to the City Charter, before the council disburses, vacates or abolishes any city property it must go before the public for approval, McCallum said.
The petitioner is expected to submit the formal appraisal by the council’s Sept. 15 meeting so the panel can further its discussion and assess the parcel’s true value.