By Lonnie Huhman,

Sylvan Township wants to get a better idea what its water system is capable of, specifically with what it can do for Sylvan Crossing and Westchester Farms subdivisions.

The Sylvan Township Board voted unanimously at its June 4 meeting to have a water system hydraulic study performed by Process Results of Saline for a price of $8,000. Township supervisor Tom McKernan said the cost is budgeted and the study got the recommendation from township public works manager Bob Scull. The study will try to help the township predict the impact of future development on the system.

“This will allow us to once and for all to know what our capacity is for the water system with the planned build out of those two facilities,” McKernan said.


He said this study, in part, comes out of of a larger package of studies that were recommended by Stantec, which was the other bidder on the project at $14,000. Both firms have worked with the township in the past, according to Scull.

In his recommendation, Scull said the township is obligated through development contracts and consent judgments to provide municipal water service to several residential land developments.

“With impending additional phases of Sylvan Crossing and Westchester Farms Subdivision there is a need to verify their impact on the water distribution system (flow and pressure,)” Scull said in his memo to the township board.

Scull said the study will provide a computer model of the existing system with the addition of the build outs of both subdivisions. In addition, he said the model created will also allow the township to predict potential impact of further growth.

McKernan said this study is needed because the township needs to make sure it’s not building into a further deficit with its water system.

In other news from the June 4 meeting, township resident Patrick Zieske has brought forth a proposal to the township board asking it to remove the restrictions on the size of a home in the township. His proposal is asking the township to affirm the right of individuals to determine the size of their homes and remove the restrictions on minimum home size.

According to township ordinance, as it pertains to minimum residential floor area, “no single-family dwelling or any dwelling unit in a two-family structure shall hereafter be erected or altered which shall have a total floor area of less than 1,000 square feet for dwelling units with two or less bedrooms, plus 200 square feet for each additional bedroom. No multiple-family structure shall hereafter be erected or altered unless each dwelling unit therein shall contain at least 500 square feet where no bedrooms are provided; 600 square feet with one bedroom; 800 square feet with two bedrooms and 200 square feet for each bedroom in excess of two.”

As for mobile homes in the township, the ordinance states, “the mobile home, prior to any additions, shall have a minimum floor area of 1,000 square feet, a minimum exterior width of 24 feet for at least one side elevation, and a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 7.5 feet.”

The topic was first referred to in the meeting as tiny houses, but Zieske said he thinks it’s better to refer to it as just smaller housing. He said people should be able to make a lifestyle choice and have a smaller home.

The proposal was discussed by the township board briefly with it agreeing there were a lot of questions that needed answering, such as how do other communities address smaller housing, utilities and how would this look as far as overall land use.

The proposal is going back into the planning commission process and is expected to be discussed in upcoming meetings.


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