Portage Township approves duplexes with conditions

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — The Planning Commission this week conditionally approved a site plan proposal from KRB Properties LLC to build duplexes near the Houghton High School.

The approval was unanimously approved pending further review of site drainage. KRB would like to start building in summer or fall of this year to build one or two structures and one or two each year afterward slowly moving towards a total of 12.

Falling within R-3 zoning, the duplexes would be zoned as two family dwellings explained Township Board Trustee John Ollila. The duplexes would be rentals targeted at single professionals, graduate students and families.

“If you put a student one in a rental he’s a family, and the next student is the additional non-family member so you’re capped at two,” Ollila explained.

“Duplexes means you can’t load up if you’re putting two bedrooms in which I think is the plan, you can’t put multiple students in two students per bedroom. We made that very clear,” he added.

Ollila feels the duplexes could help serve an untapped community.

“What we have a real shortage of in the area is housing for single professionals, couples and graduate students, and there’s more money to be made there, and they’re a good crew to target,” he said.

Zane Hyrkas, civil engineer project manager with OHM Advisors, presented the plan to the commission after working with KRB to develop the site plan.

Hyrkas mentioned a few issues the developer and county will need to work out including the township garage using some of the property for gravel storage and portions of neighboring property yards across 1st street being part of the KRB property.

A wetland delineation survey had already been carried out and the section will be left as-is, according to current plans.