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DETROIT-A township west of Detroit is taking the unusual step of making early plansfor growth boom that’s projected in the next 10 years.

Hartland Township is smack dab in the middle of the current migrationnorthwest for residents of Metropolitan Detroit. Many residents have movedout to the greener areas of west Oakland County and into Livingston County,and businesses and retail have followed close behind.

Like many of the area townships, Hartland has had no extensive water andsewer system, halting any larger development plans. The township has justmore than 13,000 residents.

However, the chairman of the township’s Planning Commission says the watersystem has seen an upgrade, and a $15 million sewer system is going in soon.Bill Fountain, also a member of the township’s economic developmentcommittee, says the townships are creating a development plan for theexpected surge of growth.

“We have a lot of vacant land,” Fountain says. “We want to create the rightbalance of residential and commercial property.”

Main thoroughfares that have become much more used, including M-59, U.S.-23,I-69 and I-94, run through the township as well. Commercial developers havebeen picking up land quickly along the interchanges of these highways.Of particular concern, Fountain says, is the U.S.-23 and Clyde Roadintersection. New plans include high-tech, light industrial-zoned land withsome supporting commercial, Fountain adds.

Detroit and a few cities north, such as Troy, are overbuilt. Troy is 94% built out, says city real estate director Doug Smith.To get away from such cities, many people have fled to new subdivisions inareas such as Hartland, MI. Fountain tells GlobeSt.com that township officialsrealize that commercial will, and must, follow soon.

“We welcome commercial development,” Fountain says. “We don’t want to be anarea with just residential, that’s hard on the tax bills.”

Ferndale, considered bedroom communities, have been hit hard by state budgetcuts and have had to layoff employees and cut services.Fountain said his township wants to plan carefully so that the balanceensures future tax captures from commercial uses.

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