Week of 5.22.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Older Persons Commission Charity Gala

The 15th annual fundraiser for Rochester’s Older Persons Commission’s Meals on Wheels program attracted 375 ($150 ticket) to the Royal Park Hotel to party in a Monte Carlo mode. Chance-takers could bid on jewelry from Aurum Designs, pick their own prize in a chance raffle of 13 packages and, after dinner while Frank Sinatra tribute singer Mark Randisi entertained, play casino games and turn their winnings into raffle tickets. WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen emceed the dinner program in which 96-year old Erv Bauer, a Meals on Wheels recipient since his wife died three years ago, admitted, “I can’t even boil water.”  He called the program “a real treasure” because ....” the drivers (greet you) with a smile...and are someone to talk to every day...we really appreciate you sponsors...thank you kindly.”
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

June 2017

DUMBING IT DOWN: State Rep. Mike McCready (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield) has introduced a legislative proposal to reduce the number of members of the state House of Representatives from 110 to 76, or about one-third. "We currently have three House members for every three state Senate seats," McCready said, noting there are 38 state Senate members. Each state ...more»
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Crackdown on use of street level space?

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
05/19/2017 - The Birmingham Planning Board will be reviewing a proposed ordinance and hold a public hearing to potentially limit the use of first floor retail space in the downtown area from office and other commercial uses, including personal services, at their meeting on June 14.

City manager Joe Valentine wrote in a memo to planning director Jana Ecker that over the past decade there has been a desire by some city commissions and boards to review the current definition of retail "to ensure that we are encouraging true retail downtown, and not allowing office and other service uses to dominate."

According to existing city ordinances, retail uses include "artisan, community, commercial, entertainment (including all establishments operating with a liquor license), bistro or restaurant uses." He noted that "as defined...retail uses include the direct sale of products from the premises, but also include restaurants, entertainment and the purchase, sale or exchange of personal services...no definition of personal services is provided. Personal financial services, beauty services, banking services, real estate services, advertising services and other similar uses have been permitted within the Redline Retail District under the umbrella of personal services, provided there is a display area for the sale or exchange of such goods in the first 20-feet of the storefront."

The Redline Retail District consists of Maple from Bates to Peabody, Old Woodward from Willits to Brown, Pierce Street, Merrill Street and Martin Street.

There has been much discussion among retailers, the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) and landlords in the last few years over what constitutes retail and storefront in Birmingham, which has actively sought to enliven the walkability of the city, especially through the use of its 2007 bistro ordinance. But in recent years, retail storefronts have been populated with real estate firms, internet companies, financial investment firms, ad agencies and other commercial office users, which some claim detracts from the walkability goal.

Building owners, who are expected to oppose further restrictions on how they fill their rental space, however, assert they need to fill their buildings when retail or restaurant users are not available. Some have even questioned whether the city has designated too much space for retail in the downtown area.

The city memo is the first mention of personal services, such as hair salons and spa services, in the downtown area.

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