Week of 7.17.17

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.

ChildSafe Michigan Legends Gala

Legends were the story at the ChildSafe gala. But not the celebrity type. Rather at-risk  children and their dreams for becoming Legends of Tomorrow  –  a doctor, a ballerina, a teacher. To make those dreams come true, 310 supporters ($300) flocked to the Townsend Hotel for the annual benefit. Event co-chairs SuSu Sosnick and Christine & David Colman and board chair Keith Pomeroy greeted the 125 VIPs ($500) who arrived early for a reception in the Clancy Room before dinner, a salute to honoree Sandy Pierce  and a live auction conducted by Christopher Aslanian.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

July 2017

GET WELL SOON: We know others will join us in wishing Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson a speedy recovery after back surgery on June 1 in the green mountain state of North Carolina. Word is he had a pretty aggressive surgery to help him get out of the wheelchair he was finding himself bound to more and more, and one Republican said that he is already feeling better. Patterson was seriously ...more»
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Planners wade into retail space mix debate

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
07/14/2017 - The Birmingham Planning Board was tasked by the city commission to come up with a definition of personal services as it relates to first floor retail space in the redline retail area in downtown Birmingham, and they held a study session on Wednesday, July 12, to refine the definition.

The definition of retail in first floor space has been deemed a high priority item by the city commission after several locations have been leased as "quasi-commercial," referring to ad agencies, marketing firms, real estate companies and web design firms, among others, that say they "could" do work for individuals, but are really commercial companies. In a memo, city manager Joe Valentine noted that the current ordinance permits commercial uses as a category of personal services.

"Over the past 10 years, roughly 46 businesses have occupied first floor spaces in the redline retail area under the undefined category of personal services. To assist city staff in the administration of the zoning ordinance and to clarify the intent of the personal services category, a policy directive was given to the planning board to promptly address this issue," Valentine wrote in his memo. "This directive was intended to establish a temporary relief measure while the planning board continues to study the definition of retail as part of its action list that was adopted in July of 2016."

Many planning board members were concerned that any recommendation they made would not be temporary, but permanent, with board chair Scott Clein acknowledging that could be. "This is a solution until the (new) master plan is done, and I thought the master plan was going to be done two years ago," he said.

While no vote was taken as it was a study session, board member Bryan Williams said he did not like the revised list, which spelled out that personal services would be for providing services involving the care of a person or apparel, but would not include business services, medical, dental, or mental health services.

"I don't like the list, and I don't support the list," Williams said. "I'd like a broader suggestion that would activate the streets. I think it's a useless list even though it provides clarification. Personal services by definition doesn't allow some of the uses that have been permitted.

"The question is do we agree with the care of the person. I think it's services for a person," board member Stuart Jeffares said. "We need a broader list. I guarantee it will be outdated by Day 2."

"The building official would make the determination," Clein said.

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