Week of 8.21.17

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.

MOCAD Interchange Art + Dinner

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Library Street Collective gallery owners JJ and Anthony Curis collaborated on a remarkable event that turned their home – the  Hawkins Ferry house – into a museum. Under the title “Unobstructed Views,” 39 pieces of art, all available for bids, had been installed throughout the modernist gem on the shore of Lake St. Clair. More than 200 guests ($175, $200 ticket) and their conversation invigorated both floors of the museum and the lakeside terrace. Guests included legendary sculptor Glen Michaels, who recalled creating many installations for the home’s architect Bill Kessler. Art collector Shirley Piku was another guest with specific memories.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

August 2017

HORSE RACES: Democratic aspirations of taking a majority hold on Congress after the 2018 General Election will hinge on the party’s ability to take two dozen congressional seats, which may include upsets in Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts, according to recent rankings of 82 districts by The New York Times. The piece split the districts into eight groups to watch, based on competitiveness ...more»
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Planners opt out of first floor leasing debate

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
08/11/2017 - Despite a directive from the Birmingham City Commission and City Manager Joe Valentine for the Birmingham Planning Board to focus on the definition of personal services in order to amend the definition of commercial uses in downtown Birmingham for first floor retail usage, the planning board rejected that direction on Wednesday, August 12, at a public hearing they held, and instead requested the city commission expedite the updating of a citywide master plan in order to clarify the issue, along with other pressing city issues.

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."

Planning director Jana Ecker explained the redline retail area extends north along Old Woodward to just south of Oak, and south to Lincoln. It goes along Maple from Bates to Peabody, and includes Pierce, Merrill and Willits streets.

"The 2016 master plan, adopted in 1996, did propose definitions of retail, and said definitions of personal services should be included in the redline district, but did not say what those personal services were," Ecker said. "At the last meeting (on July 12) you determined the definition was: 'Personal Services: An establishment that is open to the public engaged primarily in providing services involving the care of a person or apparel, including but not limited to: beauty and barber shops, nail care or skin salon services, other personal grooming services, laundry services, dry cleaning, shoe or clothing repair; but does not include business-to-business services, medical, dental and/or mental health services.'"

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