Week of 6.26.17

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.

Suite Dreams Project Hats Off Luncheon

From the first sip of pink bubbly (in a split with a pink straw) to the Hat Crawl guests’ exit with huge, hot pink balloons, the 16th annual Hats Off Luncheon was a dreamy, Sweet/Suite Sixteen production. During the reception the sold-out crowd (400 @ $150, $200-patron) oohed and aahed each others’ hats and bought all of the 1,000 chance auction raffle tickets. The luncheon program emceed by Rhonda Walker had highlights. Ali MacManus, a songwriter/singer who was born prematurely with multiple birth defects and has survived 11 major surgeries, got a standing ovation when she sang her composition “Breaking Free.”
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This weeks social light photos…

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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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Central Business District to be redistricted


04/14/2017 - Plans to rezone Rochester's Central Business District into several smaller districts in order to better meet desired land uses and zoning ordinances were introduced on Monday, April 10, to city council members.

Rochester Deputy City Manager and Economic and Community Development Director Nik Banda said the planning commission has been working with city staff for months on developing a future and use plan for the Central Business District by addressing the area on a block-by-block basis. On Monday, Banda presented the council with the first of several new districts that will be introduced.

The proposed Downtown Edge-1 District would include about three blocks serving as an extension of downtown's core, and would run from W. University to Second Street, and from the west alley of Main Street to east side of Walnut Boulevard. The new district would expand the downtown's core area and encourage the expansion of business and the tax base of the community.

With the core area of the downtown already being maximized with many established uses, and limited area for new businesses downtown, the Edge-1 district would expand the business area while creating a transition to residential neighborhoods.

"We didn't want to change large areas and create conflicts, so this first area is for the Downtown Edge-1 District," Banda said.

The proposed district includes guidance for development standards, permitted uses and those uses that would require conditional approval. However, Banda noted changes to the city's ordinance codes would be needed at a later date to enforce the proposed uses. The plans before council on Monday, he said, would be the first step in creating the district, not the ordinances.

"It essentially eliminates automotive suppliers," he said. "We don't want that as a buffer on the alley. It's more of a service industry area... it's not a radical change from the Central Businesses District, but it takes out some uses."

The district would also limit building height to three stories, and ensure that no buildings are taller than those in the adjacent downtown district.

Councilwoman Ann Peterson said, upon being presented with the plan for the first time, that she wanted more information about how the district would function with adjacent districts, as each side of Walnut, for example, would be in two different districts.

"I would like to table this until we can see (the districts) together," she said.

Banda, as well as councilman Jeffrey Cuthbertson and mayor Cathy Daldin, who both serve on the planning commission, agreed that the plans would be easier to envision if side-by-side districts could be presented. However, additional proposed districts aren't expected to be drafted for more than a month.

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