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  • By Lisa Brody

Adjacent communities comments to be sought

A draft master plan amendment for the southwest corner of South Boulevard and Squirrel roads in Bloomfield Township, formerly occupied by an office building and a shopping center, was approved by a vote of 4-2 at the township board of trustees meeting, with treasurer Brian Kepes recused, and will be distributed to neighboring communities for comments.

Planning consultant Rod Arroyo of Giffels Webster, gave trustees a presentation for a mixed use development which would incorporate residential, retail, and commercial office space.

Patti Voelker, township director of planning, building and ordinance, explained that it was a project the township’s planning commission had been working on since April. She said this initial draft had not yet been reviewed by the planning commission.

“It is a policy document, and the strategies are to enhance and improve a community over a long period of time,” Arroyo said, explaining that the last update to the township’s master plan was in 2007. They completed a land use study in May 2017, and said there is support for a residential development, along with a mixed use development. “It is uniquely positioned for retail, including food service and specialty retail,” Arroyo said, with office on the west side of the development.

“This would be a significant downsizing of the property, with primarily residential, some office, and some mixed use,” he said, noting that 10.2 acres were designated for multi-family, with 85 units per acres.

The property is directly across the street from a shopping center in Auburn Hills, Arroyo pointed out.

The property, at the southwest corner of South Boulevard and Squirrel roads, is currently comprised of two vacant parcels totaling 14 acres. While adjacent residents have spoken at several meetings urging residential only, supervisor Leo Savoie explained this process is necessary because it is operating under a consent agreement, and if the master plan amendment process does not proceed in the appropriate time, it will revert back to all commercial zoning.

At this point in the process, trustees were asked to approve accepting the plan and distributing it to neighboring communities for comments, and then receiving it back to hold public hearings.

“By approving this, we’re not approving this, but approving it to let the public talk,” asked trustees David Buckley.

“Communities that abut our borders will be given copies and permitted to comment,” Savoie explained. “Most don’t, but some do.

Buckley asked if they could be given an alternate document, something that was all residential.

Arroyo said he had never heard of doing something like that.

“I know the residents want 100 percent residential, but that is not what the owners want, and with the planning, we have to work with what will make the most sense,” Savoie said. “Or the owners can make it all commercial (under current zoning). If we do nothing, Patti, and don’t distribute these plans to our neighboring communities, what happens?”

“The process dies,” Voelker explained.

Trustees voted 4-2 to approve the process, with Buckley and Dani Walsh voting against, and Kepes recused as he owns a neighboring parcel.

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