• Kevin Elliott

Rochester Hills denies proposed 89-room hotel

A proposed four-story, 89-room hotel near an existing Meijer store at Auburn Road, east of Rochester Road in Rochester Hills, was rejected on Tuesday, March 20, by the Rochester Hills Planning Commission.

Basim Shina, of Bloomfield Hills, had proposed building an 89-room Candlewood Hotel in the Meijer outlot. However, residents in the area expressed concerns regarding traffic and safety issues with the project, particularly along Auburn Road.

Rochester Hills Planning and Economic Development Director Sara Roediger said about 16 residents voiced those concerns at the planning commission meeting.

"As the mayor said when the city council approved Premier Academy at Adams and Tienken, which received a lot of opposition by residents for some of the same reasons, we have to follow our ordinances,” Roediger said. “This did need a number of modifications, and the commission and staff felt, and the public concurred, that it didn't meet the intent of the district in this location."

According to the planning department's review of the project, the property is located in a B-3 shopping center business district, with a FB-3 flexible business overlay, which does permit hotel use. The site is surrounded by commercial zoning, with a TCF Bank to the north, Meijer to the west and south, and a shopping center directly to the east. The Wildflower subdivision is east of the shopping center. The site is listed as business/flexible use under the city's master plan.

While the zoning of the district allows for hotels, the proposed project didn't meet the minimum building frontage build-to area, minimum facade transparency, and lawn frontage regarding locating parking between the building and street. Additionally, the proposed hotel didn't meet the required number of parking spaces.

Staff in its review of the project also noted concerns with the overall circulation internal to the site in terms of vehicles accessing the site off Rochester Road, and there were potential conflicts with vehicles and trucks accessing the existing Meijer store.

Planning commissioners voted unanimously to deny approval of the site plan, with commission member Ed Anzek absent.

Roediger said that the project ultimately didn't meet the intent of a flexible business district, which should be more of a mixed-use walkable area.

"They were basically trying to add something to an existing site that doesn't work with the intent of the ordinance," she said. "It's an unusual case. When we made it a flexible business overlay, we were looking at redevelopment on main roads, not four-story buildings behind shopping centers."

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