Oakland Hills approved to rebuild after fire
By Lisa Brody
A year-and-a-half after the catastrophic fire which destroyed the Oakland Hills Country Club clubhouse, the club received unanimous approvals for the reconstruction of the clubhouse, the recreation and expansion of its first tee building into a lifestyle building, replacement of various maintenance buildings into one new greens and grounds building, redesigned interior traffic plans and enhanced landscaping at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, September 11.
Patti Voelker, director of planning, building and ordinances, explained Oakland Hills Country Club proposed several site improvements to its south golf course to include the reconstruction of a new clubhouse, at 110,236 square feet; the repurposing and expansion of its first tee building, to be known as a Lifestyle building, with a fitness center and men and women's locker rooms, at 16,853 square feet; the replacement of the various maintenance buildings and structures into a new greens & grounds building, with room for four staff members, repair facilities, cold storage for all vehicles, and an environmental center for fertilizer and other chemicals. She said the site plan and special land use request also included related parking and site improvements and enhanced landscaping and lighting.
The site is located at 3951 W. Maple Road, on the south side of W. Maple Road between Telegraph and Lahser roads.
“A country club is considered a special land use. It is zoned R2 residential,” Voelker said.
Prior to the clubhouse fire in 2022, there were a lot of intersecting traffic flow issues between pedestrians going to the pool or clubhouse, the complex route to the valet parking, and numerous deliveries and trash pick-ups that came to the site. This new plan will make this less convoluted, with the addition of an underground tunnel that will connect the clubhouse to the lifestyle building, and be used for deliveries and trash pickups, separating the modes of traffic. “The new internal drive will be used primarily for valet and internal access,” she said.
Voelker said parking is not an issue, with the new parking lot to have 253 spot, along with 72 valet spots and 26 parking spots by the greens building, for a total of 351 paved parking spots.
The new clubhouse, while increasing in size by 18,345 square feet, will look almost exactly like the previous iconic clubhouse. Materials will have a more non-flammable component.
“We wanted to replicate, almost to a T, what was lost one-and-a-half years ago, including that long veranda,” said Jim Stock, design director at Neumann/Smith Architecture.
In order to improve the appearance of the club and the course in the community, a chain link fence with barbed wire atop along W. Maple Road and adjacent neighborhood roads will be removed by the club, to be replace on W. Maple by 10-14-foot evergreens, including arborvitae and Norfolk pines, to provide screening. More decorative fencing is proposed for other roads, and a row of burning bush plants are proposed along Lahser Road. Voelker noted the landscaping complies with the township's tree replacement ordinance, with other landscaping being done to enhance the existing greenery.
Oakland Hills representative Leo Savoie, former township supervisor, told trustees and the public, “We're excited at where we're at because it's a process. We're hoping to get a shovel in the ground by mid-November. We'll be very, very fortunate to have it completed fourth quarter 2025 – more likely April 2026.”
“I'm glad you designed the plans on the previous building, but I'm also glad you've made some innovations,” said township treasurer Michael Schostak.
“It's an homage to what you had but it has some really cool new features,” said supervisor Dani Walsh.
Trustees unanimously approved both the site plan and special land use request.