Highway Digital Billboards For The Palace of Auburn Hills Being Updated

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

As part of Palace Sports & Entertainment’s continual investment into The Palace of Auburn Hills, they are improving their presence along I-75 and M-24 with improved billboard signage.  This multi-million dollar investment is being done in anticipation of the opening of the upcoming Detroit Pistons basketball season.

The logo and colors will change on both highway signs and the digital LED board is currently being replaced on their M-24 sign.  The M-24 sign is expected to be operational soon and the I-75 sign is anticipated to be upgraded by October 31st.

Artist rendering of the upgraded billboard sign on M-24

Artist rendering of the upgraded billboard sign on M-24

As part of this changeover in technology, Palace Sports & Entertainment has partnered with the City of Auburn Hills to provide significant advertisement space on both digital billboards at no cost to our taxpayers starting on January 1st.  The City will receive one eight-second message per minute on both sides of each sign – for the life of the signs – free of charge.  Thus, the City will be able to promote Downtown Auburn Hills, Fieldstone Golf Club, and numerous community events to tens of thousands of motorists each day.

This is another exciting high-tech improvement that benefits both a great corporate citizen and a progressive town.

Update On New Hotel Near GLC Outlets

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Work is progressing on the new three-story, 80-room Marriott TownePlace Suites Hotel, which is being constructed just south of the 2nd and Charles Bookstore, adjacent to the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.  Owner, Basil Bacall, anticipates the extended-stay hotel will be ready for a Grand Opening by March 2015.

This will be Basil Bacall's 4th hotel in the City of Auburn Hills (Basil Bacall pictured here)

This will be Basil Bacall’s 4th hotel in the City of Auburn Hills (Basil Bacall pictured here)

Contractors have finished the hotel's roof, added the swimming pool, and are now installing drywall

Contractors have finished the hotel’s roof, added the swimming pool, and are now installing drywall

A Beautiful Celebration

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Beautification is an integral part of a vital community.  It’s what strengthens a neighborhoods’ integrity and makes public spaces inviting and comfortable.  It defines a community and draws people in.


The City’s Beautification Advisory Commission (BAC) honored 88 residents and businesses last week for their exceptional beautification efforts.  These honorees enjoyed dinner and received an award along with gifts including fresh flowers, mum plants, and a book as a thank you for making their properties look attractive.


The event gave residents and business representatives a chance to mingle together and meet City leaders including new City Manager Tom Tanghe and VeRonica Mitchell, Henry Knight, and Maureen Hammond of the Auburn Hills City Council.


The BAC would like to thank everyone involved in the event and would encourage the participation of all residents and businesses in next year’s program.  Together, we make the City of Auburn Hills not only a beautiful place we enjoy but a sought after destination that encourages growth and development.


Happy planting!

The Nets Are Down!

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

It may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a huge win for our community.  The ugly poles and nets were removed yesterday at the Evolution Sportsplex located at 141 S. Opdyke.

Why is this such a big deal?  Well, back in 1984 an outdoor golf driving range was built on the site.  Soon after a mobile home park was developed on the property adjacent to it.  The result was the unintended land use conflict of golfers hitting balls through or over the netting into the neighborhood.  The balls were damaging property and endangering people on a regular basis.  Not good at all!  The issue hit a boiling point in 2003/2004 when the City Council held a series of public hearings and seriously considered revoking the driving range permit.  Operations improved after the crisis, but the activity remained a nuisance for the adjacent neighborhood.





In May 2012, the property was sold to Randy Stephens who has been working to develop it into a premier indoor sports training facility for soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and football utilizing the existing dome.  He operated the controversial outdoor range to supplement his revenue stream, but as you can imagine the issues continued.  Then, this past April the dome was destroyed in a big storm.  It was a devastating event for this small business owner.  Seeing what was happening, the City of Auburn Hills stepped in to help (read more by clicking here).

Over the past four months, the City has worked closely with Mr. Stephens to shut down and remove the outdoor range, and its associated nets and poles, in an effort to be a good neighbor.  We also worked as a team, in consultation with the mobile home park, to help improve Mr. Stephen’s business with a new, larger dome.  Weather permitting, the new dome is expected to be installed by Thanksgiving.  Now, the troublesome problem is no more and the business will flourish.





It’s amazing what open communication can accomplish.  A win-win for all.


Ditto … Thank You! Thank You!

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

On the sun-filled Saturday morning of September 20th, a small band of 10 volunteers worked together to improve the conditions of the half mile stretch of the Clinton River from River Woods Park to the Skate Park, along with a smaller segment flowing along Riverside Park.


Additional clean-up efforts were made by two of the day’s youngest volunteers and their mother in and around the picnic and play area at River Woods Park.


The labors of this dedicated bunch resulted in the removal of ten bags of garbage; the clearing of many branches, limbs, two wooden pallets, a bike frame, and an assortment other debris.


In addition to improving the environment, the time, sweat and efforts put in that day helped improve the quality of life for the entire community.  This was no better demonstrated than when a pair of kayakers paddled by during the event and said … “Thank You!, Thank You!”  They were very appreciative of everyone’s efforts and dedication to keeping the Clinton River clean.


So, the City of Auburn Hills wishes to also say a heart-felt thank you to these hard-working clean-up volunteers.  We’re very grateful for their efforts and service.



Welcome Christy!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

The Community Development Department is excited to welcome our newest team member, Christy Worrell.  Christy, a resident of Auburn Hills, has been an employee of the City for over 16 years.  She served most recently in the Emergency Services Department and prior to that she worked in our Treasurer’s Office.

Our new clerk Christy Worrell

Our new clerk Christy Worrell

She’s now a valuable part of the City’s team that facilitates the development review and permitting processes.  She will work directly with our customers to help provide the “radical hospitality” that the City of Auburn Hills is known for.

Welcome, Christy.  We’re very happy to have you on board!

Taking A Look Back, Before Moving Forward

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Last week, the Auburn Hills Planning Commission took action to start the process of amending the City’s overall Master Land Use Plan.  It’s the board’s duty to review this living document every five years.

The City updates this plan every five years

The City updates this plan every five years

For the past 15 years, the Planning Commission has developed a very unique and successful planning style.  The group updates a brochure format master plan every five years as a guiding document for the whole City, then conducts targeted studies in areas facing growth and change annually.

It’s an excellent planning process because it helps the City obtain input from people on issues that impact them directly, thus helps both the Planning Commission and the City Council make better land use and infrastructure decisions.

In preparing for the next five years, the Commission took a look back at the past five years.  Since mid-2009, they have reviewed 53 development projects and facilitated the following planning and zoning efforts:

Lastly, the group’s efforts have been recognized by the Michigan Association of Planning with two awards for excellence.  The City of Auburn Hills received the best planning project award for the Riverwalk Master Plan in 2010 and the best planning practice award for the Electric Vehicle Readiness Project in 2013.

Can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.