Working to Get Better

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

What are your core values?  Every successful person and organization has guiding principles which shape them.  We’re lucky to have excellent leadership from our Mayor, City Council, and City Manager who have set clear direction on how City staff should administratively operate.

A number of us at the City have informally adopted some core values that are intended to help make Auburn Hills a better place.   Our team met this morning to discuss how to better serve our leaders and the public.  We thought it would be good to share these ideals.


1.   Customer Service.  We strive to serve people both within and outside our organization.  It’s important to provide the best possible experience for others.  We look at how great companies like Disney, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Four Seasons Hotels, and Nordstrom treat their customers and in turn work to do the same.

We intentionally work to:

  • Foster relationships
  • Go above and beyond
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Be prompt
  • Always innovate

2.  Excellence.   Have a can do attitude!   Deliver municipal services in a way that meets and exceed people’s expectations.

3.  Team Chemistry.  Take care of each other in our respective Departments, take care of others in the organization, take care of our leaders on the City Council and public boards.  Honor them, serve them.

Sometimes we fall short of these ideals, but we always strive to do well and represent the people of Auburn Hills with distinction.   It’s important for us to leave a legacy and make a difference … and that’s what we plan to do.

What’s Going On Near Red Ox?

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

If you have not already noticed, there has been some construction activity going on along the north side Walton Boulevard between the Red Ox Tavern and St. John Fisher Chapel.  Well it’s not a new development, as it may appear, but an infrastructure improvement project headed up by the City of Auburn Hills.

Photo 2

The project involves upsizing and relocating a section of the sanitary sewer line that runs adjacent to the McPherson Drain.  Once the project is completed the new sewer line will provide greater capacity for current and future users and it will be easier for the City to maintain.

It’s forward thinking infrastructure improvement projects like this that enable Auburn Hills to provide high quality, uninterrupted service to the community.  We thought you might want to know about it.

The Zoning Problem Solvers!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Do you know these people?  They’re the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and this important group provides a critical service for our community.

It’s the ZBA’s job to interpret the City’s Zoning Ordinance, decide appeals to administrative decisions, and grant exceptions.  Zoning standards are applied, in Michigan and across the country, to hundreds and thousands of parcels of land.  Due to unique conditions and characteristics of individual properties, it is nearly impossible to write zoning standards so that they can be universally enforced.  To provide relief in usual circumstances, each municipality needs a group like this.

Zoning Board of Appeals (from left to right) Robert Luttermoser, Henry Knight, Trina Burrell, Greg Ouellette, Robert Waltenspiel and Building Official, Jeff Spencer

Zoning Board of Appeals (from left to right) Robert Luttermoser, Henry Knight, Trina Burrell, Greg Ouellette, Robert Waltenspiel and Building Official/City Staff Liaison, Jeff Spencer

Mayor Kevin McDaniel and our City Council appoint five members to the ZBA, all of whom are City residents.   The City’s ZBA members are Robert Luttermoser, Chairperson; Greg Ouellette, Secretary and Planning Commission Liaison; Henry Knight, City Council Liaison; Trina Burrell and Robert Waltenspiel.

We’re very grateful for this dedicated group of volunteers who meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month, as needed, to help interpret our Zoning Ordinance and make these often complex determinations at our local level.


Get Your Gear for Summer

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Boardshorts?  Check.  Sandals?  Check.  Great outdoor gear?  Check, check, check!  Great Lakes Crossing Outlets welcomes Quiksilver to their retail lineup.


This premium brand, described as a youth lifestyle and culture clothing outfitter, is best known for their surf and ski wear.  It was made popular by star athletes including World Surfing Champion, Kelly Slater and the iconic X-Games Champion, Tony Hawk.  Similarly fashioned products from affiliated DC Shoes and Roxy are also sold in this location.  From surf and sand to mountains and snow, this store has you covered.


Quicksilver is open now in District 5, near Marshalls.  Check them out, get your gear and get outside.

Location Map



Why Us?

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Since the end of the Great Recession, automakers have been offering an increasing number of fuel-efficient vehicles in an effort to meet consumer demand and comply with Federal mandates.  A key market segment in this push is expected to be alternative fuel vehicles (e.g. plug-in electric, compressed natural gas, propane, and hydrogen fuel cell).  However, the industry faces huge challenges in making these products attractive for the average consumer primarily due to higher upfront costs and the lack of fueling infrastructure.  Most realists will tell you that mainstream adoption will be decades away.

So, until alternative fuel vehicles come down in price and places to refuel are more convenient, the automakers need leaders like the City of Auburn Hills to step up and demonstrate these prototypes in the real world so that future consumers can see their value.

The City’s Emergency Services Department uses a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe that was retrofitted to run on both propane and gasoline.  More vehicles bi-fuel vehicles will be delivered to the City this year.

The City’s Emergency Services Department uses a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe that was retrofitted to run on both propane and gasoline. More bi-fuel vehicles will be delivered to the City this year.

Experts at the Clean Energy Coalition have shown us that these vehicles typically cost less to operate during their life-cycle, than conventional vehicles.  Thus, after significant study, the City has elected to pay a little more upfront on the new technology in order to save a lot in the long run on fuel and maintenance costs.  Understanding that change takes time and these vehicles are in their infancy … Auburn Hills is forging ahead.

Why us?  Why not us?  We’re home to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.A. Headquarters and hundreds of high-tech auto suppliers.  The success of the auto industry has direct financial implications for Auburn Hills as it provides much of the tax revenue we use to build parks, put police officers on the street, and provide services for our seniors.

The desire to be a leader in this realm has been a part of the City Council’s plans for years.  In 2013, Auburn Hills became the first municipality in Michigan to adopt a resolution supporting the diversification of its fleet with alternative fuel vehicles in an effort to make a strong statement that it’s willing to “put its money where its mouth is” in terms of fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, and energy independence.

Wasting no time, the City has already begun to incorporate liquefied propane bi-fuel police pursuit vehicles and pick-up trucks, along with alternatively fueled lawn equipment, into its fleet in an effort to experience long-term cost savings and reduce emissions.  These new vehicles are expected to save Auburn Hills taxpayers over $100,000 in fuel and maintenance costs combined over the life cycle of these vehicles.  Next steps include adding compressed natural gas and plug-in electric vehicles in appropriate applications.

Being cutting edge is nothing new for Auburn Hills.  It’s not about being “green,” but about doing the right thing.  If we continue to demonstrate value, others will follow.


Crossfit Renovate Is Ready to Train You in Downtown Auburn Hills

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Are you ready for a really good workout?  Crossfit Renovate, a new company in Downtown Auburn Hills located at 70 South Squirrel Road, Unit X, can help you meet your training and fitness goals.

Friends and co-owners Matt Rutkowski and Darrell Whitney offer a no-nonsense approach to fitness training.  Where most gyms just offer a sea of machines, Crossfit Renovate opts not to use machines, but to build them instead.

Matt 2

Matt explains that “utilizing your own body, you work harder than you do on a machine”.  To that end, they offer Sports Training, 1-on-1 Training, Group Fitness, Group Classes and Boot Camps in a positive and supportive atmosphere.  All of the training is scalable, so anyone at any fitness level can do it.

For detailed information on classes and hours of operation, visit them online at www.crossfitrenovate.comMatt also invites you to call him directly at 586-354-4595 or email him at

So, check out this new local company right here in Downtown Auburn Hills.  They offer a great opportunity to get started on your fitness and training goals, just in time for summer.



What a Bunch of Losers …

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

LeaderToday was the first day of a new 12-week course of Weight Watchers at Work.  It meets every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Community Center here in Auburn Hills.  Our Weight Watchers Leader, Laura Fergle (see photo), has opened this session up to all comers whether they work for Auburn Hills or not.

Weight Watchers teaches logical, healthy eating and Laura guides us through portion control, nutrition and exercise techniques.  In the last 12-week cycle we lost a total of 130 pounds!  (Yours truly has lost over 20 pounds since starting last year.)

If you’d like to join us, contact Weight Watchers on line or call Margaret Leonard at 248-364-6792.  After all, what have you got to lose?