Churches and Seniors and Chickens, Oh My!

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission is looking forward to a good and informative meeting tomorrow – Tuesday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m. – in the Council Chamber.

This dedicated group of residents is scheduled to address the following topics:

1.  Review a proposal to redevelop the vacant office building located at 2240 N. Opdyke Road.  As discussed in my previous blog – A Few Can Make A Big Impact – the Community Impact Church plans to convert the building into their permanent home.

Potential Senior Housing Project

2.  Dawn Foulke with Shire Retirement Communities will informally share her vision of constructing assisted living facilities for the elderly in a few locations within Auburn Hills.

Her concept is unique and different from other senior housing products in the market in that each complex is small and designed for only about 20 residents.  No formal action will be taken.

3.  Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator will introduce the growing trend of chicken keeping in residential backyards.  Over the next few months, the Planning Commission will proactively investigate whether or not the City should change its laws to allow this land use.  We have found that this issue has two opposing sides: a) those citizens who want to keep chickens for egg production; and b) those citizens who are concerned about the nuisances the chickens may cause; such as noise, smells, diseases, and the potential for the animals to run loose in yards.

Planning for Urban Chicken Farming

There is a national debate between the two opposing sides as to the appropriateness of chickens in an urban environment and if chickens qualify as pets or livestock.

It is our goal to develop a well thought out backyard chicken ordinance, which strikes a balance – allowing citizens the right to keep chickens while also addressing the nuisance concerns of the neighbors.

4.  Lastly, we will start a discussion about the demographic changes occurring across the nation; with a specific emphasis on the aging of the population.  Last year, the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation reached age 65.  By 2030, more than 70 million Americans—twice the number in 2000 – will be 65 and older (nearly one in five people).   The Planning Commission plans to comprehensively review how to prepare the City of Auburn Hills for this oncoming wave of older adults.  Auburn Hills desires to be a “livable community” for all ages and we feel addressing this emerging trend is critical.

So, as you can see, the Planning Commission is working hard to “think ahead” and prepare the City for the future.   We encourage all who are interested in any of these topics to attend the meeting.   This is fun stuff!