Michigan Planners Recognize Greg Ouellette For Dedicated Service

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

It is a pleasure to work with people who demonstrate a passion and commitment to the City of Auburn Hills like Planning Commission Chairperson Greg Ouellette.

Planning Commission Chairperson Greg Ouellette

At the September 12th Planning Commission meeting, Greg was recognized for his achievement of being a 20-year member of the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP).  He became a member of MAP when he began serving on the Planning Commission in February 1998.  Yes, that’s right 1998!  In January 2009, Greg was selected by his peers on the Planning Commission to lead their meetings and serve as their Chairperson.

Greg has professionally represented the City during his 20 years of service, showing the utmost respect to both the citizens and businesses that have brought development related issues and proposals before the Board.  As a volunteer, he has built his knowledge base in planning and leadership by attending numerous training sessions provided by MAP and other organizations.

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission

Director of Community Development Steve Cohen and I concur with MAP’s recognition and appreciation for Greg’s long-term commitment and dedication to quality community planning and the City of Auburn Hills.  We feel very lucky to have him on our team.

Congrats Greg!  Thank you again for your leadership and service.

Parkways Boulevard Proposed To Be Extended To Auburn Road

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We wish to report that the City of Auburn Hills has initiated the process of changing the street name of Squirrel Court to Parkways Boulevard.  If approved by the City Council, the street name will not officially change until Squirrel Court is physically connected with Parkways Boulevard and open to the public for thru-traffic at the intersection of Squirrel Court and Tebeau Court.  The road connection is anticipated to be complete by Fall 2019.

Aerial map outlining the new east-west roadway to be named Parkways Boulevard.

As background, it has been the City’s long-term plan to create a new roadway, north of Auburn Road, from Downtown Auburn Hills to Adams Road.  The first segment of this new roadway, called Parkways Boulevard, was completed in 2015 adjacent to Adams Road.  The City is currently working with a developer on plans to extend Parkways Boulevard west to the intersection of Squirrel Court and Tebeau Court, thus ultimately connecting the road extension with Squirrel Court.  As a result, the street name for the entire length of Squirrel Court is proposed to be changed to Parkways Boulevard once the two streets are joined into one unified public roadway at Tebeau Court.

The City is proposing this street name change for public health and safety reasons as it would create a clear and continual street name for the new roadway from Auburn Road, near the City’s Riverside Park, to Adams Road once connected.  The selection of Parkways Boulevard as the new street name will assist with rapid property identification by first responders, along with providing improved traffic navigation for the general population.  Also, the “Parkways” street name is fitting as City parks are situated at both ends of the proposed unified roadway.

The street name and address changes would not occur until the roadway is connected and open at the intersection of Squirrel Court and Tebeau Court, which is anticipated in Fall 2019.

Those interested in providing comment or learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

Rollin’ With The Changes: August 15th Planning Commission Meeting Cancelled

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control and, just as the REO Speedwagon rock anthem wisely exclaims, you “… got to, got to roll with the changes.”

As a little background, the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act requires that notice must be published in a newspaper of general circulation not less than 15 days prior to the date of a public hearing.  Well, due to unforeseen circumstances, that required publication did not occur last week for the Planning Commission’s four public notices.

Since the legally required 15-day notification has not been met, the following four projects will NOT be reviewed by the Planning Commission on August 15th and have been rescheduled for their September 12th meeting:

  1. Autoliv Building and Parking Lot Expansion
  2. Residences at River Trail
  3. Genisys Credit Union – Changeable Copy Sign
  4. Rezoning of Oakland Community College and WMU-Cooley Law School Properties

As a result, the Planning Commission has cancelled their August 15th meeting.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 248-364-6900.

Creating An Age-Friendly Region

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development and Community Relations

The City of Auburn Hills was recently invited to give a presentation at Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) on what we have accomplished to help address the needs of the growing senior citizen population in our community.  We had the opportunity to interact with other communities who are just beginning their journey in this area.

My colleague Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services and I discussed how we are making Auburn Hills more accessible to everyone.  We want to be a city where ALL generations feel welcome.  When you are in the business of delivering services, it’s important to understand how those services change over time as it relates to demographic shifts.  Auburn Hills now has more seniors than school-aged kids in our community.

We outlined our work since joining the AARP’s Age-Friendly Network in 2013.  We talk about community engagement, our action plan, and the initiatives our Planning Commission and City Council are making a high priority for Auburn Hills.

An Age-Freindly Community Conversation

It was great to hear from the experts talk about the role of local government and why it is vital in creating an atmosphere where people can age in place.  We know we have work to do, but we are now in a better position to address this important issue.

City To Rezone Oakland Community College And Cooley Law School Land

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

A key strategic goal of the City Council is to proactively prepare underutilized properties for redevelopment.  This comprehensive rezoning proposal, along with The Palace of Auburn Hills redevelopment study and rezoning and the rezoning of the Oakland County Animal Shelter Property are excellent examples of the City Council, Planning Commission, and staff working together with private landowners to implement that vision.

In recent years, the City has participated in conversations with representatives from Oakland Community College and WMU-Cooley Law School regarding the re-use of their underutilized property located along Featherstone Road.  Due to significant demand for high-tech land in Auburn Hills that could accommodate corporate headquarters and R&D facilities, it was agreed by all parties that it would be prudent to conduct this rezoning.  The rezoning will allow additional land use flexibility in the redevelopment of the property, if so desired by Oakland Community College and WMU-Cooley Law School in the future.  New development would place the underutilized portions of these tax exempt properties on the assessing rolls, which will generate new property tax revenue and jobs.

The vision is to transform the underutilized land like this “sea of parking” along Featherstone Road into an attractive high-tech business park with corporate HQ and technical center buildings, greenspace, and trees

Thus, the City has initiated a rezoning application, as generally described below:

  1. The WMU-Cooley Law School property located at 2630 Featherstone Road (Sidwell No. 14-26-226-004) is proposed to be rezoned from SP, Special Purpose District to T&R, Technology and Research District.
  2. The Oakland Community College property located at 2900 Featherstone Road (Sidwell Nos. 14-26-226-006, 14-26-226-007, 14-25-101-005, and 14-25-101-004) is proposed to be rezoned from SP, Special Purpose District and O, Office District to T&R, Technology and Research District and I-1, Light Industrial District.

Lastly, it is noted that the rezoning will also facilitate the State permitting and construction of a digital billboard sign, previously approved by the City Council in January 2016, on Oakland Community College’s CREST Center property adjacent to M-59.

Mock-up rendering of the billboard sign adjacent to M-59 previously approved by the City Council

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 15th Wednesday, September 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated to be made by the City Council on Monday, August 27th Monday, September 24th.

Rochester Soccer Club Property Proposed To Be Rezoned

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

An application has been submitted to the City of Auburn Hills by the Rochester Soccer Club (RSC) to rezone their 29.4 acre property located at 3200 Dutton Road from R-1A, One-Family Residential District to T&R, Technology and Research District.

View of the RSC property from Dutton Road

The rezoning proposal is intended to implement the policy recommendations of the Northeast Corner Neighborhood Master Plan (2016).  RSC is contemplating two primary options for the long-term use of their property.  Both options listed below are consistent with the City’s Master Plan, and the T&R zoning district.

Option A:  The property remains as a training complex for RSC.  Over the next 2 to 3 years, RSC intends to explore the viability of adding an indoor practice facility and a lighted outdoor turf field in the future.

Option B:  The property is exchanged and redeveloped for corporate R&D facilities, or other similar land uses permitted under the T&R zoning district.

Please note that the above long-term development options will not be decided at the upcoming meeting and are subject to change.

Aerial photo showing the location of the RSC property

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated by the City Council on Monday, June 25th.

Informational Meeting To Be Held On Downtown Road Construction

Posted by – Samantha Seimer, Director of Authorities

The City of Auburn Hills will be holding a public informational meeting regarding the road and utility construction scheduled for Downtown Auburn Hills over the summer.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m. at the University Center, which is located at 3350 Auburn Road.

There will be a presentation regarding the improvements, anticipated timelines of completion, and construction phasing.  City representatives and the selected contractor will be available to answer questions at the conclusion of the meeting.

Downtown Auburn Hills

Here are some quick project facts about the project and frequently asked questions:

  1. What is the anticipated timeline for the construction work?  Construction is scheduled to begin the first week of April and be complete by November 2018.
  2. When will the contractors be working?  Construction activities will take place weekdays, weather permitting. Work on weekends may occur and some night work may be required to make connections to the new water main without disrupting normal business operating hours.
  3. Will the road remain open during construction?  Traffic and local access will be maintained throughout the project.  At the least, one lane of traffic will be open along Squirrel Court and Auburn Road.  There are no scheduled road closures.  Additionally, all sidewalks and off-street parking will be open during construction.
  4. How will I be notified of construction activities?  Each week there will be a construction update meeting open to the public and hosted Downtown. Updates will be posted on the City’s website, as well as social media.  Please contact me, Sam Seimer, at 248-364-6806 with any questions or concerns you may have during the project.

All interested are encouraged to attend this informational meeting.