Shawn Keenan Promoted To City Planner

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We’re pleased to announce that Shawn Keenan has been promoted to the role of City Planner.  He has served as our Assistant City Planner since 2014.

City Planner Shawn Keenan

Shawn began his career with Auburn Hills as the City’s Water Resources Coordinator in 2002.  Since that time, Shawn was awarded the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) designation, which is the mark of a professional urban planner.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Law and Government and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University.  In recent years, Shawn has served as an advisor to the Planning Commission and will continue to do so moving forward in his expanded role.

Congrats Shawn!

Promising Visions Of The Age-Friendly City Of The Future

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development and Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

Don’t worry about the future folks.  We just met some really smart kids who are going to help us experience the “good life” as we age.

On Monday, we had the unique opportunity to serve as judges at the 2018 Michigan Regional Future City Competition in Novi.  The event was sponsored by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD).  The mission of the ESD is to encourage young people to become the next generation of scientists and technical professionals.  Our colleagues Tim Juidici and Jessica Katers at OHM (our city’s consulting engineers) connected us to the program.

In preparation for the competition, engineers and teachers worked for many weeks with sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade student teams from local schools to design and build a city of the future.  Each team had a $100 budget and were required to use recycled materials.  Each city needed to display residential, commercial, and industrial areas; power plants; subways; roads; and power distribution networks.  Also, the cities were required to be energy-efficient, while supplying enough energy for their residents.  Other considerations were pollution levels, traffic density, police and fire protection, recreation, and cost efficiency.  30 teams participated in the completion.

This year’s challenge asked participants to “identify an age-related challenge that exists in today’s urban environments and engineer two innovative solutions that allow their future city’s senior citizens to be as active and independent as they want to be.”

Before the New Year, we reviewed some team essays, and on Monday we judged the physical scale model and verbal presentations for several of the teams.  It was fun to listen to and observe the future visions these young people created.

Michigan’s future looks bright!  We look forward to the opportunity to judge this competition again in the future.

The HUB Stadium Proposes “To Get The Word Out” With Upgraded Sign

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The HUB Stadium (Home of Urban Bowling) has submitted plans to retrofit and upgrade its existing sign at the southeast corner of Opdyke Road and Takata Drive.  The “football-bowling” entertainment venue is located at 2550 Takata Drive.

The HUB has been an excellent addition to our community.  The owner wishes to add a high-tech LED automatic changeable copy component to the existing sign so that his business can better “get the word out” about their many specials, events, and unique offerings … like axe throwing!

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the following meetings, which will all begin at 7:00 p.m. and be held in the City Council Chamber at City Hall:

  1. Zoning Board of Appeals – Thursday, December 14, 2017 (public hearing / review of the height variance for the proposed automatic changeable copy sign)
  2. Planning Commission – Wednesday, January 10, 2018 (public hearing / review and recommendation to the City Council on the proposed automatic changeable copy sign)
  3. City Council – Monday, January 22, 2018 (review and final decision on the proposed automatic changeable copy sign)

New Houses Sprout Up in Forester Hills

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

We’re pleased to see that the first six, newly constructed homes in Forester Hills are already occupied, and six more homes are under construction.  It’s no surprise that the homes were occupied so quickly because they fill a renewed demand for mid-sized, single-family homes.

Forster Hills meets this demand by building ranch and split-level homes, ranging in size from 1,530 to 2,236 sq. ft. – the perfect size for a starter home or empty-nesters looking for a smaller home with several “age-friendly” amenities.

Other features that make Forester Hills so attractive is, you guessed it, location, location, location.  Being located on the west side of Old Adams Road means all the homes are in the Avondale School District, within walking distance of both River Woods Park and the Clinton River Rail Trail, within a 90-second drive to Downtown Auburn Hills and close to shopping.

It will be no surprise to see the six homes currently under construction, occupied shortly.

Fischer Automotive Systems Plans Building Expansion

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

An application has been submitted by Fischer Automotive Systems to expand their existing facilities located at 1044 and 1084 Doris Road.

The plans call for a 43,266 square foot building addition that will connect their two existing buildings to create more office, manufacturing and warehouse space.  The larger facility, approximately 104,000 sq. ft. will accommodate the company’s future growth and room to house an additional 100 new employees.   The existing parking lot wil be expaded to the vacant parcel to the east of their building located at 1044 Doris Road.

Illustrated Site Plan

The estimated total investment in the project is $5.1 million.  Construction is expected to begin in October 2017 with completion planned for December 2018.

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

City To Rezone Oakland County’s Animal Shelter Property

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 rezoning proposal, along with The Palace of Auburn Hills redevelopment study and rezoning, is an excellent example of the City Council, Planning Commission, and staff working together to implement that vision.

Oakland County will soon close their Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center located at 1700 Brown Road and relocate operations to a new facility in the City of Pontiac.  The County’s imminent move initiated the City preparing for this zoning map change from R-1, One-Family Residential District to I-1, Light Industrial District.

Last month, the Planning Commission adopted an amendment to the City’s Master Land Use Plan that changed the land use classification of the 40.8 acre property from public to non-residential to facilitate the rezoning per State law.

1700 Brown Road is currently zoned residential. Shown as green color on the map above.

The proposed zoning change will set in motion a plan of action to place the tax exempt property on the assessing rolls, which will create new property tax revenue and jobs upon development.  Oakland County anticipates selling the property in the future to allow it to be redeveloped into one or more industrial building sites.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 16th 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 28th.

Yay! Auburn Hills Wins Prestigious Urban Planning Award

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development and Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

We’re thrilled to report that the City of Auburn Hills has been selected to receive the 2017 Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice by the Michigan Association of Planning for its work on its Age Friendly Action Plan.

The nomination was reviewed by a jury of American Planning Association – Florida Chapter professionals who indicated that the Age Friendly Action Plan was an “exemplary, well-documented effort to provide an opportunity for the community to have conversations about the needs of an aging population.” 

Auburn Hills will receive the award at the Michigan Association of Planning’s annual conference on September 27, 2017 at the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island.  

We’re grateful for the support of AARP, our City Council and Planning Commission, and the many volunteers and staff that assisted with this initiative.  Most importantly, we’re appreciative of all those who attended the community meetings and provided valuable input that went into the plan.

The Michigan Association of Planning also recognized the City of Auburn Hills last year for Best Practice for our Industrial Property Analysis and in 2013 for our Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Readiness Project. 

Auburn Hills plans to build on this recognition and incrementally improve the quality of life for our seniors over time, which will naturally make our community a friendlier and more accessible place for all.  That sounds like a really good plan.