Planning Commission To Review Master Land Use Plan Update

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Have you noticed?  The Auburn Hills Planning Commission is on top of their game.  They’re always busy meeting with residents, reviewing projects, and planning for the future.  Tonight will be no different for them.

In addition to reviewing a grant application for a new park, this citizen board will take action on the first of many steps required by State law to update the City’s Master Land Use Plan.

Draft Master Land Use Plan Update

It is also fitting that tonight the Planning Commission will celebrate Shawn Keenan’s recent promotion to City Planner.  Our first planner, consultant Steve Lehoczky, recommended the City’s unique Master Land Use Plan format almost 40 years ago.  We’re not aware of any other municipality that uses the same style.  Lehoczky’s plan format allowed the City to quickly adapt to changing development trends in the 1980’s and 1990’s by dividing the community into three simple, flexible classifications.  It was an innovative, outside the box idea at the time and still works for our community today.

Interested in learning more?  The Planning Commission will meet tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Robert W. Grusnick Public Safety Building, which is located at 1899 N. Squirrel Road.  All are welcome to attend.

Grant Sought To Convert Former Country Kitchen Into New City Park

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner and Brian Marzolf, Recreation Director

A public hearing has been scheduled by the Auburn Hills Planning Commission/Recreation Commission for Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Robert W. Grusnick Public Safety Building, which is located at 1899 N. Squirrel Road, regarding the City’s consideration of a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant application to assist with the funding of a potential new park along the Clinton River.

The site where the proposed Kayak Point Park (name under consideration) is planned is the former Country Kitchen restaurant property, which is located at the northeast corner of Opdyke Road and Auburn Road.

The City obtained the property from Oakland County as the result of tax foreclosure in July 2017.  The entire site is situated within a federally designated floodway and flood hazard zone, which makes converting the land into a park a natural transition.  In accordance with the goals of the City Council, the project will also help beautify and improve that section of the Opdyke Road corridor.

The grant application includes many features that will take advantage of the site’s placement along the Clinton River, which are the following:

  • New access point to the Clinton River for recreational use
  • Kayak and canoe launch
  • Riverfront/access for fishing
  • Wildlife/river viewing areas
  • Pathways and nature trails
  • Entrance drive for vehicles from Auburn Road
  • Picnic shelter with seating
  • River wayfinding and safety signage
  • LED and solar site lighting
  • Landscaping with native plants/grasses and rock

This project has the full support of eleven organizations including: DNR Fisheries, SEMCOG, Oakland County Department of Economic Development and Planning, Clinton River Watershed Council, City of Rochester Hills, local businesses, and nearby property owners.

Those wishing to learn more about the proposal are welcome to attend the meeting and provide comments.  The proposed grant application may be examined in advance of the meeting during regular business hours at the Auburn Hills Community Center.

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.