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.

They Wear Work Boots

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

My Dad often said to me, “Stevie, in order to leave footprints in the sands of time, you must wear work boots.”  My Dad is now gone, but his words still motivate me.

Perhaps that’s why I was so energized being with the Planning Commission this past Wednesday night.  I could not go to sleep when I got home after the meeting.  So much to do, so many possibilities.

The Planning Commission created an ambitious work plan for Y2017 during their marathon four-hour study session.  We are so thankful for them.

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission and Staff (12-14-16)

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission and Staff (12-14-16)

This dedicated group of volunteers work with a clear mission.  They give up their nights and spend well over one hundred hours annually reviewing projects and planning issues so that the City of Auburn Hills will be strong in the future.

What will they do next year?  Below are just a few of their assignments:

  • Inventory the remaining vacant and underutilized land in Auburn Hills (including the Palace of Auburn Hills property) and provide recommendations on how those parcels should be redeveloped.   The City Council has set this project as a 2017 goal for the community.
  • Work with Senior Services Director Karen Adcock to make policy and ordinance recommendations to the City Council to implement the City’s 2015 Age Friendly Action Plan.
  • Create a plan of action, study, and work with the City Council to implement policies and ordinances addressing student housing.
  • Begin updates to the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Master Land Use Plan, and Parks and Recreation Plan.
  • Hold public hearings and review an anticipated 20+ private development projects.

Yes, the Planning Commission has put on … and laced up tight … their work boots so that they can leave footprints in the sands of time.  It’s exciting that Assistant City Planner Shawn Keenan and I get to work shoulder to shoulder with this group to assist them with their mission.

As I tried to get some sleep in the early hours of Thursday morning, all I could think of was, “It just can’t get any better than this!”  The bar has been set.  Let the work begin.

Planning Commission Meets Tonight

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Plan originally adopted in April 2001

Plan originally adopted in April 2001

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission meets tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  The group intends to publicly review the following items:

  1. A site plan for a new 75,050 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution facility for Korean-based Shield Material Handing (learn more).
  2. An amendment to the Northeast Corner Neighborhood Master Plan to allow a residential open space conservation development called Villa Montage at a density of up to 3.2 homes per acre, in lieu of the City’s current policy for the area of 2.5 homes per acre (learn more).
  3. The draft Y2014-2015 annual report (learn more).

All are welcome to attend.

Who’s Laura Ochs?

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Who’s Laura Ochs?  Well, she’s the newest member of the Auburn Hills Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission is a citizen board made up of nine residents appointed by the Mayor and City Council.  They’re essentially volunteers (receive a very small stipend) who serve as a “sounding board” for the City Council by holding public hearings for land use and zoning proposals.  Their most important role is to create a future development vision for the City.

Laura is a 17-year resident who lives on Bald Mountain Road in the Northeast Corner Neighborhood.  She currently serves as the Program Director for the School of Radiation Therapy at William Beaumont Hospital and is the acting chair for five separate committees related to Radiation Therapy.  She continues to show her dedication to her field and future generations by sharing her passion, knowledge, and hands on experience with students by serving as a guest lecturer at Oakland University.

Laura Ochs - Newest Member of the Auburn Hills Planning Commission

Laura Ochs – Newest Member of the Auburn Hills Planning Commission

Heck, we know Laura Ochs!  She’s no stranger to us.  She’s been active in the planning and zoning issues discussed in her neighborhood for many years and is well-respected.  Her demonstrated commitment to the City of Auburn Hills coupled with her diverse experience in the medical field will bring another perspective to the Planning Commission, which will make them ever better.

Welcome Laura!

Taking A Look Back, Before Moving Forward

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Last week, the Auburn Hills Planning Commission took action to start the process of amending the City’s overall Master Land Use Plan.  It’s the board’s duty to review this living document every five years.

The City updates this plan every five years

The City updates this plan every five years

For the past 15 years, the Planning Commission has developed a very unique and successful planning style.  The group updates a brochure format master plan every five years as a guiding document for the whole City, then conducts targeted studies in areas facing growth and change annually.

It’s an excellent planning process because it helps the City obtain input from people on issues that impact them directly, thus helps both the Planning Commission and the City Council make better land use and infrastructure decisions.

In preparing for the next five years, the Commission took a look back at the past five years.  Since mid-2009, they have reviewed 53 development projects and facilitated the following planning and zoning efforts:

Lastly, the group’s efforts have been recognized by the Michigan Association of Planning with two awards for excellence.  The City of Auburn Hills received the best planning project award for the Riverwalk Master Plan in 2010 and the best planning practice award for the Electric Vehicle Readiness Project in 2013.

Can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.

Another Great Year

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The City of Auburn Hills is required to report the activities of its Planning Commission annually per State law.  It’s a good thing.  The group does an amazing job!

Their report, which was adopted on August 21st, is intended to coincide with the City Council’s review of the municipal budget so that sufficient monies are allocated for future planning studies and training; which is why the activities reported range from June 2013 to May 2014.

We would encourage you to take a moment and check out their work by clicking here … 2013-2014 Planning Commission Annual Report.  It was another great year.

PC photo

 

 

Downtown Auburn Hills Scores Exciting New Project

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The Auburn Hills Planning Commission is scheduled to review a major new private development at their meeting tonight.  The $10 million mixed use, urban loft project planned in Downtown Auburn Hills is generating a lot of excitement in the community.

Rendering of the River's Edge of Auburn Hills (view looking south at the corner)

Rendering of the River’s Edge of Auburn Hills (view looking south at the corner)

The Planned Unit Development (PUD) project called River’s Edge of Auburn Hills, proposed by Burton-Katzman, LLC, will be located at the southwest corner of Auburn and Squirrel Roads.  The development will consist of a four-story building with approximately 9,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, 21 loft style apartment units on the second and third floors, and 10 two-bedroom apartments units on the fourth floor.

Layout of the project located at the southwest corner of Auburn and Squirrel Roads

Layout of the project located at the southwest corner of Auburn and Squirrel Roads

The public hearing on the project will be held tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  All are welcome to attend.

If recommended for approval by the Commission, the City Council will then vote on the plan on February 3rd.  Assuming Council’s approval is granted, River’s Edge of Auburn Hills is slated to begin construction this summer and be complete by Fall 2015.