For Oakland Township, It’s Déjà Vu
Moceri, rezoning, referendum: We've been here before
Four years after new leadership was voted onto the Oakland Township Board of Trustees, largely because of a controversial development proposed by Dominic Moceri, it’s all happening again.
In August, five new members were elected to the board of trustees, largely on the strength of opposition to a proposed senior-housing development known as Blossom Ridge. With just about a month until the newcomers take their seats, the outgoing board decided Oct. 9 on a 4-3 vote to hold off on a special request for the project, opting instead to wait until the referendum process plays out.
Township Manager Jim Creech said last week that petition signatures have been submitted and were being reviewed by the clerk’s office. He said he expects the matter to be on the Feb. 26 ballot, the next available election date. If it is, voters will have the final say on whether Blossom Ridge is built.
As currently proposed, Creech said, Blossom Ridge calls for one aggregate, three-story building containing 30 units of assisted living, surrounded by condo-style units of independent living on 42 acres at the northwest corner of Adams and Dutton roads. The developer has received a rezoning to multiple residential and asked for a special accommodation use because the units are all for senior citizens.
Residents say the development is too large, too dense, will create traffic and put pressure on the township’s emergency services. These are largely the same objections voiced against Moceri’s Harvest Corners mixed-use development, which was proposed in the area of Clarkston, Stoney Creek and Lake George roads. The township board’s approval of that development was overturned by voter referendum in 2007.
In both cases, rezonings that allow for increased density have been at the heart of residents’ ire. Township trustee Mike Bailey said that though the proposed Blossom Ridge site is one of three identified for senior housing in the township, Moceri received permission for higher density, a larger building and one story taller than the multiple-residential zoning allows. The appearance of the large building, and the ability to provide emergency services to the third floor, are concerns, he said.
“The residential multiple zoning precludes a three-story building in the township,” Bailey said. “It would be the first three-story building in the township.”
Bailey said the request for a special accommodation use was improper and an attempt by Moceri to stifle the referendum.
“The referendum simply has to run its course,” he said. Blossom Ridge “is currently approved, subject to referendum.”