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Letter: Residents Ask for Support for Referendum Opposing Blossom Ridge

These Oakland Township residents outline their case for opposing the Blossom Ridge development and say why they feel residents should sign the referendum petition.

Signing the Referendum Petition opposing Blossom Ridge, the proposed senior housing development, is in the best interest of the registered voters of Oakland Township. We know who the developer and applicant is, but we do not know who the owner or operator of Blossom Ridge is going to be.

Public Housing?

There are approximately 150 companies that operate/own/control senior housing developments in the U.S. The top 50 companies own/operate/control almost 500,000 living units.  Some of them have good reputations, some don’t . There is nothing to prevent these companies from turning such facilities  into quasi-public multiple housing units subject to a multitude of Government regulations, many of which defy common sense.

Traffic Nightmares?

The single family homes that could and should be built on the 42 acre parcel would result in 183 motor vehicles (3 per home). By comparison, there would be 400+ motor vehicles generated by the 154 living units in the three story building, the 84 cluster/duplex units located on the site and the 100-120 employees/independent contractors working there on a daily basis. Also, parking lots would have to provide for at least 400-500 vehicles including those belonging to visiting friends and relatives of the residents. Do we want a five lane Adams Road and another traffic light ?

Does the Open Space Include the Parking Lots and the Streets?

The claimed 53% of open space includes wetlands which cannot be built on any way and it likely includes lawns and landscaped areas and maybe even paved areas. In a comparison to the 61 home subdivision allowed on the parcel, one must include rather than exclude the front and back yards of each home.

Tax Revenue?

More tax revenue really should not even be considered in any comparison. If otherwise, we should have more Commercial and Industrial zoning. One hundred twenty two more children from the 61 home subdivision is not going to burden the Rochester Schools.

Greater Fire Safety Costs, Etc.

Either use would likely still result in a 3rd fire station which is already under consideration . The other two are in Goodison and on North Rochester Road. The proposed 3 story building which would be 1 ½ football fields in horizontal length (450 feet), would likely cause a much greater increase in fire safety costs and the development itself  would produce an  estimated additional 180 emergency calls per year. And yes, bigger buildings often mean bigger fires.

Shortage of Senior Housing?

There is no shortage of senior housing in the Rochester area. There are in fact 8 such developments in Rochester Hills and 2 in the City of Rochester. Many seniors living in big houses down size to single story ranch style homes or ground floor condos. There are hundreds of such homes/condos available in Oakland Township, Rochester Hills, Rochester and Shelby Township.

Multiple changes in the zoning ordiance and master plan!

Two stories high would change to three stories high, minimum square footage in living units would change from 800 to 650 square feet, living unit density would increase from 3-5 to 6.2 per acre, maximum horizontal length of a building would increase from 135 feet to 450 feet, etc.

Negative Impact on the single family homes in the area

We, as senior residents of Oakland Township, sincerely believe that Blossom Ridge would destroy the single family home character of the area around this 42 acre parcel. Our Township is about large residential lots, several parks, not many subdivisions, wildlife, clean water, good, deep, cold water wells, lots of unpaved roads, some golf courses, good schools, no gas stations, and not so much traffic. It is not about cramming seniors into 154 undersized rental apartments, nor is it about turning Adams Road into a 5 lane highway. We are a unique and friendly community in many ways and most of us want to keep it that way.

Please sign the Referendum Petition which opposes the Blossom Ridge Development and vote against The Blossom Ridge Development when the referendum is on the ballot .

Sincerely yours,

Francis and Marlene Hugues, Peter and Carolyn Fontana, Richard and Gretechen Dietz, Alvin and Phyllis Andrus, and Eugene Beres
Oakland Township residents

Have something to say? Send letters to the editor to clare.ramsey@patch.com. Or contribute to our Local Voices section.

Joan M. Buser September 19, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I served as Oakland Township Supervisor for 17 years. We currently live on Hilton Head Island, but plan to return to return to Oakland Township in the next few years, but that will only be possible if there exists a facility such as Blossom Ridge. It is reasonable to assume we will need some sort of assistance when we are in our 80's. To buy a home and hire home care, would be financially impossible for us, and probably for many other seniors, .
Joan M. Buser September 19, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Joan M. Buser (continued) I never thought I would not be wanted in Oakland Township. In my retirement years, we can't afford a large home on a large lot. Is this really the only type of people that are welcome in Oakland Township? Is this the Oakland Township where I lived for 40 years? We never attempted to keep people out then. Don't pretend you are concerned about traffic. A single family home generates 17 vehicle trips per day, having an average of 3 cars per home. A senior residence generally has only 1 car per home. We are not driving children around. We don't have the energy to go out 17 times a day. Many places we would drive to are provided for us in the retirement community. We should not be unwanted because our apartments might be smaller than your houses. It is rediculous to think Blossom Ridge might become government housing. Why are you not worried that your large mansions will be turned into "group homes for handcapped people?" I AM THOROUGHLY DISGUSTED WITH THE NEST OF VIPERS WHO ARE SPEARHEADING THIS PETITION. I pray that this group does not represent the majority of people who live in Oakland Township. I worked for 17 years to make Oakland Township a desirable place to live. Where are the good people who once lived in Oakland Township. LETS HEAR YOUR VOICES!
Jim Foulkrod September 19, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Joan, It's wonderfull to hear your voice on this issue. You did more than serve Oakland Township. You led the cause of respect for the environment by creating our Wetlands Ordinance, Tree Ordinance and the many regulations that have required the development of spacious, high quality neighborhoods. The arguments made by the authors are specious and, in many cases, purely wrong on the facts. People circulating the petition have, when encountering a supporter of Blossom Ridge, lied and said that signing the petition means you are in favor of the project. Residents, please do not believe what you are told when these people come to your door. I join Joan in saying to those who understand the value of good government - LETS HEAR YOUR VOICES!
Concerned September 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I feel the need to address Ms. Buser' comment since I feel it is inaccurate and does not portray the intent of the petition drive. Seniors are certainly welcome in the township and many live here in their own homes that suit their needs well. What is not welcome is a development that will eclipse the surrounding subdivisions, be three stories high and 450 feet long. Also what is causing a great concern and is not welcome is a developer who refuses to state if the units will be purchased or rented and whether the development will be sold off in the future like has been done to lots in the subdivisions he developed.
Concerned September 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Mr. Foulkrod, If I may I wanted to ask you a question directly and please be advised it is truly just about gathering knowledge of how the process works. Since you are a member of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals are you required to disclose for the record in your own voice the contributions you received from the developer for your campaign. I am aware this is not illegal but is there no policy on record that addresses what I consider an ethical issue. Thank you for your time.
Jim Foulkrod September 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Required or not I'll make that disclosure prior to any agenda item where it is pertinent. I would have last night at ZBA had the agenda item not been withdrawn.
Steven Hanley September 19, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Let the democratic process work. If people truly feel their thoughts, opinions and concerns were not addressed by our political officials then take it to the polls. Voting for or against this development will ensure community opinion is clearly pervaded.
Marty Rosalik September 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Mr. Foulkrod I take personal offense to your accusation of circulators lying in order to obtain signatures. I am one. Lies are NOT necessary. My next door neighbor and friend of almost 40 years is a supporter of the project. He makes very compelling arguments for it. He and his wife both signed! Why? So the whole township would have a chance to vote on the zoning. Nothing more. Nothing less. Many believe and have believed that our local elected representatives have stopped listening to us. Now the developer has begun to “paper” the township with his advertisements. That is his right. A petition challenge is expected and I believe that the group is ready for it. No lies are needed. Just an explanation that this is a vote on Ordinance 16 provisions up or down. Frankly, nobody needs to lie. Now circle the wagons for the election.
Joan M. Buser September 20, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Joan Buser Mr. or Mrs. Concerned So you feel that seniors are welcome in Oakland Township if they live in their own homes. Many seniors prefer living in senior developments, where assistance is available, where many amenities can be enjoyed, where they can continue to be active even after they can no longer drive. I have seen senior developments incorporated into subdivision settings. They are compatible with the surrounding areas, and do not detract from the other neighborhoods. I have never seen a senior development the quality of the proposed Blossom Ridge. Only the senior residences at the low end of the quality spectrum would rent their units, certainly not a senior residence the quality of Blossom Ridge. Seniors are protected by contracts that ensure their amenities will not be diminished if the project is sold. You moved to Oakland Township because it is a desirable place to live. I would like to move to a senior residence in Oakland Township because it is a desirable place to live. Would you deny me this choice?
francis P. Hughes September 20, 2012 at 11:50 PM
corkman Joan Buser, there have been many accomplishments by past township boards but when a township board ignores the opinion of the majority of the voting township residents on what should be a simple exercise of common sense, then the 4 trustee majority is at best arrogant and condescending and more likely absolutely wrong . We are not a nest of vipers as you state and we hope you find continuing happiness on Hilton Head Island.
CraigPenn September 21, 2012 at 03:03 AM
A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. ~George William Curtis It's tragic that patriotism and honest questioning of government is now being compared to a 'nest of vipers'. Would it interest you to know, Mrs. Buser, that Moceri's own Site Planner/Landscape Architect stated at a Planning Commission meeting earlier this month that he, himself, would probably not be able to afford to live in Blossom Ridge? What makes anybody with common sense think that this housing project will be "affordable" to everybody? Having parents who are in their 80's this would be very convenient, however, a 3-story building is completely out of character for the township. I am, in fact, all for a senior housing project at the site of Adams & Dutton - however, not at the expense of other properties' values, and not at the expense of the township character. Those of us who disagree with the board's decisions are patriots, madam, not vipers.
Beth September 21, 2012 at 03:31 AM
I think the "good people" of Oakland Township spoke loud and clear in the last election, Ms. Busar, as a number of board members were replaced. Why is it, in a representative republic, with a series of checks-and-balances, that a petition drive to bring a vote before the people would be opposed? Why resort to name-calling?
Concerned September 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Ms. Buser I wanted to respond to your last entry. I find it interesting that you state "Only the senior residences at the low end the quality spectrum would rent their units..." when the developer himself would not even commit if the units would be rented or purchased. Are you saying you have more insight into the project than the developer himself? Also you close by saying "Would you deny me this choice?". My question back to you is why would you deny the citizens the chance to vote on something that impacts them directly.
Joan M. Buser September 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Joan Buser, Those who endeavor to place a ballot proposal on a "special election", when the ballot proposal basically asks if voters want to discriminate against senior housing, are certainly not patriots. Those who would tend to vote at this irregular time would be those neighboring subdivision residents, who want large, fancy houses like theirs to built on that property. That doesn't sound patriotic to me, it sounds down right mean spirited and selfish.
Joan M. Buser September 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Joan Buser, Yes, I know a great deal about senior housing developments because my husband and I have visited many, many of them over the past seven years. I have found that you can not rent a unit in a quality development. The right to vote is not the right to discriminate, and that is exactly what the referendum seeks to accomplish.
Joan M. Buser September 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Joan Buser, This is not about affordable housing, but alternative housing opportunities. Anyone who seeks to live in Oakland Township must pay more to do so, because it is a very desirable place to live. What have you done for Oakland Township that makes you a patriot Mr. Penn? I know what I have done, and I stand proudly on my record.
Joan M. Buser September 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Joan Buser, to: corkman There is no way to back up your claim that the majority of residents are against Blossom Ridge. You can not draw the conclusion that board members were not re-elected because people were against Blossom Ridge. At a public meeting a large, vocal crowd can seem like the whole township, but rather, it usually represents a very narrow special interest group. Thank you for wishing me continuing happiness on Hilton Head Island. Unfortunately I will soon have to leave it for a few weeks.
Marty Rosalik September 22, 2012 at 01:08 AM
The linkage between a vote on bad zoning is far from discrimination. The extra large monolithic structure is just too out of place and too dense.
Joan M. Buser September 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Joan Buser Keep telling yourself that Marty. You'll sleep better.
Joan M. Buser September 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Joan Buser On what basis do you assume the majority of voting township residents are against Blossom Ridge? Elections on the Federal, State, and local level are laced with lies and corruptions of the truth. I believe the voting public did not re-elect the incumbents because they were bombarded with lies and corruptions of the truth.
Nestof Vipers September 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Mrs. Buser: I read with great interest your comments this evening about the planned housing development Blossom Ridge. Your comments shed quite a bit of light as to why some of the OUT GOING members of our current board show such hubris and contempt towards their fellow citizens. As the old saying goes madam, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Now that we have that out of the way lets get down to business, Mrs. Buser. First off, I for one have no problem with a senior housing development in Oakland Township. I don’t have an issue with it being at the corner of Adams and Dutton Roads. I do, however. have a serious issue with the development of a major business at that intersection using residential zoning codes. The fact that in your 17 years as supervisor you did nothing to ensure that this type of development could be accommodated with proper zoning laws does not bode well for your legacy.
Nestof Vipers September 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM
As for the zoning of Blossom Ridge, I can assure you madam I have much more knowledge of this project then you ever will. You see, Mrs. Buser, I sat through almost every Planning Commission meeting related to Blossom Ridge since last October, and when I couldn’t be there I reviewed the tapes of the meetings. Because of this due diligence, I can tell you for a fact, madam, that neither the PC nor the BOT ever asked a serious question of this developer. As a matter of fact, I cannot think of one thing they did to address the concerns of the citizens who elected them. For example, when the citizens asked for an independent traffic study to be done during the school calendar year, the PC went and had the math from the supplied study checked by another traffic engineering firm. When citizens asked what the impact to township infrastructure would be, we were given a letter from the Fire Chief (devoid of any statistical data) that assured us “we are always ready to serve”. When this citizen questioned the length of the 400+ foot long, three-story building, we were told nothing. So Mrs. Buser, the citizens took the only real action they had under the law, and petitioned for a redress of their grievances via a referendum vote.
Nestof Vipers September 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Now, madam, let me address your NAME calling. First, you question patriotism; because one questions their elected officials, this makes them a patriot madam, for it was Jefferson who said, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." This was the same Jefferson who devised a system that allowed us to have our grievances addressed by our government in peaceful manor, hence the referendum petition. As for you calling us a Nest of Vipers, well Mrs. Buser, I will wear that one as a badge of honor, because I for one subscribe to the “DON’T TREAD ON ME” philosophy when it comes to governance, and in the case of this outgoing BOT they have been TREADING ON US a lot these last four years. As for your name calling directly, madam, all I can say is this the fact that you and your ilk have to resort to name calling shows that you have no coherent argument. In closing Mrs. Buser, if you truly do come back to Oakland Township in the next few years, I can promise you that you will be welcomed as a returning resident by those who live in the township. I can also assure that if Blossom Ridge is built, and you can afford to live in it, that the for-profit company running it will be happy to have you until your money runs out, and then they will have you “age in place” some where else.
Beth September 24, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Mrs. Buser: you write, "Elections on the Federal, State, and local level are laced with lies and corruptions of the truth. I believe the voting public did not re-elect the incumbents because they were bombarded with lies and corruptions of the truth." Share your wisdom with Joan and Marc, then keep telling yourselves that...you'll sleep better, too.
Hot Wine September 25, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Wow! Buser and Foulkrod again demonstrate what is wrong with our local government officials...we live in a democratic society, not a dictatorship. Let the process proceed, and let the people decide!
Hot Wine September 25, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Next important meeting is this Wednesday, September 26 @ 8PM. Please plan on attending and let your voice be heard. Oakland Township Supervisor posted a Notice of Public Hearing in the Sept. 6 edition of the Rochester Post advising the public that there will be a public hearing on an application submitted by Moceri/DM Investments requesting approval of Special Accommodation Use under Ordinance section 16.15.00 for the proposed Blossom Ridge senior living development. The notice can be read at Township link: http://www.oaklandtownship.org/Portals/0/Document/SAU%20Public%20Hearing%20Notice.pdf If you'd like to know more, or find out how your voice can be heard, email the brreferendumactiongroup@hotmail.com
francis P. Hughes October 06, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Mrs Buser, If you were an expert on senior housing which you are not you would be aware of the fact that several of these developers/management companies have ended up in bankruptcy including Erickson, Levitt, etc. and most of have switched to rental only units rather owned units as the cash flow is better and when the living units are sold their is no fee simple title any way and the owners of the units are subordinate to the first mortgage held by some bank that financed the construction of the living units. As a result seniors lost their deposits or total purchase payments in the the bankruptcies which included many companies that were church affiliated. Pressently there is a glut of senior housing which forces these companies to attempt change the zoning to general or public housing for all ages to avoid bankruptcy.
Joan M. Buser October 07, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I find it hard to believe your information about the viability of senior housing, because you are part of the "no" group that has peppered the township with misinformation, and sometimes out and out lies. Oakland Township has studied Blossom Ridge for over 18 months. The developer has made many concessions to address the concerns of the residents, including significantly lowering the number of units. The development will generate less traffic at peak hours than a subdivision built on the land. The height and width of the main building is the same or less than many of the large houses that line Adams Road. The landscaped berms will make it impossible to see the buildings from Adams or Dutton roads. Mr. Moceri is known for the attractive berming of his developments. You may want to die in your own home Francis, but many seniors are looking for a place where they feel safe, they can enjoy the amenities, and are encouraged to continue to live an active life.
Nestof Vipers October 08, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Dear Former Supervisor Buser: One must question why a resident who has left the area so quickly after her tenure is now so involved in a local debate. Is it possible that Mr. Moceri (whose talking points you parrot) is supporting your sudden return to Oakland Township? To be frank, madam, you have not been relevant in this township for eight years, and I do not know what makes you think you are now, since you are no longer a resident, tax-payer or property owner. As for your “facts,” it’s nice to know Mr. Moceri has another shill, but those of us who follow the Blossom Ridge project know how poorly it was vetted. We also know that the developer was given every opportunity (by both PC and BOT) to write his own guidelines. Once the PRRO passed, the real irony is that the following day the developer applied for a special dispensation (or, as we like to call it, a Do-Over) from the current supervisor. My question is, if all elected and appointed officials did their due diligence over the 18-month period, why was it necessary for Mr. Moceri to ask for a mulligan?
Hot Wine October 11, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Oakland Township Residents, Here's an update....on Tuesday 10/9, Board of Trustee Supervisor, Joan Fogler, recommended to the Board that they approve the August 15, 2012 rezoning application submitted by the developer of Blossom Ridge under the Special Accommodation Use (SAU) ordinance. After much debate and resident input the Board VOTED AGAINST the motion to approve the SAU application on a 4 - 3 vote! Trustees Bailey, Thomas, Workings and McKay voted against this motion which in the opinion of the residents and outside legal counsel was the correct legal action by the Board. Following this vote, Trustee Thomas proposed a new motion to neither approve or deny, but to postpone the consideration of the SAU application until the referendum petition process is completed, and if the electorate reject the Blossom Ridge rezoning approved by the Board of Trustees on August 14, 2012, then the Board will consider the SAU application on its merits. Assuming township validation of the submitted petitions, the ballot vote would be scheduled for Feb. 26, 2013 in a special election. If the SAU application is considered due to a rejection of the original rezoning application by the electorate, the newly elected Board which will be sworn into office on Nov. 20, 2012, will be the Board to consider the SAU application. If you'd like to receive email updates, or find out how you can get involved, email the Blossom Ridge Referendum Action Group @ brreferendumactiongroup@hotmail.com

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