Boutique … Tres Chic!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Success stories are always fun, especially when they’re home-grown!

Two women, Kelly Burgin and Christine Thornton, have built a very successful business here in the City of Auburn Hills and in the process have remarkably donated over $1 million dollars to hospitals across the country.

The company, Boutique to U, was created 10 years ago after the owners were downsized from their corporate jobs.  In an attempt to achieve a better work/life balance and to pursue their personal interests, they began making jewelry and eventually shifted their focus to fashionable and affordable handbags.

Boutique to U partners with hospitals for fundraising events and employs creative fundraising strategies.  Their “Boutique in a Box” provides fundraisers everything they need to hold a successful event, while allowing them to maximize their profits utilizing their own staff or volunteers.

They offer an incredible selection of luggage, handbags, wristlets, wallets, lunch totes, and handbag accessories.  Oh, I almost forgot that they sell luggage tags too!

Boutique to U is located at 2285 N. Opdyke Road, Suite C.  Their warehouse is open Monday thru Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  You can also purchase their merchandise on the web by clicking here.  Happy Shopping!

Boutique … Tres Chic!

A Little Inside Baseball … “The Process”

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

We are often asked by people … What’s taking so long?  I filed a formal complaint about my neighbor’s (you fill in the blank) and nothing is happening?

Issuing a Civil Infraction is a last resort

Many may not know that the City must follow what we call … “The Process.”  What’s that?  Well, in every case we must follow specifically mandated procedures to ensure that legal due process is upheld.  It may be frustrating, but there is a method behind the madness.

“The Process” begins with the identification of a violation.  It can be initiated by a citizen’s complaint, anonymous or otherwise.  Complaints may come directly to us (248-364-6900), be called into the Ordinance Enforcement Complaint Line (248-364-6935), or sent through the City’s website.  An inquiry can also be provided to us via telegraph, snail mail, or carrier pigeon; however, most violations are observed proactively by the City’s Code Enforcement Officers (one full-time: Darren Darge and one part-time: Yours Truly).

Once the violation is identified – and personally eyeballed by us – a Violation Notice is issued by mail to advise the owner/occupant of the property of what the violation consists of and what will be required to rectify the situation.  Generally, a time frame of 10 days is given to correct the problem.  We always seek voluntary compliance because, as you will see, it’s quicker and less expensive for the City.

If the citizen corrects the violation – as happens 90% of the time – the case is closed and filed away as “complied.”  Sometimes the citizen may need more time to comply and we are more than willing to allow it, if a good faith effort is demonstrated.

However, if the violation is not corrected in a timely manner, we have more options at our disposal.  An additional Violation Notice may be issued with a definitive time line or a Civil Infraction Ticket may be issued via Certified Mail.

There are two types of Civil Infractions – the first gives the violator the option of paying for the ticket or requesting an Informal Hearing at 52nd/3rd District Court.  The second is a Formal Hearing with a judge – which is very rare – and a mandatory appearance by the recipient.  The appropriate option is selected based on the urgency of the situation, the severity of the violation, or the violation history of the recipient. (In the 7 years that I have been going to court in Auburn Hills, only 1 case actually went to trial in front of a judge in a Formal Hearing.  That was with a gentleman who was a hoarder with a 10 year history of violations, court ordered clean-ups, and eventually, a contempt of court citation.  The City had no choice in the matter.)

A formal hearing in front of a judge for a Civil Infraction is very rare

About 3 months later, a court date is established and the officer and the defendant are notified.  About 99% of our cases are taken care of in front of the City’s Prosecuting Attorney in an Informal Hearing.  Generally, the issue has been dealt with by the defendant before the hearing and the case is dismissed.  Sometimes, the person accepts responsibility and pledges to correct the problem.  In this last case, a fine may be levied.

At its fastest “The Process” can take up 4 to 5 months to complete.  But, it helps ensure citizen’s property rights are respected and allows for the enforcement of the City’s ordinances in the most fair and impartial manner as possible.

So, that’s a little inside baseball about how we address complaints.  We take great pride in proactively working with people and seeking voluntary compliance with City laws – which we believe is always the best policy.

A Little Inside Baseball … “The Process”

Rebirth on Opdyke

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Have you driven by the former Wal-Mart building on Opdyke lately?  Wow, what an incredible transformation!

Vacant Wal-Mart at 300 N. Opdyke Road Becomes a Corporate Headquarters

After sitting empty for almost four years, Legend Valve and Fitting, Inc. saw potential and rehabilitated the former retail store into their new corporate headquarters and primary distribution center.  The company supplies plumbing products for use in residential and commercial construction.  Legend Valve’s decision to move to the City of Auburn Hills is a tremendous story that we plan to share in a future blog.

Larry Emmert, Director of Operations at Legend Valve recently sent us these photos.  Like a proud papa, he takes a lot of pride in how the project has turned out.


I think you will agree that this metamorphosis is absolutely amazing!

Rebirth on Opdyke

Come Join Us Tonight

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Looking for something interesting to do on a hot summer night?

Well, come attend the Planning Commission’s meeting at 7:00 p.m. tonight in the cool, air-conditioned confines of the Council Chamber at City Hall.  The group will address the following items:

First, a public hearing will be held for the anticipated final approval of the West Auburn Road – Neighborhood Master Plan.  The study addresses property along both sides of Auburn Road, between I-75 and the Clinton River Bridge.  The new vision is the culmination of over a year’s worth of planning.

Second, a site plan will be reviewed to allow the construction of a new 46,409 sq. ft. building at 4225 N. Atlantic for Plastics Plus, Inc.   The company is a family-owned and operated distributor of thermoplastic resin.  Thermoplastic resin is a material that softens when heated and hardens again when cooled.  Plastics Plus, Inc. creates and ships custom-colored resin pellets, which are processed and molded by their customers into automotive and consumer products.

Lastly, the Commission will continue its in-depth review of potential changes to the City’s Code to allow the raising of chickens on residential property.  The issue is being addressed due to increased requests from citizens wishing to keep chickens for fresh, organic eggs.

We anticipate the new Backyard Chicken Keeping Ordinance is about a month away from being ready for City Council consideration.

So, come join us tonight.  We would love to see you!

Come Join Us Tonight

Ask Why We Love Auburn Hills

Posted by – Laurie Johnson, Economic Development Coordinator

Last Friday, Building Official Jeff Spencer and I had stopped in at the Toasted Bun in our Downtown for a quick bite to eat when we were reminded once more why Auburn Hills is so special to us.  As we spent a half hour there, we noticed so many little things behind the scenes as the hustle and bustle outside was happening for the setup of the City’s Summerfest.

As we sat, we noticed two women and four children eating lunch at a table in front of us.  Two of the children – a boy and girl -were coloring.  First, the young man rose and asked the waitress if he could hang his finished product; he had colored a beautiful picture.  Next the young lady at the table rose and had the same request of the waitress for her bright and beautifully colored picture.

We were dwelling on how cute the kids were with the pride of their finished product showing on their faces.  It made me comment to Jeff the thought going through my mind of all the big businesses we have in Auburn Hills and yet we’ve been able to keep that small hometown feel.  How perfect!

Okay, those that know me; know I’m not shy.  So, of course, I couldn’t help but introduce myself and ask if I could take a picture of the children with their colored pictures.   It turns out the two women were mother and daughter.  Kristine, the daughter, had come from Grand Haven with her four children to have lunch with her mom who works at Legend Valve, one of our newer businesses to Auburn Hills.

Kadence and Brooklin Marcum tell the story of Auburn Hills.  This is just one of the reasons why we love Auburn Hills!

Kadence and Brooklin Marcum’s Pictures Tell the Auburn Hills Story
Ask Why We Love Auburn Hills

“Old-School Cool” Comes to Auburn Hills

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

It’s not every day that a 104 year-old company moves into your community.

Converse – famous for Chuck Taylor’s classic basketball shoes – will soon open its first Michigan store at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in District 8, near the Bass Pro Shop’s interior entrance.

Many may not know that Converse was orginally formed in 1908 as a rubber company.  While they offered tires, their shoes gained more traction over the years.  They were an iconic presence through the decades that saw World War II, the rise of Rock & Roll, and the formation of the NBA.

Adopted by basketball players and rebels alike, the Converse brand has always been synonymous with independence – embracing originality and individualism over the mainstream.  It’s in that spirit that they offer “Design Your Own” sneakers, where you create your own version of a classic by choosing from several styles, colors, and patterns.  Pretty fun!

In addition to their “old-school cool” shoes, the new store will offer clothing and accessories.  You’ll be able to check it out for yourself soon.

The store plans to open on July 12th.  Don’t miss it.  All the cool kids will be there!

Converse Store Coming Soon to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets
“Old-School Cool” Comes to Auburn Hills

Looking for a New Best Friend?

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Thinking about getting a new pet?   Well, now is the time to adopt one!

The Palace of Auburn Hills will be hosting the 11th annual Michigan Pet-A-Palooza this weekend.  It is one of the largest animal adoption events in the nation.  Over 3,500 people are anticipated to attend.   We recommend that you consider checking it our before or after you visit Summerfest in Downtown Auburn Hills.

Hundreds of adoptable dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens from dozens of animal rescue groups across the State will be at this charity event. Typical adoption fees range $50 to $125; however each rescue group will have their own adoption policies and fees.  Also, sponsors will be on-site showcasing their products and services.

Pet-A-Palooza will take place on Saturday, June 23rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 24th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It will be located on the north side of the building in the parking lot facing Harmon Road.  Parking is $5 and no additional  admission fee will be required.

Since the event will be held outdoors in two large tents, a special permit was required by the City of Auburn Hills.  We worked side-by-side with The Palace’s staff to make sure things go off without a hitch.  Together, we looked at things people expect will be taken care of.  Such as:  What will happen if a severe storm occurs?  How will refuse disposal be handled?   Will the tents be erected correctly and fire retardant?   How will traffic circulate around the event area? … and many more considerations.   You can trust that the program will be well-planned and safe.

So, we encourage folks to attend Pet-A-Palooza.  Hey, you might just leave with a new furry best friend.

Looking for a New Best Friend?