You’re Going to Need a Bigger Net

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

You may recall similar words being uttered by Sheriff Brody aboard the boat ORCA in the movie Jaws.  Well, if you plan on fishing the Clinton River in the City of Auburn Hills this year here is some similar advice … you’re going to need a bigger net.

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Why, might you ask?  Well, once in a great while the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Division has some extra adult trout on hand to release at one of the many stocking locations they have in our great State.  These adult fish are not available on a regular basis, so they are considered “extra” fish, above and beyond their regular annual allotment.

I’m pleased to report that earlier this week the DNR selected the Clinton River at Riverside Park as the location to release these extra fish.  As it worked out, in addition to the annual allotment of around 1,500 yearling brown trout (7-9 inches) stocked at Riverside Park, the DNR released over 750 adult brown (13-26 inches) and adult rainbow (14-16 inches) trout.  That’s not a typo; a small number of the brown trout surpass the 2-foot mark.

History was also made as it was the first time ever the DNR stocked adult rainbow trout – and they did it right here in the City of Auburn Hills.

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So, if you have any plans to fish the Clinton River in the City of Auburn Hills, take my advice and bring a bigger net.  You don’t want to let the big one get away!

You’re Going to Need a Bigger Net

New Homes For Sale at Forester Square

Posted by – Tom Tanghe, Assistant City Manager

As Spring approaches, the Forester Square development located north of Auburn Road, west of Adams Road is beginning to see new life.

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For a little history, this planned unit development began construction in 2001 with a large number of attached townhouses.  The developer had plans for a number of single family homes co-existing in the “neo-traditional neighborhood” along with several amenities such as park space, a community clubhouse, and a swimming pool.  Sadly, only 205 of the proposed 832 units were built due to the Great Recession.

Fast forward to 2011.  After the developer was foreclosed upon for back taxes, the City decided to enter the picture and purchase two large tracts and 48 single family lots in the community.  We immediately began to market the land in hopes of seeing new construction begin and to help facilitate the eventual completion of the project.

The City found an excellent builder named Mike Mattera to build some of the single-family homes.  The result is the first two models, which will be ready for public tours within the next 70 to 90 days.  The homes will be offered at around $200,000.  We invite you to check them out soon.

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New Homes For Sale at Forester Square

Welcome Rick!

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

There were many smiles in the Community Development Department yesterday.

The good cheer had a lot do with the feeling that we just hired the perfect person to help make our Department better; while some had to do with all the sweets we ate to celebrate his arrival!

Rick Oberlin is our new Building Inspector.  Yesterday was his first day on the job.  He comes to us after six years of working as an inspector for the City of Flint.

New Building Inspector - Rick Oberlin
New Building Inspector – Rick Oberlin

Rick will join Building Official Jeff Spencer and Building Inspector Hosea Crumpler in ensuring that the buildings and structures in our town are safe places to live and work.

With a focus on serving and protecting the customer, Rick will be a key player in helping us facilitate project approvals and assist builders with meeting their construction deadlines.

Welcome Rick!  We’re glad you joined our team.

Welcome Rick!

10 Years! Engaging People Matters

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The idea was the result of a nasty, horrible public hearing.  You know, the kind of meeting where people just get really upset and stop listening to each other.  I remember it as clear as day – the people, the developer, the looks of frustration on our Planning Commissioner’s faces.  Things had to change.

You see, the procedural process outlined by Michigan law for development project approval is inherently flawed.  However, the City of Auburn Hills decided 10 years ago that it would find a better way for all parties involved.

We wish to avoid this ... The City of Auburn Hills has found a better way to communicate.
We wish to avoid this … The City of Auburn Hills has found a better way to communicate.

How is the process flawed?  Well, it’s an issue of timing.  The old school nature of Michigan law creates the potential for conflict and friction.  For example, developers will spend months and thousands of dollars to design an acceptable plan; however, the average resident typically learns about that project for the first time 15 days prior to the public review.  Thus, residents are inserted into the process at the very last possible moment and asked to go to a public meeting to speak on a proposal they know little or nothing about.  The result:  Developers are ready for a decision and residents want to slow down or stop the project all together.

Thus, Auburn Hills adopted the Citizen Participation Ordinance in January 2003.  It was a first for Michigan – uncharted waters, but the right thing to do.  The Ordinance compels developers to communicate and interact with residents within 1,000 feet of their project at the beginning, not the end.  It’s simple, fair, and effective.

Does it work?  Yes!  After 10 years of implementation, the Ordinance has made our approval processes much more efficient.  Residents have told us that they feel part of a meaningful dialogue and developers like the fact that there are fewer surprises during public meetings.  Developers also appreciate our process because it helps avoid costly delays.

Yes, Auburn Hills found a better way to conduct business.  Never willing to accept the status quo.  No doubt, we’re a better community for it.

10 Years! Engaging People Matters

You Are Important

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

There are times when things seem to come together.  Situations when wise teachings you read or witness need to be put into action.

A week ago, my wife made it possible for me to get away for the weekend alone – no wife, no kids, no dog.  I’m an introvert by nature, so it was an opportunity for me to decompress and think through some things.  It was a wonderful gift.

That weekend I finally got the chance to watch the award-wining movie The Help.  The movie is based on the New York Times best seller by Kathryn Stockett about some extraordinary women in the 1960’s South who became unlikely friends around a secret writing project.

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Viola Davis played Aibileen, an African-American housemaid, who raised 17 white children during her career.  These children loved her like their own mother.   She would tell them often … “You is kind. You is smart. You is important” … even though she was treated like a second-class citizen by their parents.   It was something you don’t forget.

Well, last night I was at home with my son working with him to prepare for a difficult 4th grade math test.  It was really hard because I personally struggled to solve a couple of the complex story problems.  My son had brought home an “E” grade on the practice test.  He said he felt stupid.

I immediately thought of what Aibileen said and told him … “You are kind.  You are smart.  You are important.”  I don’t care about this math test.  I’ll never judge you by a stupid math test.  I love you … you are important.

I asked him to repeat the phrase to himself … “I am kind.  I am smart.  I am important”  (and he did).  And I asked him to repeat the phrase again and again throughout the night (and he did).

My wife and I plan to intentionally repeat Aibileen’s words often in both our children’s lives.

It’s so important to speak kind words into people, especially the ones you love the most.  Sometimes you need a good movie to remind you to do so.

You Are Important

New Bar Coming to AMC Theaters

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The adult movie-going audience has spoken!

???????????????????????????????The AMC Star Great Lakes 25 Theaters at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets will soon open MacGuffins Bar & Lounge on their premises.  So, folks will be able to meet at the bar, before or after a show, and enjoy their favorite beer, wine, or cocktail.

Why the name MacGuffin?  It’s a movie term coined by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock.  The “MacGuffin” is the plot device that motivates the characters and drives a story, like The Death Star Plans in Star Wars or the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Huh, interesting … learned something new.

Patrons will be able to take their alcoholic beverages from the bar with them to their seats.  Of course, you must be over 21 years old to do so.

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Expect to see the bar open sometime in early April.  Cheers!

New Bar Coming to AMC Theaters

Auburn Hills is “One Stop Ready”

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We get it.  Customer service is key.  It’s in our DNA.

So, we were very excited this past Monday when the Auburn Hills City Council formally approved our community’s participation in Oakland County’s One Stop Ready Program.

Picture1One Stop Ready is an economic development program established by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.  It’s built upon each community evaluating itself, information sharing between participants, and the collection of best practices in customer service from all the participants.

Simply, it’s a proactive initiative aimed at streamlining the development approval processes in municipalities throughout the County.  This is done to better recruit and retain businesses, which in return brings more jobs and a stronger tax base.

Our friends at Oakland County have asked the City of Auburn Hills to lead by example.  We’re prepared to do so, with an intentional focus on getting better.

Auburn Hills is “One Stop Ready”