Too Much Turning on Alberta

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

True story.  They voted with their “buckets and chains” … and we got the message.

Many motorists use Alberta homeowner’s driveways as a way to turn around to get back to Baldwin Road.
Many motorists use Alberta homeowner’s driveways as a way to turn around to get back to Baldwin Road.

As a little background, when The Shops at the Crossing (north side of Alberta) and former La-Z-Boy store – now The Shoppes at Baldwin Square (south side of Alberta) were constructed in the early 2000’s across from Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, it was the City’s preference that these commercial projects not allow vehicular access onto Alberta.

Why?  Alberta was considered a “residential road” and the City wanted to prevent unnecessary cut-through traffic in the neighborhood.  Both developers accepted the City’s wishes and access was only permitted to Baldwin Road.

Bird's Eye View of the Area
Bird’s Eye View of the Area

However, once built and operational the Police Department started to observe drivers becoming confused about where to turn into these shopping centers.  Many people mistakenly turned onto Alberta looking to shop or eat.  With no way to enter the retail parking lots, these motorists began to use Alberta homeowner’s driveways to turn around and go back to Baldwin Road.  This problem became worse in recent years with the re-birth of the former La-Z-Boy into The Shoppes at Baldwin Square which includes the popular Qdoba Mexican Grill and Five Guys Burger and Fries Restaurants.

So, what did some of the Alberta residents do?  They became frustrated.  Some called us.  Others addressed the situation by placing buckets and chains in their driveways to block motorists from using their property to turn around.  This was an unintended consequence to what we thought was smart land use policy at the time.

Understanding that something had to be done, the City worked to address this challenge by asking the owners of both retail centers to add driveways onto Alberta.  The owner of the southern center can easily add a new driveway since the land is flat in that area.  However, adding a new drive at the northern center is proving to be much more complex and costly due to a large berm and utilities being in the way.  This north drive mostly likely will not happen anytime soon.

Thus after careful study, a few days ago the Planning Commission authorized City staff to proceed with facilitating these new driveways onto both sides of Alberta.  We expect The Shoppes at Baldwin Square (south side) of Alberta will add its new driveway this Fall.

The new drive to the south off of Alberta is expected to be located here.
The new drive to the south off of Alberta is expected to be located here.

We are hopeful this solution will reduce the number of unwanted visitors for our Alberta residents so that the buckets and chains will no longer be needed.

Too Much Turning on Alberta

They Do A Lot!

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Last night, the Auburn Hills Planning Commission approved their annual report of activities.  It was pretty interesting to see all that they accomplished in just one year.  Click here to read their report.

What do they do?  This dynamic group of Auburn Hills residents advises the City Council on a variety of land use and zoning issues.  They guide the physical development of our town.  Simply said, they help shape our community’s future.  I think you’ll see … they do a lot!

The Planning Commission recently celebrating Shawn Keenan obtaining professional city planner certification
The Planning Commission recently celebrating Shawn Keenan obtaining professional city planner certification
They Do A Lot!

Auburn Hills Christian Center Proposes New LED Sign

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

It’s a pretty cool looking sign.

The Auburn Hills Christian Center, located at 2592 East Walton Boulevard, has proposed to add a new state-of-the-art LED automatic changeable copy sign to their property.

New LED sign proposed at the Auburn Hills Christian Center
New LED sign proposed at the Auburn Hills Christian Center

We’re very familiar with their congregation.  The Auburn Hills Christian Center has been an active member of the Auburn Hills’ community for 28 years.   They’re known for providing assistance to countless City events over the years, such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

For those interested in learning more about this new sign, the Planning Commission will review the project on Tuesday, August 27th at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall in the Council Chamber.

Auburn Hills Christian Center Proposes New LED Sign

RSC Soccer Fields – Now on Track

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

People often call and ask us … “What’s being built up on Dutton, near Bald Mountain?”  Well, it’s a four-field, outdoor soccer complex being constructed for the Rochester Soccer Club (RSC). 

The soccer fields are almost ready to be seeded.
The soccer fields are almost ready to be seeded.

The project fell slightly behind schedule this year due to some unforeseen utility issues, but is now on track.  Representatives from RSC explained that the six month delay was not all bad.  With the heavy rains we experienced this past Spring and Summer, they believe that if they had planted the turf seed as originally scheduled, it would have washed away.

RSC intends to seed the fields this Fall.  Now, this is not like us hydroseeding a lawn.  These fields will experience heavy use, so the grass has to take extra time to establish.  RSC advises us that it will take at least 18-months for the turf to be ready, so the complex most likely will not open until Spring 2015.

RSC - Fields at Auburn Hills (Site Plan)
RSC – Fields at Auburn Hills (Site Plan)

Once finished and active, this facility will be a great addition to our community and the region.

RSC Soccer Fields – Now on Track

The Parkways: Eastern Gateway to Downtown Auburn Hills Proposed

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We are pleased to report that a multi-generational housing development called The Parkways has been proposed on 22 acres located west of Adams Road, north of the Clinton River Trail.  The project will complete the development of the land south of the stalled Forester Square condominiums.

The proposed Planned Unit Development will consist of 76 townhouse style units, 72 stacked flat units, and a three-story 160 unit senior housing building situated along a new boulevard road.  Over two acres of City-owned park open space will also be created. The project is anticipated to be phased and take three years to complete.

The overall development plan for "The Parkways"
The overall development plan for “The Parkways”

The development will be built by the Moceri Companies, headquartered in Auburn Hills.  Moceri has built several notable projects within the City such as office spaces; University Village and Wellington Green, and residential developments; Riverwalk, Astoria Park, and Arbor Cove.

The Planning Commission will review this new project on Tuesday, August 27th at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall in the Council Chamber.

The Parkways: Eastern Gateway to Downtown Auburn Hills Proposed

Faurecia’s New Headquarters Progressing

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

It’s huge!

Construction on Faurecia’s massive new 278,000 square foot, three-story building in the Oakland Technology Park is progressing on schedule.  It will be the North American Headquarters for the company, which is the fifth largest automotive supplier in the world.

The general contractor, General Development Company, broke ground on the $24 million project in early May.  The photos below show that most of the steel is now up.

View looking southwest at the new building taken on August 19, 2013
View looking southwest at the new building taken on August 19, 2013
View looking west at the new building taken on August 19, 2013
View looking west at the new building taken on August 19, 2013

The shell of the building is anticipated to be enclosed by October, with final completion by mid-March.  With just seven months to go, this project is moving forward in record time.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Faurecia’s New Headquarters Progressing

Auburn Hills Selected for Planning Excellence Award

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Yesterday afternoon, Community Development Director, Steve Cohen received word that Auburn Hills was selected to receive the Planning Excellence Award for the The Auburn Hills Electric Vehicle Ready Project for Best Practices by The Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association.  To say that we are pleased is an understatement!

plug in

We are all very proud of Steve and the team which includes the Planning Commission, Ron Melchert and his Department of Public Works team, OHM Advisors and Clean Energy Coalition for their hard work and dedication to the project.

In response to the growing production of electric vehicles and the likely changes that will accompany that trend, the City initiated a collaborative effort with automotive manufacturers, suppliers, energy companies and local government entities to solicit input on the development of an EV infrastructure.  In July 2011, Auburn Hills became the first city in Michigan to introduce a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure ordinance that facilitates the installation of EV charging stations.  Auburn Hills has encouraged other communities to use the ordinance as a springboard for developing their own ordinances.

Also of significant note, the signage developed for EV recharging stations has been approved and adopted by the Michigan Department of Transportation and is now under consideration by the federal government for use as the national sign to identify parking spaces designed for EV charging.

A formal presentation of the award will be held during the Michigan Association of Planning Conference this fall in Kalamazoo.   We look forward to the expansion of this network to support current and future EV owner needs.

Auburn Hills Selected for Planning Excellence Award