Council Approves Preliminary Site Plan for New ‘Condos’

By DREW HOWARD

The Rochester Hills City Council approved a preliminary site condominium plan titled Woodland Crossing on the northeast end of Auburn and John R. roads, though not all parties are excited about the construction.

Woodland Crossing is zoned R-4, One Family Residential and includes 15 units on approximately five acres. The Rochester Hills Planning Commission approved preliminary site plans at their last meeting on February 20, before moving the matter to city council.

Developers clarified that the site, while deemed a condominium, will function as a “regular subdivision” composed of individual single-family residential units. Units are estimated to be anywhere from 2,100 – 3,300 square feet at prices ranging from $350,000 to “the low 400’s.”

Rochester Hills resident Ryan Smith addressed several of his concerns about the development during public comment, including an element of the proposal calling for the removal of 62.5 percent of surrounding trees.

“I’m in favor of the development as the area could use a bit of a pick-me-up, but I don’t think the developers have done enough to make the area sparkle,” Smith told council members. “The exteriors of the condos don’t fit the neighborhood – these are going to look like a red jelly bean in a bowl full of yellow jelly beans.”

Smith claims he saw an excavator on the proposed plot before preliminary plans were approved by the Rochester Hills Planning Commission. “I couldn’t find anywhere in our city charter that allows that,” he said.

“To me, that was a slap in the face to residents. A lot of residents I talked to were not happy that it was there prior to approval.” Smith was the only resident to address concerns about the development at public comment.

Later in the presentation, Council Member Jenny McCardell took issue with how the development fits into Rochester Hill’s Master Plan. “We were going through our Master Plan process and talking about affordable housing and the types of housing we want in Rochester Hills,” McCardell said. “At $300,000 to $400,000 for a home, at 2,100 to 3,100 square feet, I just don’t know – it just seems out of the loop with our main goals we were talking about the strategic planning meeting.”

The council voted 6 – 1 in favor of the preliminary site plan, with McCardell being the lone objector.

Later, the council confirmed Mayor Barnett’s appointment of three individuals across several city boards. These include the appointment of Julie Rogalski to the Advisory Traffic & Safety Board for an unexpired term; Michael Ellis to the Local Development Finance Authority for a four-year term; and Joe Snyder to the Economic Development Corporation for a six-year term.

Council members also voted to reappoint Debra Brnabic as the Planning Commission Representative to the Zoning/Sign Board of Appeals for a one-year term. “I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Brnabic on the Planning Commission the last two years,” Vice President Stephanie Morita said. “She’s been really great to work with and a great leader.”

At the next council meeting on Monday, March 26, council members will vote to appoint three Citizen Representatives to the Zoning/Sign Board of Appeals.

To watch the meeting in full, visit the YouTube channel “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”