by DREW HOWARD
Dozens of residents left the latest Rochester Hills City Council meeting upset and disappointed following a 6 – 1 vote in approval of a new daycare center on the corner of Tienken and Adams roads, a facility many believe will create more traffic and increase safety hazards.
Premier Academy is a Christian-based school that currently operates in Oakland Charter Township. At its new location on the southeast corner of Tienken and Adams roads, the school will be yet another addition to an already-busy intersection near Rochester Adams High School and Van Hoosen Middle School.
The meeting ran close to five hours and allowed for 39 people to address the council during public comment. Supporters of the daycare wore Premier Academy t-shirts, while those against sported green t-shirts that read “NOT THIS LOCATION.”
One resident was close to tearing up as she described the “horrendous” traffic that already exists near her neighborhood.
“There’s not a traffic study on earth that will give you a clear understanding of what anyone who lives around here goes through going to and from work,” she said. “Unless you live there you don’t know. I have nothing against Premier Academy, but I truly believe this is not the right location.”
The second location is said to be 14,911 square feet on 1.6 acres of land, with capacity to accommodate 162 students and 22 employees.
Another concerned resident argued that the new daycare will increase cut-through traffic in his neighborhood. In his plea, he noted that City Council President Mark Tisdel visited his neighborhood and observed 150 cars pass through in a half-hour period.
“There are no sidewalks [in the neighborhood], the road is 28-feet wide, and it’s shared with walkers and students walking to Adams, Van Hoosen, Brewster and other schools,” the resident explained. “You get cars flying through there every five minutes on a 28-foot wide road that we’re sharing with walkers, bikers and children going to school.”
Other residents were able to look past the traffic concerns, arguing that the daycare would be a great addition to the community.
“It’ll enhance our community, our children, our community school system with more education options, and be a resource for dual and single-parent households,” one supporter said. “This will be a fantastic and needed addition to the community.”
A one-day study on the intersection of Tienken and Adams, which concluded that the second location will not have a noticeable effect on traffic, weighed heavily in favor of Premier Academy. City council members seemed to trust the study, despite many residents pointing out that the findings were only based on one day of traffic.
Council member McCardell was the sole member to vote against the site plan.
“I’m kind of going back and forth about this,” McCardell said prior to the vote. “I feel like there’s some good opportunities to make positive impacts, but I don’t know how much we’ve done to document the character of that area.”
“The thing that concerns me about traffic in the area is that people will be needing to make more decisions than they do now, and there will be added stress. Safety and character are my main hold ups for this project.”
In response to traffic concerns, the development company has already agreed to pay for road modifications to accommodate the new site. Such modifications include increasing the center lane for left turns on Tienken Road by 150 feet and prohibiting left turns while entering and exiting the site.
The next Rochester Hills City Council meeting will take place on Monday, February 5, 2018. You can watch the meeting live online on council’s YouTube channel titled “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”