Site Plan for Child Care Center Divides Residents

by DREW HOWARD

Following approval by the Rochester Hills Planning Commission, the Rochester Hills City Council will have the final word regarding a proposed second location of private child care center, Premier Academy.

Located on the southeast corner of Tienken and Adams, the new site has drawn concerns from nearby residents over possible traffic congestion.

People for and against the new child care center made their voice heard at the most recent Planning meeting on Tuesday, December 19. Here, commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use plan and site plan for the second location, moving the issue forward to the Rochester Hills City Council for final approval.

Those against the site plan argue that Premier Academy’s second location will add more traffic to an already-busy intersection situated near Rochester Adams High School, Van Hoosen Middle School and many residential homes. Residents are also concerned that the new location will result in more people driving through neighborhoods to avoid the intersection.

The meeting was packed with people from opposing sides, so much so that some audience members were forced to watch the meeting from the hallway. Many of the audience members in favor of the new site wore red t-shirts emblazoned with the Premier Academy logo.

In response to resident concerns over increased traffic congestion, Premier Academy has agreed to pay for road modifications that would 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 decision to approve was also influenced by a traffic impact study, which concluded that Premier Academy will have an almost unnoticeable effect on traffic.

Julie Nemeth, head of public relations for Premier Academy, said she expects the Rochester Hills City Council to vote similarly to Planning. “I’m confident in the information we’ve presented, and the Planning Commission has already voted in favor of the site,” Nemeth said.

“I’m confident that the City Council saw the factual data we presented, and I feel very strongly they will pay attention to the PC vote.”

Rochester Hills City Council President Mark Tisdel said it will be hard to vote against the site plan due to the overwhelming amount of data working in Premier Academy’s favor.

“The council relies on the professionalism, experience and thoroughness of the PC and Planning and Economic Development (PED) personnel,” Tisdel said. “Their unanimous recommendation will carry a lot of weight.”

“Council members have been closely following the PC and PED review process as well as hearing directly from residents for and opposed to conditional use approval. Based upon the work product before us, I, personally, will find it difficult to deny approval to an applicant that has complied with – or exceeded – ordinance requirements and the review process.”

The second Premier Academy location is a two-story building that will support 10 classrooms, 162 students and 22 employees. The site will also have a fenced-in outdoor playground area.

Nemeth said the proposed traffic modifications will amount to close to half-a-million dollars.

The next Rochester Hills City Council meeting will take place on Monday, January 8, 2018. You can watch the meeting live online on council’s YouTube channel titled “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”