Detroit/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on June 12, 2024
Royal Oak City Commission Approves Contested Apartment Complex Amid Community Protests and Traffic ConcernsSource: Google Street View

A unanimous vote by the Royal Oak City Commission has cleared the path for a contested apartment development, despite vocal opposition from some community members. The planned building, set to occupy a former bank site at Rochester Road and Genesee Avenue near 14 Mile Road, has become a source of contention due to its size and potential traffic implications.

Residents, who rallied on Sunday before attending the Monday meeting in protest, have expressed concerns about the impact of the project on neighborhood congestion and infrastructure. According to CBS News Detroit, resident Carolyn Martz voiced her frustration over the potential addition of "60 to 80 vehicles on this teeny tiny little intersection," illustrating the community's anxiety over traffic woes that might unfold. Rudy Stuglin, another resident, spearheaded the collection of approximately 300 signatures in opposition to the development.

Amidst the wave of objections, city officials have stood firm in their support for the project, advocating for greater affordability in the housing market. Mayor Michael Fournier emphasized the importance of providing housing for the city's essential workers, stating, "If any one of my kids grows up to be a letter carrier, school teacher, and they can't find a place, shame on us," as reported by the CBS News Detroit.

Moreover, there have been accusations of corruption directed at city officials. Former Royal Oak City Attorney and Commissioner Charles Semchena alleged that officials have been swayed by developer interests rather than heeding the concerns of residents. He claimed, "This has been a habitual decline of moral values and ethics in Royal Oak because of all the money that is taken by the mayor and the city commissioners", as per FOX 2 Detroit. Fournier rebuffed these allegations, branding them as "baseless conspiracy theories" and "mudslinging."

This development becomes part of a larger narrative, reflecting the nationwide push for more affordable housing units amidst skyrocketing real estate prices and a dearth of lower-cost options. The city commissioners affirmed that the apartment complex, offering 42 units, would contribute to easing this pressure by providing more accessible housing options. Residents remain determined to seek other avenues, including legal action, to challenge the development, which they believe undermines the existing neighborhood zoning and character.

Detroit-Real Estate & Development