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Planning Panel OKs Building Requests, Hears Non-Motorized Plan

Commission approves proposals from Royal Oak Recycling, Pizzeria Biga and James Marie Properties.

The Royal Oak Planning Commission approved three petitions Tuesday and denied one.

Rezoning requests considered

received permission for a conditional rezoning to permit construction of a 29,215-square-foot warehouse at 1200 Knowles St. The commissioners heard concerns from neighbors who wanted assurance of appropriate walls around the site, proper lighting and landscaping. Neighbors also worried the growing industrial zone would devalue property and that trucks would take a toll on nearby streets.

Richard Atto, vice president of Atto Construction, assured commissioners and residents that the Royal Oak Recycling plan will clean up the site and creates jobs. Atto said the company is willing to work with neighbors to address their concerns. “We’ll remove three nonconforming structures and have a cleaner more sensible development,” he said.

Mayor Jim Ellison, a member of the Planning Commission, asked to be recused from considering the matter. He is a Royal Oak Recycling employee.

James Marie Properties, petitioner and owner of 1603-1609 N. Main St., received permission to construct a second-story addition and convert the former Shorty’s Auto Parts building into retail and professional offices. The project has unanimous support of residential and business neighbors who said the building has been in poor condition since the death of the owner two years ago.

St. Clair Edison LLC received permission to convert office space in 711-715 S. Main St. into Pizzeria Biga, a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages with outdoor dining. The restaurant would share space with , which will remain in the historic building that once served as a power plant for street cars.

Starrwood Building LLC was denied the rezoning of 3424 Starr Rd. from family residential to general business. 

Non-Motorized Transportation Plan

The commissioners passed a resolution to review the Complete Streets plan. Marissa Dolin of the Active Transportation Alliance summarized the recommendations of the non-motorized plan — a bicycle and pedestrian network.

Dolin said the plan coordinates past and present transportation efforts into a plan for the future.

“Many people in Royal Oak are already walking and biking, but there are many people who want biking lanes and safer places to walk,” she said.

The plan recommends:

  • New bus shelters, bike parking and safer crosswalks.
  • New ordinances to address distracted driving and bike parking.
  • Encouraging residents to keep sidewalks walkable in winter months.
  • Teaching children how to maintain bikes.

Royal Oak resident Tom Regan strongly supports the non-motorized plan, which encourages students to ride bikes and walk to school. “This plan will solve problems for schools that have huge traffic jams, because everybody drives their kids to school." The Royal Oak school district eliminated busing for students in 2010.

Several commuters supported for the plan saying it gives the city tools to address cars speeding through neighbors.

The plan also encourages economic development, especially on streets such as 11 Mile Road and Washington Avenue.

TJO September 14, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Was there ever any dought that Royal Oak Recycling would get their way. After all, there are still people in this region that think Kilpatrick should run for major of Detroit again. Time and time again our local Government shows nothing but arogance and conceit for the little people. When Kroger was denied it was said we never veer from the "master plan" for the city. I guess that's unless the Major works for them.
Mark Itall September 14, 2011 at 11:41 PM
You must have missed that no one really objected except the lady who bought a house in the middle of an industrial zone and knew it when she bought it. The "little people" did not object, so you must have an agenda. Oh, and that is mayor, not major. If you are baselessly going to insinuate corruption, at least get the title correct.
TJO September 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM
Yes, it's Mayor not Major. Careless mistake. And maybe I do have an agenda. Tired of the corruption. If you think that the lady is the only one with objections, then you don't know much of the history of this area. she didn't buy a house in an industrial zone. That's the point. It is being changed from mixed use into industrial. Nobody is objecting to the current zoning, only to the expanding of the industrial zone. and in regards to an agenda, I'm not the one on the payroll. If you believe it's baseless, just go beyond local records regarding 1200 Knowles and look it up at the EPA and State level.

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