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.