'I hope you shoot it down'
Nearby residents unhappy with senior center plans
June 09, 2010 - Will we be forced to hook into the sewer you're bringing through our neighborhood? Can we really tolerate more traffic in this area? How will drainage issues be addressed? Will the flooding at M-24 and Clarkston Road get worse, and what will you do if it does? What about the wetlands, and the protected habitat -- the Blanding's Turtles -- back there?
And what's the big hurry, anyway?
Residents near the new senior center site behind the K-mart Plaza on M-24 arrived at a planning commission public hearing armed heavily with questions June 2.
Some were answered, some were not, but either way, the commission voted to approve the plans and get the project rolling.
"I don't want you to leave here feeling like you weren't heard," Planning Commissioner Sandra Dyl told residents who remained after the more than four-hour-long meeting.
The planning commission, she explained, doesn't render opinion and has no choice but to approve a site plan that meets its specifications.
Municipal building along with
As presented, the site includes a 27,000 senior/community center, with 4,200 square feet allocated to a new, permanent home for Orion Neighborhood Television (ONTV).
"It fits in with surrounding community," said James Cummins, the architect representative for the petitioner, who, at last report was Larry Mullins of Environmental Wood Solutions. "It doesn't project high above the tree lines, and it's hardly visible to the community to the east along Bald Mountain Road; it's not much higher than a normal ranch home."
In addition to the senior/community center, the site will include dependent senior housing, approximately 43 units, as well as ten independent living rental units.
On Monday, the Orion Township Board of Trustees entered executive session after the regular meeting to discuss purchase of property related to the senior center site.
"This project is too expensive for this township right now," said Will Wilsher, a former township trustee who lives on Buckhorn Drive. "And it's not centrally located. If we're going to build any kind of community center it should be centrally located in the township."
Wilsher also noted the M-24/Clarkston Road intersection is "one of the most dangerous in the township." "To put a senior center there is not good judgment," he said.
Dave Fielstra, who lives on Bald Mountain Road said he was "totally opposed to the project," and wanted to know whether the township would accept bids, or if "all the work would be given to one guy."
Fielstra also said he didn't think the township should be in the banquet hall business, which it plans to set up at the new center in order to help with various expenses. "There's a lot of banquet halls in town," he said, "Why take business away from them?"
His list continued, with questions similar to the 10 or so other people who voiced concerns.
"Are we going to be forced into sewer hook up?" Fielstra asked. "We just had a brand new road costing a great deal of money put in. We don't want the road cut to have a sewer put in."
Noise, light, traffic problems and wetland protection were also concerns.
"That's about it," he said. "I hope you shoot it down."
The project is moving along. Watch The Lake Orion Review for updates and additional information.
Lake Orion Review Editor