Child care center gets go-ahead

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 30, 2018

ROCHESTER HILLS — City officials have approved a new 15,000-square-foot child care center on the northeast corner of Tienken and Adams roads.

Residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic in the area, which is also the site of Rochester Adams High School and Van Hoosen Middle School.    

But according to Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, many in the community welcome the new preschool. Barnett said he received more emails in support of the project than in opposition to it.

“Traffic is the biggest issue in the city,” Barnett said. “People want to be here. I can’t think of a single new city development that has not had opposition — because people don’t want change.”  

The owners of Premier Academy plan to build a two-story preschool/day care center for 162 students ages 6 months to 6 years. The area is currently zoned residential.

According to Rochester Hills Director of Planning and Economic Development Sara Roediger, residentially zoned districts permit compatible related uses if all requirements are met — including agricultural uses, municipal buildings, schools, libraries, museums, stables and parks.

Plans for the day care center were altered after the proposal was first presented to the Rochester Hills Planning Commission in August. Access sites have been changed, and the size of the building and the size of the outdoor play areas were both reduced.

Premier Academy owner Jeff Schmitz said the day care center will add 1 percent more traffic to the intersection, according to the results of a recent traffic study.  

“The safety and the traffic is a huge concern,” Schmitz said. “This is a little school.”

Resident Kyle Meteyer said cut-through traffic is a problem in the area.

“When faced with crossing that intersection during rush hour, people frequently shortcut through the adjacent subdivisions in order to avoid the traffic mess at Tienken and Adams, making a noisy and dangerous situation for residents,” Meteyer said in an email. “Furthermore, the intersection is dangerous, with many people turning left on red lights due to the traffic pressure, and people often ignoring the ‘no turn on red’ signs.”

By a 6-1 vote Jan. 22, the Rochester Hills City Council approved a conditional use for construction. Councilwoman Jenny McCardell voted against the measure, citing increased traffic and changes to the character of the area.

“People will need to make more decisions than they do now, and there will be added stress,” she said.

Her fellow council members did not agree.

“People want to come here, so we are having an increase of people who want this,” Councilwoman Susan Bowyer said.   

“People have a right to develop their land,” Bowyer said. “Everyone is noticing a real increase in traffic — it is not just at this corner; it is everywhere.”