A vote was expected to happen during the public hearing last week for a project on the site of Our Lady of La Salette School, but the vote was delayed because developer Berkley-Coolidge LLC did not turn in all the necessary materials relating to its site plan.

A vote was expected to happen during the public hearing last week for a project on the site of Our Lady of La Salette School, but the vote was delayed because developer Berkley-Coolidge LLC did not turn in all the necessary materials relating to its site plan.

Rendering provided by the city of Berkley


Vote delayed on La Salette School development

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published January 17, 2018

BERKLEY — A vote on the proposed development on the Our Lady of La Salette School site was delayed last week, as the Planning Commission determined that significant materials had not been delivered to the city before the meeting.

The commission held a public hearing for a planned unit development Jan. 9, when a vote was expected to be taken on “The Berkley” — a 134-unit apartment complex and eight townhouses that would face Oxford Road.

Before what was expected to be a vote, residents took time during the public hearing to voice their support for or displeasure with the project. Some residents said there are citizens of Berkley who support the project, but have been nonvocal and feel intimidated by those who are against the development.

This includes Rob Robinette, a resident of eight years, who originally is from Garden City. He said that Berkley reminds him a lot of his hometown, but that his hometown suffered because it didn’t grow, stayed stagnant and is not a place he would want to live today.

“We believe that this is what needs to happen for Berkley to grow,” he said.

“What made Berkley great 30 years ago is different with what makes Berkley great now, or what’s going to make Berkley great 30 years from now. I think we need this. I think we need young professionals living in Berkley. Anything that brings more people to Berkley is good for Berkley,” Robinette continued.

Resident Patty Curtis spoke against the project, and also said people have felt intimidated on their side for their feelings on the development from those on the Planning Commission.

She said she doesn’t feel this is a “very neighborly development” and that there are a lot of things missing in the materials delivered by the developer, Berkley-Coolidge LLC.

“A lot of things in the application process that were either missing, sloppy, ignored, things that were brought up at the last session that were required … and none of those things have been provided,” she said. “I don’t think this development is ready to be voted on. I don’t think this PUD is ready in its current state.”

It was this point that Planning Commission Chairperson Michele Buckler cited as the reason why no vote should be held on the PUD, as she said there were modifications to the plan made between the time that the packet was delivered to the city and the meeting, which the commission hadn’t seen.

“We can discuss these matters, but there are a lot of elements missing, and the public is not wrong in that matter. And I know you did meet with staff today. I don’t know that all of them have been filled in since that time, and certainly we’ve not seen them. My personal feelings, aside of whether or not we approve or disapprove or like this project, the technical elements need to stand before we can even vote. So the only choices we have, in my opinion … we can postpone or we can go ahead and vote and deny, but we cannot approve, because there are too many elements missing in this site plan,” she said.

Bennett Terebelo, a principal with Berkley-Coolidge, took responsibility on behalf of the developer for the missing materials.

“I can’t minimize some of the things that you’re saying,” he said.

Terebelo further stated that staffing during the holidays played a part in the situation. He hoped still to present some of what they worked on for the meeting to show changes that were made and get feedback for the next meeting. He was able to do so.

“Were there items we were able to replace? Yes. Did we meet the items that you’ve asked for? I believe we have. It’s been a difficult process. There’s no question whatsoever. Everybody has worked hard for the last year, year and a half, on our part to try and put together a wonderful plan. This is something we want to be able to create that is going to stand the test of time for not just the community, but for the residents, and we’ve taken great care in trying to analyze every element, and we think we put a lot of detail into it,” he said.

The Planning Commission agreed to delay the vote for another meeting, and it will take place either Jan. 23 or Feb. 27.