The township Board of Trustees has been fielding a proposal for the senior housing on the site of the former Eagle Elementary School, located at 29410 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield.

The township Board of Trustees has been fielding a proposal for the senior housing on the site of the former Eagle Elementary School, located at 29410 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


West Bloomfield denies moratorium relief for Stone Hill developers

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 10, 2018

 A senior independent living facility has been proposed for the site of the former Eagle Elementary School at 29410 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield. The proposal is currently on pause under a moratorium while the township conducts a study on senior housing.

A senior independent living facility has been proposed for the site of the former Eagle Elementary School at 29410 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield. The proposal is currently on pause under a moratorium while the township conducts a study on senior housing.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees is holding the developer of the proposed senior housing complex Stone Hill to a recently passed temporary ban on senior housing. 

Majed Zayouna, owner of the property located at 29410 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield — the site of the former Eagle Elementary School — requested relief from a moratorium May 7 that the board had recently passed and that temporarily halted development of senior housing in single-family zones in the township. 

The moratorium was issued April 9 and put a 180-day hold on any senior living developments in single-family residential zones. During the moratorium, township officials plan to commission a study to look into whether senior housing is needed in the township.

Zayouna requested relief from the moratorium, and he said the moratorium violates provisions of state and federal laws, citing the federal Fair Housing Act, the federal Age Discrimination Act and the Michigan Civil Rights Act. 

Though Zayouna did not attend the board meeting, he wrote in a letter to the board that there is “clearly an immediate need for additional senior independent living in West Bloomfield Township.” 

“Existing facilities are not adequately serving the demand for senior housing,” he wrote. “Senior residents are leaving West Bloomfield Township in search of acceptable senior living facilities.” 

Zayouna also said that he and the developer, PIRHL, had been working with the township for “well over a year” before the moratorium was put in place, and they have submitted and resubmitted plans to the township to meet township officials’ requirements. 

“This is one of a handful of sites in the township that can accomodate senior independent living with amenities and services really needed by the senior population,” said Kevin Brown, of PIRHL. “The site should be relieved from the moratorium. ... We have diligently and professionally addressed issues raised by (the township board) and comments from surrounding communities by revising our proposal over and over. ... The Stone Hill proposal should be considered on its merits, not delayed through an unnecessary moratorium process.” 

Township Attorney Michael Salhaney said that the township is not breaking the law or violating any federal or state ordinances by instating the moratorium. 

“The factual record set forth by the township has been very clear and very consistent,” he said. “The reason (for the moratorium) is to allow the township to study and have a meaningful review. 

“The moratorium is for a short period of time and is limited in its application. ... I don’t think, from what you’ve heard here today and what’s been submitted, they have met that threshold (for exclusion) from the moratorium.” 

Board of Trustees members voiced a variety of opinions on the subject. 

“I was supportive of the moratorium, but I had asked … they be excluded,” said Trustee Jim Manna. “They have spent over a year and thousands of dollars. ... I don’t blame them for being here. I supported them then, and I support them now.” 

Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan agreed with Manna, saying it’s only fair to the developers that they can move forward, since they have been working on the proposal for so long. 

Clerk Debbie Binder and Trustees Jonathan Warshay and Howard Rosenberg disagreed.

“I’ve read, I’ve listened, and it just doesn’t meet the standards,” said Rosenberg. “It doesn’t come close, and I’m not prepared to make this giant leap.” 

Binder agreed with Rosenberg, saying it’s not about the fact that the development is senior housing — it’s a density issue. 

“What we’re looking for is an appropriate time for the township to have a meaningful review without having an impact on the community,” she said. “All we’re asking for with the moratorium is time to confirm that (this development) is needed.” 

Manna made a motion, seconded by Kaplan, to grant Zayouna relief from the moratorium. The motion failed 2-3, with Kaplan and Manna in support and Binder, Warshay and Rosenberg voting against it. 

Treasurer Teri Weingarden and Trustee Diane Rosenfeld Swimmer were absent from the meeting. 

Rosenberg made a motion to deny Zayouna’s request for relief from the moratorium and was seconded by Warshay. The motion carried 3-2, with Manna and Kaplan voting against it. 

The moratorium will last until Oct. 6.  

The Stone Hill project is proposed to be two stories and 124 units. It would offer a full suite of services, including concierge service, shuttle bus transportation, emergency response pendants, a beauty shop, a fitness center, activity rooms, and organized outings to museums, concerts and sporting events. 

The development would also offer base-level medical services for residents, as well as a la carte services like meal service, housekeeping and laundry.