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 On May 9, the Huntington Woods City Commission discussed senior housing, where it could be located and what the city needs to do next.

On May 9, the Huntington Woods City Commission discussed senior housing, where it could be located and what the city needs to do next.

Photo by Mike Koury

Huntington Woods looking to get concepts for senior housing

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 14, 2019

HUNTINGTON WOODS — For more than a year, Huntington Woods has been wanting to increase its housing options, with senior housing being the focus.

The City Commission met for a study session May 9 to further discuss its options with senior housing.

The commission previously had its senior housing study committee look at three areas that Huntington Woods marked for potential development. Those areas were land occupied by City Hall, the Public Safety Department and the Public Works Department; the Rite Aid located at 26020 Coolidge Highway; and office space north of Chase Bank on Woodward Avenue.

City Manager Amy Sullivan said the Woodward properties are already zoned for housing, and the Rite Aid location would need a special land use permit from the Planning Commission. The most feasible location that isn’t already zoned for housing, she said, is the City Hall municipal complex.

The committee did ask the commission at a Jan. 22 meeting to approve the start of design workshops to establish a vision and concept plan for the City Hall site. The commission decided to wait and discuss this more, which led to the May 9 meeting.

What the commission decided at the meeting, Mayor Bob Paul said, was that the city needs to gather conceptual ideas, numbers for what things would cost and feasibility for the three locations.

To do that, Sullivan was directed to reach out to developers to present to the City Commission this information at a future public meeting.

“We definitely need to hear more from the residents, but in order to do that, we need to give them some idea of what the costs of this development would be for them to find out if they’re interested in it,” Paul said. “I know they’re interested in senior housing, but they don’t really know what that costs and what that means, and we need to give them more specifics.”

The City Hall properties have been zeroed in on the most, Paul said, as it’s the only land that the city has control over. In the past, the city has mentioned that housing on this lot would have city services on the bottom floor, with housing above.

“The other areas, we can do some things,” he said. “There’s a lot ... we’ve already done as far as rezoning to make it potentially happen, but we can’t actually make it happen like we can on the City Hall property, because we don’t own the property.”

Commissioner Jules Olsman said he wants to see concrete concepts from developers, such as what housing could look like and what it would cost.

Olsman also said that the housing could really be for anyone, not just seniors, though they would be part of the targeted demographic the city believes wants this housing, which is people who want to stay in Huntington Woods long term.

“The idea is to give people the ability to downsize and continue to live in the city,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. … You’re talking about multi-unit housing for people who want to continue to live in the city but do not want to live in very large, maintenance-heavy homes.”