Plans move forward on controversial development in Keego Harbor

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 3, 2018


KEEGO HARBOR — After hosting a string of emotional meetings earlier this year, a developer is preparing to go in front of the Keego Harbor Planning Commission this month to move forward with plans for The Glades. 

The project is proposed by Ara Darakjian, the owner of the property 3170 Orchard Lake Road, where the Keego Harbor Mobile Home Community is currently located. 

Keego Harbor Mayor Joel Yoder said the flow of developments through the city of Keego Harbor begins with City Planner Jason Smith. Developers meet with Smith to make sure a project is up to standards, and then the issue goes to the Planning Commission for preliminary approval. 

This is where The Glades sits now. 

“The planning part for a five-story facility takes time,” said Yoder. “I bet it will still move forward soon.” 

Projects then go to back to the Planning Commission for a recommendation for approval, and the City Council has the final say. 

“(Darakjian) hasn’t given us any updates yet,” Yoder said July 27. “There have been some delays, of course. It’s difficult when you have an existing facility there.” 

Darakjian said he was on the agenda for the Planning Commission’s Aug. 2 meeting  — which occurred after press time — to request an extension for site plan approval.

“We are currently sorting through all (the) details,” he said. “We do know it will be a mixed-use project, up to five stories tall.” 

At a Jan. 4 meeting, the Planning Commission tabled a vote on the proposed redevelopment of the property. On Feb. 1, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to preliminarily approve the project, depending on a traffic study, a sightline study and tweaks to the project plan. 

The mobile home park has been part of Keego Harbor since 1990, and Darakjian has owned the property since 1999. The park houses low-income residents, families and seniors.

There are 93 units currently in the park. Rent costs $401 per month for residents, according to a petition to stop the development.

The proposed development, The Glades, is a mixed-use development with 16,000 square feet for businesses and 250 apartments with one-, two- and three-bedroom units. 

Darakjian ran into issues previously due to the city’s master plan indicating the number of stories that mixed-use developments can be. He has since changed the plan to be five stories tall rather than six. 

Many residents of the mobile home park had expressed their concerns with the development, with the main concern being that they fear they will be forced out of their homes with nowhere to go. 

Darakjian said he will try his best to assist residents with wrelocation in any way he can.