Senior housing coming to township

Board approves consent judgment

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published February 9, 2016


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Township officials have approved a consent judgment allowing the Blossom Ridge senior housing development and the rezoning of an additional piece of property near Adams and Silverbell roads.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, Blossom Ridge — to be located at the northwest corner of Dutton and Adams roads — will hold 189 senior housing units of a variety of sizes and types.  

The contentious Blossom Ridge development was the subject of a 2013 primary election ballot question, when Oakland Township voters rejected rezoning to allow the proposed project. Residents objected to the density of the development, stating that it was out of character with the township and would bring increased traffic to the area.

Last year, Blossom Ridge developer Dominic Moceri and a former township supervisor filed a federal lawsuit against Oakland Township in connection with Blossom Ridge, following filings by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America in a federal lawsuit addressing the same development. 

The Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America lawsuit said the township had engaged in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act by means of a restrictive and exclusionary zoning regime.

The settlement agreement allows the Blossom Ridge development to move forward with the additional Carillion Creek development. At press time, the settlement agreement awaited entry as a consent judgment by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Berg before taking effect.

By a 5-2 vote Feb. 2, the Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved acceptance of the consent judgment, which lowers the density of Blossom Ridge. The judgment also approves the rezoning of 30 acres of land on the southwest corner of Adams and Silverbell roads. A proposed development on the land surrounding Oakland Christian Church — dubbed the Carillon Creek project — aims to bring housing, a fine dining restaurant, a veterans memorial and more to the property, which is currently zoned for a research laboratory, allowing offices.

Oakland Township Supervisor Terry Gonser said the chance to rezone the Carillon Creek property is “a significant opportunity that would not otherwise be presented to us.” 

Township Trustee Frank Feriollo agreed.  

“Since the offering is far better than what the zoning calls for, the township may welcome it,” Feriollo said. “The Carillon Creek project is more conforming to the character of the surrounding area than what might have been allowed via the laboratory and research zoning currently in place. Further, the resulting projects — both Blossom Ridge and Carillon Creek — will by their nature mitigate against any future possible lawsuits from others, since zoning — multifamily, assisted living and the disabled — will have been addressed in the township.”

Township Clerk Karen Reilly and Township Treasurer Jeanne Langlois voted against approval of the consent agreement.

“We do not discriminate,” Langlois said. “Our master plan envisions ways to incorporate senior living into our township. The inclusion of a second parcel is not appropriate.”

“Carillon Creek was added, and I don’t think it applies at this time,” Reilly said.

“We have all struggled with the subject before us,” Gonser said. “The developer is offering an incredible act that I did not expect to happen. We do have an aging population, and we have many people who would like to stay in this township.”

“Healthy communities can’t survive on a diet of McMansions alone,” Moceri said in a statement. “This agreement ensures that Oakland Township is on a pathway to sustainable inclusion. It needs a greater cross-section of individual and multifamily dwellings to contribute to the character of the township.”