St. Clair Shores City Council tables condominium request

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 31, 2023

 St. Clair Shores City Council tables condominium request

St. Clair Shores City Council tables condominium request

File photo


ST. CLAIR SHORES — A request for a special land use and site plan approval for a 40-unit, five-story condominium development by Jefferson Plaza LLC was tabled by the St. Clair Shores City Council on March 20 after a 5-2 vote.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie and Councilman John Caron voted no to table it.

According to the Planning Commission’s agenda from the previous meeting, the condominium, proposed to be at 24101 Jefferson Ave., north of Nine Mile Road, is not within zoning standards — hence, the need for the special land use request.

At the City Council meeting, 19 residents voiced their concerns about the proposed condominium with many more of their neighbors in attendance. Only two approved of the new structure while the others spoke out against it.

Those who spoke brought up various points, ranging from potential disruptions and unsightliness to lack of space and increased traffic.

David Maynard, who lives on Ridgeway, said he thinks the parcel of land allotted for the building is not big enough, among other things.

“A lot of other reasons are the products that are being put on the building are not monument-type buildings. This is a building that will be in disrepair within 10 to 15 years,” Maynard said. “I know that the association is supposed to take care of all this, the condo association, who knows how well they’ll do that.”

Steve Tafflinger, a resident of Winwood Pointe, said he has some issues accepting what the business assumptions of the applicant were.

“At the quoted price of $450K for an 1,180-square-foot condo, that’s over $375 a square foot,” Tafflinger said. “Now, if I was in New York in a high rise and I had 48 concierges, maybe I’d pay that amount, but we’re not in that locale.”

He went on to say other condominiums in the area go for around $220 a square foot with better amenities and features.

Other concerns stated at the council meeting include whether or not contamination from the gas station that was previously there had been removed, and a possible invasion of privacy from the residents in the building.

Caron said even when they’re supposed to consider the special land use, the St. Clair Shores ordinance requires there to be a buffer between the building and other residents.

“Our own ordinance gives us guidance that we look at areas, like, by the lake or by an expressway, which means areas that have buffers,” Caron said. “The properties that do go above three to four stories, you know, Shore Club, Leisure Manor, golf course, there’s large buffers in those areas. That doesn’t exist here.”

Rusie brought up that the traffic study put online for the residents said it was done at Schoenherr Road and 26 Mile Road rather than Jefferson Avenue. Joseph Vaglica of Gateway Engineering, the project's head engineer and architect, said that was a typo from another traffic study, but the numbers were accurate to the traffic study that was done on Jefferson.

Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Vitale said he was probably going to be in favor of the building but was put back by the typos in the document.

“Not willing to really accept the idea that that was a typo,” Vitale said. “This is a pretty important project. I mean, I’d be inclined to just table this and come back. Because for a multi-million-dollar development, that’s pretty poor.”

Vaglica said the numbers in the traffic study are accurate.

“I’ve seen many traffic studies and I understand about the typo and the only thing, the only thing I was looking at, I was concentrating on, is how this would affect the traffic on Jefferson versus another type of development,” Vaglica said. “And if you look at that, that’s basically the whole traffic study. He did the traffic counts, you know. Those are accurate.”

When it was decided to table the project, a few residents voiced their displeasure of the decision while they left the meeting. Mayor Kip Walby answered a few of those residents.

“We didn’t vote for it, sir, we tabled it,” Walby said. “We tabled it. The body wants to evaluate it.”