Sprawl-busters in Rochester Hills, Michigan sent us the following report from the front lines: “The residents of Rochester Hills have been hoodwinked by their city council and a developer, REI. For months, city officials worked in secret on a document with REI to rezone a parcel of land that was originally rezoned from residential to softball fields in 1981 through a consent judgement. Rezoning through a consent judgement does not go through the typical rezoning steps. The new proposed development includes a 10 story hotel, plus 500,000 s.f. for big box retail and offices. The city has signed an agreement with REI which exempts the developer from traffic and environmental studies. It also frees REI from litigation if any environmental damage is done. REI officials will not confirm or deny that Wal-Mart is waiting in the wings to jump in. One of the city’s claims is that the softball fields are a contaminated site, and hazardous to our community. The children of Rochester Hills have been playing softball on this site for over two decades, and the city is now suddenly alarmed. The city council gave little notice or time for community comment before voting on the consent judgement at 11:30 pm on February 11, 2004. Rochester Hills residents are shocked and angered by the city’s actions, and are appealing the consent judgement to a higher court in the state of Michigan. We have formed a group, RAIZ (Residents Against Irresponsible Zoning) and plan to fight this project as long as it takes.”
For local contacts at RAIZ, contact [email protected] For other Michigan stories, search this database by the name of the state.