I grew up in Detroit and, over the years, it’s been somewhat depressing to see whole areas where I spent my youth fall into disrepair and then be torn down. The Detroit Boat Club, the Whittier, two apartment buildings I lived in while in my 20’s….
It never occurred to me that I had something similar to look forward to once I moved to Grosse Pointe. I moved here for schools, proximity to the water, and, a sense of security.
Now I find myself in the position of seeing my neighborhood destroyed, not by remote economic forces or social upheaval, but by the simple actions of the Grosse Pointe City Council.
I live on Notre Dame, close to Jefferson and I’ve been here with my family for 21 years. We are surrounded by attractive houses, trees and pleasantly landscaped lots. As in most neighborhoods we have bike riders, parents pushing their babies in strollers, people walking their dogs….the whole panoply of suburban life. That will all disappear with the City’s approval of Beaumont’s request to change our zoning.
Suddenly, without any input from me, the City Council seems to have their sights set on doing the bidding of Beaumont Hospital, a nonvoting non taxpaying corporation headquartered in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Beaumont wants to expand and, has acquired adjacent residential properties, including the properties across the street from me, which have been zoned single family residential for as long as we have had zoning laws in our city.
It is hard to imagine that Beaumont embarked on such a program without having a pretty good idea that the city would ultimately rezone the properties to accommodate their desires.
Homeowners rely on the protection of zoning laws to maintain their property values. It is difficult to understand why the City Council of a residential suburban community would be interested in tearing down the nicest residences on Notre Dame and eliminating tax payers, just to serve the bidding of a non local corporation. We are already suffering from lower property values due to economic conditions and now we are further threatened by having our neighborhood destroyed by a City Council fiat.
This, of course, is the same City Council that has given us the vacant lot, on St Clair, south of The Village, which is now described as an economic opportunity rather than the fiasco that it is.
It is my understanding that the City is holding a public hearing (October 29th) on the “Health Care District” although it is my guess that this is just window dressing for a fait accompli. Tearing down perfectly good houses in our small residential city and destroying a good neighborhood doesn’t seem like great public policy. I hope the City Council will give the whole matter a second look.
Peter H. Fortune