The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees voted Monday night to take no action on a request to allow developers the chance to fill a vacancy at the former Audette Cadillac property.
The request for an amendment to the township's zoning ordinance would have been necessary to allow the national fitness club chain LA Fitness to move in to the property, which has been vacant since 2009. The township's zoning ordinance stands against buildings in the center district facing "A" streets to feature a fitness club the first floor.
Senior Planner Sara Roediger explained "A" streets as a secondary streets network located in the center district which was created in hopes of creating a walkable downtown area. Roediger added that the specific footnote in the ordinance likely was created in hopes of eliminating "blank walls," or buildings without windows in the center district.
"Some of the properties on the east side of Orchard Lake going north, a lot of those larger office buildings, those don't have 'A' streets on them. Those could accommodate health clubs without any problems," Roediger said. "(The ordinance) wants an active first floor for a downtown setting."
Property owner Mark Audette said the issue of design could be worked around in the development process. "I think that we can make this thing look like whatever it needs to," he said. "If we can't get through this hurdle tonight, we might very well lose a good tenant, a national presence."
Earlier that night, the board moved to consider a review of the ordinance with regard to the township's center district area, in which the property is located. However, Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste said that the review would not halt future development proposals amid concern from the applicants.
Birmingham-based attorney Richard Rattner, speaking on behalf of the applicants, expressed concerned that a request of a board member for data suggesting that the local market could sustain another fitness center would stack the deck in favor of currently-existing businesses.
What should go into the vacancy? West Bloomfield Patch readers Dave365 suggested that the national entertainment restaurant chain Dave & Buster's move in, while Alvin suggested an Audi car dealership.
- Post your thoughts: What do West Bloomfield residents need in the Audette vacancy?
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