Kroger changes not enough

By Michael Fossano

Kroger’s revised site plan for a store on the former Fresard Pontiac-Buick dealership on Main Street was rejected by the Royal Oak Planning Commission Tuesday.

Woodward Spine © 2011

“I believe that you worked very hard on this and that you gave my plan a fair shake,” Mayor James Ellison told Kroger representatives. “But you came back with a plan that does not fit the vision I had.”

Ellison and other members of the Planning Commission last month heard from many distraught citizens and business owners in the city who were against the supermarket chain’s original site plan, which called for a 49,000 sq. ft. building to be placed on the parcel just north of 11 Mile Road.

Among the Planning Commissions’ requests: a smaller store with a look that carries an “urban” feel with frontage running along Main Street to encourage foot traffic.

The new plan from Kroger included a scaled down store from 49,700 to 45,200 square feet which was repositioned on the northwest corner of the site along Pingree Avenue and a reduction in truck bays from three to two.

Ellison said that the changes weren’t enough, namely because of the lack of a street  side storefront.

Planning Commissioner David Poulton agreed with Ellison, saying that the store “is too big and lacks any urban feel.”

While the opposition group Preserve Royal Oak was well represented again, a few residents spoke in favor of the plan, citing their desire to see the vacant eyesore rehabilitated.

“I live in the Main North Lofts and I’m tired of seeing a building with a roof that is about to cave in,” said resident Scott Warheit.

Others addressed the comission who spoke out against the proposal included leaders from Hollywood Market and Holiday Market, both of which are also on Main Street.

“This will have a negative impact on the character of downtown Royal Oak,” said Holiday Market’s Tom Violante Jr.

The Planning Commission unanimously moved to direct city staff members to prepare a finding a fact for denial of Kroger’s site plan. The members will officially vote on it when they reconvene next month.

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2 Responses to Kroger changes not enough

  1. Not sure what about this I find more galling, the mayor’s quote at the top:
    “But you came back with a plan that does not fit the vision I had.”
    Or the idea that commission rejected this proposal because it lacked an “urban feel,” which may be about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Currently the stretch has an “urban decay feel,” and the garish emagine complex has a decided “exurban feel.”

    To me, allowing a grocery store to move into an eyesore of an abandoned complex and create some much needed competition for the local stores would have a “populated area that people live in feel.”

  2. but having a streetwall would be the best possible solution. it’s not hard to put parking in back of a store on a huge lot.

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