Premier Academy Gets the Green Light at the Busy Intersection of Adams and Tienken

The intersection of Adams Road and Tienken Road was described as “horrendous” by most of the residents Monday night at the Rochester Hills City Council meeting. The Premier Academy’s new construction plan calls for their second location of daycare/learning space to be built on the southeast corner of the busy intersection. Locals, both for and against, weighed in on whether city council should approve the proposal:

Request for Conditional Use Approval – Premier Academy, a proposed 14,911 square-foot childcare center on 1.6 acres at the southeast corner of Tienken and Adams Rds., zoned R-1 One Family Residential; Jeff Schmitz, JS Capitol Group, Applicant.

Artist rendering of the Premiere Academy Daycare location in Rochester Hills

Premiere Academy Daycare

The meeting started with a packed house overflowing into the hallway at 7:00 p.m. January 22 and continued well past 1:00 a.m. Tuesday. Council president, Mark Tisdel, began the discussion with language that would suggest the outcome would be based on implementation of the city charter – not what public opinion may be.

This corner has had concerns over what will go there ever since a commercial real estate sign went up in the fall of 2015.

Those in favor of the project wore red shirts with the Premier Academy’s logo on them and those against wore green shirts with the slogan “Not this Location.” The red shirts spoke highly of the school for pre-kindergarten age children and most were family, friends, and clients of their existing location in Oakland Township. The green shirts, mostly from surrounding neighborhoods, acknowledged the passion clients have for the business; but believe traffic issues will only grow causing more delays at the intersection and lower safety.

“Traffic has been identified as the number one concern,” said Tisdel. The intersection has had several recent accidents, five in the last week, including the serious crash involving Deputy David Hack. The intersection is rated an “E” currently and could be improved to a “D” rating if the lights are retimed and the turn lanes extended. Conditions of the approval is for Premier Academy to invest $500,000 into the roads on both sides of their business location:

1. Due to current traffic conditions at the intersection, applicant shall work with Engineering to review the light timing optimization, prior to the issuance of a Land Improvement Permit.

2. Improvements to Adams and Tienken Roads, to be completed outside of the school year term, shall be at the sole cost of the applicant, and be completed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the Building Department.

Further concerns relate to the cut-through traffic in area neighborhoods. To eliminate cut-through traffic, the Road Commission for Oakland County said to widen roads, improve the intersection, add speed bumps (to neighborhood streets), and/or install “no turn” signs restricting turns during peak times. Enforcement is difficult with the signs and therefore speed bumps are preferred over signage. However, it should be noted that residents of the neighborhood have to pay half the cost of the speed bumps (the city pays the other half).

Aerial View of Premier Academy's Future Rochester Hills Location

Aerial View of Premier Academy’s Future Rochester Hills Location

Mayor Bryan Barnett offered remarks toward the end of the discussion asking city council to be consistent in the judgment. Barnett remarked how they approved a new restaurant just down the street, which brings more traffic than this proposed project would. The difference is the restaurant replaced the space held previously by a restaurant – this is a business adding over 600 more cars (in and out) where two single family homes exist today. The zoning for this area allows for single family homes, daycares, churches, schools, funeral homes, and even cemeteries. And while keeping (or replacing) the homes with single family dwellings would make many happy, Premier Academy may be one of more acceptable alternatives.

Council Member Jenny McCardell voted NO, while the other members all voted YES. Here is the resolution that passed 6-1:

Resolved, that the Rochester Hills City Council hereby approves a Conditional Use for Premier Academy, a proposed 14,911 square-foot childcare center on 1.6 acres at the southeast corner of Tienken and Adams Rds., zoned R-1, One Family Residential, Parcel Nos. 15-08-100-021, -022, and a portion of -004, based on plans dated received by the Planning and Economic Development Department on November 16, 2017, Jeff Schmitz, JS Capital Group, Applicant, with the following findings and conditions.

There are tweaks and conditions to follow, however the Premier Academy will have their second location in Rochester Hills.

Personal Note: As a member of the media covering local politics, I understand how this works. This project was a done deal long ago. The process of approval is to make the final project fit best to the community. While some will hold grudges and feel disenfranchised, others are delighted and feel the system works. I accept this improvement at this corner. And it should be noted that I live in the area and I know the intersection is crazy busy. Extending the turn lanes and retiming the lights should help. My recommendations to officials: 1. Why not retime the lights NOW, don’t wait for the construction to begin. 2. Find a way to install speed bumps at no cost to the residents, why not ask the Premier Academy to pay the residents’ half to show good will to those being impacted in the area. 3. And police the subdivision roads for speeders (most cut-through traffic goes too fast). I bet if a driver were to cut-through the Premier Academy’s driveway to avoid the intersection they would get a ticket. Perhaps tickets could be handed out to those who cut-through the neighborhoods – since it is all zoned the same.

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About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at Michael@RochesterMedia.com or @TALKTRAVEL

Comments

  1. Martha Windscheif says:

    The method by which this project was approved has been typical of the Rochester Hills City Council for years. Everything is decided behind closed doors and then pitched to the residents at the last minute under the guise of holding a meeting and “listening” to opinions. The same thing is happening at the NE corner of Adams and Hamlin. All of a sudden we find out the council plans to approve a change in a consent judgment (which had previously been changed) so that a developer can build 368 apartments on the land. Not only will Council change the consent judgment, but they will allow the developer to make part of the structure four stories high when the limit in Rochester Hills is three stories. The only issue I can remember defeating was the council’s plan to allow Lifetime Fitness to build on Riverbend Park. Council members do not represent us as they should, and the fact that public comments are left to the end of meetings makes clear they aren’t interested in what residents have to say. Most people have to get up and go to work and aren’t able to stay until midnight or 1:00 AM.

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