Council rejects low-income housing proposal

A concept plan to turn the Oxford Village municipal complex site into a multi-story, mixed-use project was formally rejected last week.

Council voted 4-1 “to eliminate from further consideration” Venture, Inc.’s proposal to purchase the 1.7-acre site located at 18-22 W. Burdick St. for $450,000 and turn it into a development called Oxford Station.

The proposed development consisted of commercial, retail and office space on the ground floor with a mix of low-income and market-rate apartments for senior citizens (age 55 and older) above it.

Venture originally pitched the proposal to the village as three stories, then changed it to four stories with 32 to 48 apartments

when it made a presentation to the public during an Oct. 27 town hall meeting at Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ.

A subsidiary of the nonprofit Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA), Venture builds and sells affordable housing to low-income homebuyers.

The motion to reject Venture’s proposal was made by Councilman Erik Dolan, who felt it important to act rather than leave the issue unresolved.

His motion was based on the fact “there was significant (public) opposition to the project” at the town hall meeting.

During that meeting, concerns were expressed about the proposed project possibly creating more traffic congestion and parking problems in the area.

There were also those who feared the development’s potential to consume more in public services than it would pay in property taxes and service fees.

One person expressed opposition to the building’s height given it would tower over the surrounding single-family homes.

Councilman Dave Bailey asked if approving this motion would prevent Venture from returning with future proposals.

Dolan assured his motion only pertained what Venture had already presented.

Following council’s motion, a Venture representative sent a Dec. 15 email to village Manager Joe Young containing a revised proposal calling for a three-story, mixed-use building.

The email included a proposed option agreement to purchase the property for $450,000. The proposed option would expire March 31, 2018.

Young told this reporter, “(Venture) still would like to meet with the council to see if they can work something out.”

“They want to sit down and talk about what would be acceptable to the council,” he said.


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