When I first read about the possibility of having a Beaumont or Ford hospital here in Oxford, I thought that would be wonderful. My wife and I are aging and have been treated in three different hospitals multiple times for lacerations, surgery and twice for broken bones, in the past year.
On top of this, we were in a major automobile accident on Washington (also known as Lapeer Rd. and M-24) in June of 2017 and were taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Pontiac. I still am getting treatment for the permanent painful injuries caused because of that accident and expect to suffer that pain for the rest of my life.
What caused the accident? It is easy to say the large truck driver was negligent and he was, but there are way many accidents on that road. One of the officers on the scene that assisted my wife and me at the time of the accident said that uncontrolled development has led to a road so congested, it is not safe.
Township leaders should be taking steps to relieve the traffic pressure and congestion on Lapeer Rd, not add to it.
Anyone who has driven to or by the Beaumont in Troy knows the congestion that hospital has created. Add that to the already congested Lapeer Rd. here in Oxford and you have a prescription for accidents, more likely deaths – a problem that should be avoided at all cost. Before adding to the traffic congestion, the Oxford Township officials need to solve the congestion that is already here. I have talked to two Beaumont employees, just last Friday, who both thought a new hospital was a wonderful idea. When I mentioned the already high number of vehicles on Lapeer Rd. and asked about the number of employees, patients and their family’s adding traffic volumes, they both agreed a new hospital on Lapeer Rd. would be a nightmare as the road is already too congested and the high number of employees will only be worse. We all know the hospital will be a magnet for emergency vehicles from nearby communities.
Despite already allowing for what is unquestionably uncontrolled and reckless over building, the Oxford Township Planning Commission has worked to change the Master Plan to allow even more over-building. That being said, there have been times where the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals have at least turned down developments that have amounted to total disregard of Oxford’s zoning ordinances regarding height restrictions. Now comes, a hospital proposing to build high-rise (5.5 story building) where high-rise buildings are allowed. How long before other tall medical support buildings are built near the hospital because the height restrictions will have already been broken. If the residents of Oxford wanted to live near high-rises, they would have moved to Royal Oak or Southfield.
The fact that by buying a piece of land so small that a building cannot be built to produce the amount of beds the hospital wants to have without getting a variance of the Township zoning ordinances means the Hospital is creating its own hardship. Michigan State law forbids the granting of a variance for a self-created hardship. There is plenty of land available in Oxford Twp. to build a building giving the amount of rooms the hospital wants without requiring a variance of the townships ordinances. In the past when I reminded Township officials about the state law, the Township just changed the masterplan to meet the needs of the developers, instead of representing the residents.
Instead of eagerly allowing a hospital to ignore the codes that were put there to protect the public and property values, maybe the Township should have the hospitals show that they will meet our zoning codes and at the same time ensure that they will not be adding to the traffic congestion.
By their failure to protect our residents, the Township Officials are helping the Hospital in creating a traffic hazard that will put citizens at risk and only to increase business for the hospital’s emergency room. Only time will tell if Oxford Officials will enforce the zoning ordinances already in place and work to protect Oxford’s residents.