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Proposed Royal Oak apartment development causing parking controversy again

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 19:08:31-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — For Jane McNamara, owner of Jazzercize, it’s a project that sits a little too close to home.

A developer is now pitching the city to build a five story 60 unit apartment complex and parking deck right next door to her dance fitness studio off Main and Catalpa in Royal Oak.

In February, the 15 million dollar proposal by Anthony Yezbick was rejected by royal oak’s planning commission.

With a need of two spots per unit, parking was a top concern. But on Monday, Yezbick came back with another plan, for a 176 space, two level parking deck to be built on a city lot in back, something business owners in the area say would eat up valuable space for customers.

With limited parking for her 700 members, McNamara worries that customers would choose to go elsewhere.

"That is so unfair because a lot of these businesses got started because they had access to parking," said Steve Miller, a longtime Royal Oak resident, and former planning commissioner.

He says he worries about seeing a repeat of restaurant closures like what happened downtown after the city closed down a major parking lot, impacting a half a dozen businesses, including Andiamo's and Beirut Palace.

Last night, the city commission began considering the bid for the parking lot but was met by push back from both residents and business owners. It was an item on the agenda for discussion by the commission on Tuesday night, but then was removed at the 11th hour, the city telling 7 Action News that:

“This proposal is not moving forward at this time. There are multiple parties interested in the city owned property at issue, and the...commission has not had the opportunity to vet any of these proposals, some of which arrived late yesterday.”

It appears any consideration for Yezbick's proposal is being put on hold. It's unclear if it's in response to the criticism from community and business members, but regardless, opposition groups say they plan to push back until it's completely off the table.