Amid objections, Grosse Pointe Park plans for parking lots after tearing down homes rolls on

Plans to build a parking lot near the Kercheval Business District in Grosse Pointe Park are rolling forward.

The planning commission voted to recommend the rezoning of four parcels on Wayburn and Maryland streets where homes stood just weeks ago.

"Are we really going to trade families for a few cars, for a few hours a week," said one resident.

Residents say the parking lot will tank property values, drive up the chances that accidents occur, and attract rodents. Dumpsters would back up to neighboring homes.

"Definitely not something I want to smell when I do my gardening," said Karl Heusinkveld, who lives next to the proposed parking lot.

Belle Teesdale and Devan Stachecki live next door to the proposed parking lot and say they received no notice when the two homes next to them were demolished a couple of weeks ago—they woke up to the sound of excavators.

"There was no proper fencing, put up or anything," said Teesdale, who lives next to the proposed parking lot. "It was really scary. I have some videos that, it was so close to us, our house was shaking."

Representatives for the Cotton family, which is behind the development, told the commission the lot will be attractively landscaped and that additional parking is desperately needed.

"The business district in the Kercheval area is flourishing," said attorney Michael Stines, who represents the Cotton family. "There have been new businesses, it is the place to be in Grosse Pointe for family activities."

"I drove through the downtown district on the way here and there was plenty of parking on a Thursday night in prime time," said resident Arthur Mullen.

The parking lot plan is taking shape in the Cabbage Patch neighborhood, which has long served lower-income families as an entry point into the Grosse Pointe community.

"It is critical to bring families into this city if you want to build a thriving community," said Jennifer Logsdon, Grosse Pointe Park resident. "With the loss of that housing we are losing potentially half a dozen families that live here and send their kids to our schools, and grow up as members of our great community."

Some residents urged Mayor Michele Hodges, who’s on the planning commission, to recuse herself from voting — she heads up The Belle Isle Conservancy. A member of the Cotton family is on the board of directors there.

"It's been ruled that I don’t have a conflict of interest, and so I have a duty to vote on this," she said.

Mayor Hodges voted in favor of the rezoning request. It now goes before City Council for final approval, they will meet on Oct. 17.

The issue is likely not going anywhere, anytime soon. The Cotton family is reportedly looking to possibly buy more homes to tear down for more parking lots.