Grosse Pointe Park City Council votes to rezone area for parking lots despite objections

All but one council member in Grosse Pointe Park voted Tuesday to rezone a section of a neighborhood to allow for a new parking lot.

However, even after the vote, some did admit there were some mistakes made, and more changes may be coming soon.

After some controversy surrounding the now-razed homes at the corner of Kerchavel and Wayburn, a developer who plans to put a parking lot here can proceed thanks to this 6-1 vote.

Vikas Relan, the lone council member voting against the rezoning, says he feels the decision was rushed.

"We had a great opportunity today to slow down, instead we settled for sloppy," he said.

Council members who voted yes said the proposal meets the criteria of the city’s master plan of more parking for an expanding downtown and therefore should be rezoned. There were however questions about the way the process played out.

"Through council and developer, there has been a breach of trust," Councilman Brian Brenner said.

One example came when the houses that used to stand here were demoed seemingly without warning.

"We woke up 7:30 on a Friday morning to a house next to us being demolished.  No notice, just woke up to that," neighbor Belle Teesdale said.

Earlier this month, the mayor said that non-communication was a mistake.

"We sincerely apologize to the community for that misstep. That is part of being in a constant evolution towards professionalization, right?" Mayor Michele Hodges said. "This process has exposed a weak point, and we need to fix that."
That evolution is expected to continue. A fence surrounds other houses on Wayburn on the other side of Kercheval. Those were sold to the same developer. One homeowner across from those houses prepped for demolition says they do trust the process and vision.

"Things have to change and have to evolve, and I think we are in good hands here with our leadership in the city," Roberta Robson McGlone said.

The mayor said there is a plan to close the communication gap so that surprise demolition projects won't happen in the future.