Royal Oak residents to continue protesting apartment complex at city meeting

Residents opposing a proposed apartment complex in Royal Oak continue to make their voices heard.

An empty bank currently sits at the corner of Rochester Road and Genesee Drive near 14 Mile. According to city records, the plan is to build a 3 ½ story building, creating 42 new homes.

On Sunday, protesters gathered one day before the Royal Oak City Commission meeting, set for 7:30 Monday evening, to discuss the plan. 

"We’re here to protest the rezoning," said Bob Stuglin, a concerned resident.

Protesters say they are worried about traffic and loitering. They plan on showing up to the city meeting to continue opposing the project.

On Monday, Thomas Hoermann was at Royal Oak City Hall with his comments in hand for the evening meeting. Hoermann is one of many Royal Oak residents against the building.

"I am opposed to a development that is too tall, too wide, too close to the boundaries because it has so many units. It does not have adequate parking. This is all in contravention to the existing zoning," he said.

Charles Semchena, a former Royal Oak attorney and city commissioner, is part of the fight as well.

"This has been a habitual decline of moral values and ethics in Royal Oak because of all the money that is taken by the mayor and the city commissioners. It’s almost worse than pay to play," Semchena said

City leaders, including the mayor, were unavailable for comment when FOX 2 went to Royal Oak City Hall on Monday, prior to the meeting.

About "300 residents of this area have signed a petition to stop this project from going forward," Stuglin said. "City Council and the mayor have disregarded our concerns."

Trowbridge is the company planning the construction. At a prior Royal Oak Planning Commission Meeting, a member of the development team addressed residents' concerns by making changes to their initial plans.

"We reduced the number of units from 48 to 42. We increased the parking from 66 to 79, which is about a 20% increase," according to Throwbridge.

However, residents say they don’t want this project going up in their neighborhood.

"If they can rezone this, they can do anything," Stuglin said.