(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 7, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – Planning continues on a development that would turn the former St. James School and Convent into an assisted living facility. Ferndale City Council is having a public hearing on Monday at 7pm to consider a special land use permit that would allow developers to demolish the existing convent building and construct a new addition to the existing school building, which will be converted into apartments for elderly residents.
JS Senior Living, on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit, is proposing the 103 unit, three-story facility.
The project had already gone through the approval process in late 2014/early 2015, but had gotten approval based on leaving the existing buildings remaining intact. Planning commission meeting minutes from Oct. 19, 2016 show that developers are requesting permission for new construction due to issues with the foundation, water damage and the ability to add more units. The addition is slated to be 9,200 square feet with red/brown brick that is similar to the existing structure.
One issue was placement of a dumpster, which JS agreed would be no closer to 6’ from the property line. Concern over parking lot lighting was discussed, as well as the desire of neighbors to have the building be similar in architecture to the convent.
JS agreed to an arched entryway and to using similar bricks. The planning commission determined that current parking is adequate, with 109 spaces including 20 carports and 5 barrier-free spaces. The requirement would have been 86.
The developer also agreed to remove the chain link fence from along Woodward and replace it with decorative trees, and to add hedges along the building. 28 new trees will be planted according to the plan.
Residents of St. James Living would be seniors who are able to live on their own with minimal assistance.
The former St. James Church building is now home to Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, and will be unaffected by the development. St. James Church was founded in 1919 and the school was completed in 1925.
The public hearing on the special land use permit will be Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 at 7pm at Ferndale City Hall, 300 E. 9 Mile Road. View the agenda at https://ferndalemi.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=80.