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Dearborn Residents' Effort to Construct Office Building Stopped by Plan Commission

A battle between residents of Rosalie Street in Dearborn was effectively settled Monday night by the commission.

When Yasmine Hassan bought her home on Rosalie Street in Dearborn four months ago, she didn't imagine that she'd soon face the possibility of her yard backing up to an office building.

And, after a decision Monday night by the Dearborn City Planning Commission, it appears she won't have to.

In what amounted to a battle between residents of the street just north of Hubbard Drive, the commission voted Monday to not allow several of those residents to turn their extra property into profit.

Haroun Odeh, Zeina Jebril and Malaky Jebril all own homes on the one-block stretch of Rosalie, which dead-ends into a field and faces a wooded area to the west. They also own seven parcels of land parallel to and west of Rosalie.

The trio came before the Planning Commission Monday with a request to rezone the property from residential space into a "business office district," which would allow them to construct a one-story office building on the land, which they could rent out.

They had first come before the commission in November, at which time the issue was tabled.

The group acquired the parcels one by one "with the mission of doing something with this property," Odeh said, adding that the use allowed by current zoning—single family housing—was not a profitable venture, nor would be turning it into multi-family housing, such as an apartment or condominium complex.

"We're willing to work with the city, and we're willing to make adjustments to the project to make everyone happy," Odeh said, but added that their sites were set solely on an office building.

However, at both commission meetings, several other residents of Rosalie came to voice their opposition to the project, and some wrote letters to the commission. All said that they felt that having an office building butting up against their back yards would be a bad idea.

"One of the things that sold me on this home was the area," Hassan said at Monday's meeting. "To convert it ... it would be an eyesore."

And to the Planning Commission the project seemed to be a violation of the city's master plan, and an encroachment on neighbors.

"It's intensifying the use (of the space)," said Commissioner Matthew Zalewski.

Joseph Guido, lead architect on the proposed project, cited several examples of similar projects—such as the mixed residential and business use of the area near Cherry Hill and Military Street.

But ultimately, the commission felt it was too much to ask of residents.

"I understand you have an investment, but I'm looking at the people who own the homes," said Commissioner Nancy Siwik. "When these people bought or built their homes, they were not considering that an office building would be there.

"These people have a significant investment also."

The commission voted unanimously against the rezoning request. Their recommendation will be sent to Dearborn City Council for approval.

Kamal Makki January 08, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Good for them, this is no place for commercial property!
bitsy08 January 08, 2013 at 02:25 PM
What do you know. A political body of people who actually find for the citizens. Too bad about these others who bought up the property but they should have found out BEFORE they bought it if it could be rezoned.
laplateau January 09, 2013 at 01:14 PM
My personal thanks to the Commisssion members for their support of the neighborhood issues brought to their attention by the residents of this area. Too often concerns from residents about the continued viability and desirabilty of their neighborhboods are ignored by our city offciials. I hope this is the beginning of a trend in favor of protecting our residents and their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods, above all else, are the assets most important ot any city.
John January 11, 2013 at 03:43 AM
With the economy down and nothing at all being built in the city within 5 years, this wouldn't have been a bad look. The neighbors do have a right to complain though given they live nearby but I don't see how in this economy they would shut down such a project. Not only a good look for the city but will bring in revenue to our near bankrupted city.

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