Affordable housing demolition leaves Grosse Pointe Park residents concerned about neighborhood’s future

Grosse Pointe Park residents are concerned why residential homes are being vacant and gutted to be turned into parking lots.

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. – Some residents in Grosse Pointe Park are voicing concerns about the future of their neighborhood as four affordable housing buildings were demolished within a week.

Last week, two homes on Wayburn Street and the two homes behind them on Maryland Street were demolished by the developer who owns them.

A block away from that demolition site, on the 1100 block of Wayburn, three other homes are vacant, surrounded by gates, and are going through an abatement process as crews remove asbestos and lead service lines.

Neighbors want to know why Melissa Bayer is one of them.

“It’s not what they’re doing but how they’re doing it; I’d like to know the truth,” said Bayer.

She lives across the street from the three vacant homes on the 1100 block of Wayburn and recently sold her home.

“These are residential homes, and they were all occupied when I moved in here three years ago. This is a four-family, two-family, single family, and now they’re all vacant,” said Bayer. “They sat vacant for months and we don’t know why as residents here. Nobody on this block has gotten any information from anybody stating what the plans are.”

She’s heard the reason the four homes just a block away were demolished due to parking and hopes that’s not the same for three other homes.

“This is affordable housing and Grosse Pointe Park for people that can’t, you know, afford the McMansions this is people can live here,” said Bayer. “And I mean, do we really need all this extra parking?”

The city manager, Nick Sizeland, said the four homes were demolished by the Cotton family, who is building a new oyster bar just a few steps away.

“As part of that process, they are asking for a rezoning application from a multifamily use district to T-1 parking district, which is allowed in our current zoning,” said Sizeland. “So the planning commission will be listening tonight based on does the applicant fulfill everything needed to do so.”

Mayor Michele Hodges said there’s also a public hearing during the planning commission where the community can say how they feel.

“It’s investments like these that have helped increase our tax base from $27 million to as much as $45 million. So there’s a lot that this body (planning commission) will have to consider tonight. But that community voice will be an important part of it,” said Hodges.

Click here for a look at a recording of the meeting.

If the rezoning application is recommended for approval by the commission, it will go to the city council, which will make final approval at the Oct. 17 meeting.

As of Oct. 6, the city has not received any demolition applications for the three homes in the 1100 block of Wayburn.

Sizeland says the city is reviewing the rezoning process to see if there are ways to better notify residents.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.