FERNDALE, Mich. – They’ve been two of the City of Ferndale cheerleaders for years, but now they’re suing.
They’re claiming the city overstepped its authority in approving a new development.
“I’m disappointed,” said Howe’s Bayou Owner Michael Hennes.
Disappointed it’s come to this. Hennes opened Howe’s in 1998 and has been a community stalwart.
But, the city has approved a new mixed-use development to replace the one convenient parking lot business owners along that stretch of Woodward have.
“We’re about to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and I don’t know how we can continue without parking,” Hennes said.
On a good day, parking in Ferndale can be challenging. The approval of that mixed-use development, which is a current parking lot, means a loss of 76 spots—leaving Hennes and Valentine Distillery owner Rifino Valentine without anywhere close for patrons to park.
“It really puts our future in jeopardy,” Valentine said. “It really kneecaps our business.”
Both men have attended the council and planned meetings; no other parking possibility has been launched.
Their lawsuit asks that a restraining order be placed on the new development until the city approves new, convenient parking.
Local 4 contacted Ferndale’s Mayor, Melanie Piana, who told us she hadn’t seen the lawsuit and had no comment.
The situation is painful for two longtime business owners who are civically minded.
“On a personal level, it’s really hard to deal with because I have been one of the biggest cheerleaders for this whole city,” Valentine said.
The new development is a four-story building mixing residential with retail.
Developers visit the Ferndale City Council on June 12 for a potential $1.7 million tax incentive.