Independence Pointe project has rocky history with locals

It was cause for much debate.
The expansion of the Independence Pointe Medical Center, developed by John Poponea of M-1575 Associates, first came to the Independence Township Planning Commission in February 2001.
Cameo Homes Subdivision residents, which sits behind the plaza at M-15 and I-75 on Northview Drive, were quick to get on the defense claiming the expansion would impinge on their peace and quiet, safety, invite trespassers and crime, and plummet property value. They also felt the community had adequate medical facilities.
The initial proposal called for a 13,200 square foot second story addition to the then existing TCF Bank, now relocated. As part of the request, approximately 9,000 square feet of an adjacent 15,000 square feet residential parcel, was asked to be rezoned from R-1A (residential) to PUD, planned unit development, for additional parking. The plans called to beef up parking from 250 spaces to 302 spaces.
Poponea made a deal with residents to eliminate the encroachment, pave 275 feet of Northview Drive, along with new landscaping, and agreed to a deed restriction to ensure the property remains residential. A four-foot high retaining wall was promised to protect residents from headlights.
Although, it seemed developers and residents came to an agreement, the motion was denied by the Planning Commission in June 2001.
In August, the plans went before the Independence Township Board, who then sent it right back to the Planning Commission.
It wasn’t until January 2002, a final site plan amendment was approved 4-3 by the Township Board without a recommendation from the Planning Commission as their vote tied at three.
Revised plans approved called for a 10,560 square foot addition, now currently under construction, built over a 31-space parking area. The plan also includes 41 parking spaces to raise the total to 291.
‘I think most board members had a problem with the parking structure,? Clerk Joan McCrary said. ‘But you can barely see it. I don’t believe it’s a problem with the neighbors.?
Pat Meeker, a 28-year Northview Drive resident who opposed the expansion before the boards, said, ‘I can’t say we’re happy, but we’ve learned to accept it as it is and learn to live with it. There’s been a lot of noise since (construction) has been going on. And we know it’s going to generate more traffic.
‘We spent a whole year voicing our opinions,? she continued. ‘It took a lot of time and effort out of all of us. But we tried. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. What can you do??
Overall, Meeker said, ‘Clarkston is where we raised our family. Clarkston has treated us good and we’re proud to be part of the community. This is a nice neighborhood.?