Special Meeting minutes name "Mr. Edwards" as representing First State
the Mayor, City Manager, and the City
Commission at the Royal Oak
Woman's Club on Monday evening, April 6th, 1925. Representatives
of the various Clubs, the School Board,
Library Board, Banks, etc., in the City of Royal Oak were in attendance
. . . "
So begin the minutes of that meeting, on five fading 8.5 x 15-inch
mimeographed pages in our museum. The meeting was called "for the
purpose of discussing, first by a speaker, and then a general
discussion, if so desired, the subject of city planning and zoning."
City Manager Beauvais commented that the topic had been raised
now and then but "has always been put off."
Among those attending were "Dr. Morrison, Mrs. Wilkinson, Mrs. Kidder,"
Messrs. Hendry, Dondero, Baldwin, Clawson, Codling, Miller, Scott, and
Holmes. Groups represented included Exchange Club, Rotary, Chamber of
Commerce, Royal Oak Tribune, Vinsetta Improvement Association, First
State Bank, and the Volunteer Fire Department.
Before Royal Oak hires or retains a City Planner, Beauvais explained,
the night's speaker, "Mr. T. Glen Phillips," would provide
background. Phillips touched on planning during biblical times and in
the Roman Empire before he described planning in Detroit, which had
"adopted a zoning plan three or four years ago." Planning would help
Royal Oak avoid the mistakes made by Detroit, which has no parks or
playgrounds, but slums "from which no
one can see the river." (At the time, Royal Oak had no parks, according
to "Mr. Bassett.")
Proper planning, the speaker said, would prepare Royal Oak for a surge
of growth, as happened when Ford built the Highland Park plant. He said
that planning and zoning are "not for just beautification" but to
accommodate growth in "streets, schools, libraries, water extension,
sewers, transportation, utilities" which keep a community "stable" and
the people "satisfied." Fire protection is critical. Currently there
are areas in Royal Oak which are not easily accessible and could be
"wiped out" in a fire.
Q&A conversation covered many topics: The fate of a grocery store
in an area which becomes zoned residential. Minimizing auto traffic,
"to provide parking on Main Street," by erecting a "superhighway"
(bypass) and with a mix of "buses, streetcars, and trains." Protecting
homeowners from "objectionable" structures nearby: "slaughterhouse or
metal working plant," "apartment house," and from oversized new homes
The unsigned minutes do not make clear that a decision was made to
establish a planning department. A tentative decision was made to
establish a "Civic Association" within the Chamber of Commerce and
assign that group the task of "selling to the people the right idea for
the future of Royal Oak." Setting up a planning department, the minutes
make clear, should not be simply "passed by a second reading" by
No parks? Today we have 51. Royal Oak has grown and changed in these
past 83 years, and we have city planning and zoning and "apartment
houses" and condos and a few Bigfoot houses. But we are still
Small Town America at its best.
Northwood Subdivision 2
This is what the Twelve Mile and Woodward area looked like
when the 1925
special meeting was called to explore setting up a Planning
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