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January 19, 1990 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I LOCAL NEWS I



B'nai Moshe Makes Final
Plea, Heads For Court

SUSAN GRANT

Staff Writer

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Serving the Community for 33 Years-

n what seemed more like
a courtroom hearing than
a township meeting,
Congregation B'nai Moshe
attorneys made the
synagogue's case to the West
Bloomfield Township
Trustees last week.
Although township
trustees listened politely to
the three-hour presentation
Jan. 12, they made no deci-
sion. Instead, they will leave
that up to Oakland County
Circuit Court Judge Hilda
Gage who is expected to hear
the case within the next few
weeks. No court date has
been set.
B'nai Moshe had filed suit
against the township after
trustees rejected the con-
gregation's proposal Nov. 20
to build a synagogue on
Drake Road, south of Maple
Road. Trustees later told
synagogue leaders they ob-
jected to the proposal
because it would adversely
affect the development of a
five-acre parcel south of the
proposed synagogue site.
Earlier this month, Gage
ordered trustees to allow
B'nai Moshe leaders to
refute the township's objec-
tions.
Robert Roth, attorney and
former B'nai Moshe presi-
dent, questioned planning,
architectural and engineer-
ing experts as they testified
that the property to the
south, owned by Tony and
Marianne Iafrate, could be
developed as a single-family
subdivision. The Iafrates
said that if the synagogue is
built, they can not build a
subdivision on their proper-
ty.
As a court reporter typed
in notes about the pro-
ceedings, planner Gerald
Luedtke presented a hypo-
thetical site plan showing
five homes for the Iafrate
property. According to Lued-
tke, these homes would
marketable and this plan
would require no variances
from township trustees.
But township senior
planner Tom Bird said two
lots on B'nai Moshe's plans
would require variances for
lot width.
Attorney James Iafrate,
representing his parents,
said B'nai Moshe's latest
plan is worse than others
presented.
"We would not be able to
get any funding for this

site," Iafrate said. "It simply
is not orderly development."
After the meeting, Roth
said although it would be
nice if his arguments swayed
trustees, he did not expect it
to happen. Instead, he is
counting on Judge Gage to
reverse the township's deci-
sion.
He hopes Gage's decision
comes quickly. The
synagogue's option to pur-
chase the 15-acre site ex-
pires Jan. 21.
Roth continues to work
with the property owners to
extend the option, which al-
ready has been extended
twice at a cost of $6,000 to
the synagogue. He also
maintains the synagogue is
not searching for a new site.
Meanwhile, B'nai Moshe
has still not completed a deal
to sell its building at Ten
Mile and Church roads for
$1.6 million to United
Jewish Charities.
Larry Ziffer, Jewish
Welfare Federation plann-
ing director, said "What's
the rush? It's not like they
need to get out of the
building in a hurry."
Nothing is holding up the
closing, Ziffer said. Because
it involves a lot of money, he
never expected the sale to be
complete until after the first
of the year.
As for the soon-to-be empty
building, Ziffer said, Temple
Emanu-El continues to ex-
press the most interest in
the site.
In addition to B'nai Moshe,
the township is discussing
an ordinance that will en-
danger the Lubavitch Foun-
dation's plans to build an
educational campus on 40
acres it owns on Maple Road,
west of the Jewish Com-
munity Center.
The West Bloomfield
Township Planning Com-
mission will hold a hearing
at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at
township hall to discuss an
ordinance that would allow
colleges and universities
only in areas zoned for of-
fices and industrial parks. It
also would lower the land
requirements of colleges
from 40 acres to 20 acres and
set restrictions on what the
buildings can look like.
The ordinance is a varia-
tion of one township trustees
defeated Nov. 20. In the
earlier version, colleges
would have been moved from
areas zoned single-family
and placed in areas zoned for
apartments.
If this latest ordinance is

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