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November 15, 1991 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-15

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hey were like two pre-
teens pushed out onto
the dance floor by
their families: the Lubavitch
Foundation and the West
Bloomfield Township Plann-
ing Commission continued
Tuesday evening their slow,
agonizing dance toward a
decision on the Campus of
Living Judaism.
The proposal for a 40-acre
parcel west of the Jewish
Community Center on
Maple Road received the
first in a long series of need-
ed approvals before it can be
built. After two years of
waltzing on the subject, and
a two-hour discussion on
Tuesday, the planning com-
mission followed township
attorney guidelines and
decided — on a 5-3 vote —
that the project does indeed
fall under the township
guidelines for churches.
The Lubavitch are propos-
ing to build a synagogue,
mikvah ritualarium, rab-
binical seminary complete
with housing for 50 students
and faculty, and an archives,
museum and retreat center
on the site.
The Lubavitch had hoped
the planning commission
would follow township at-
torney guidelines and begin
deciding if each part of the
project falls under the per-
mitted uses for a special zon-
ing request in a single-
family area. Several com-
mission members continued
to balk at that approach,
which they say is un-
precedented in the work of
the commission.
The two sides have been
dancing at arm's length over
the issue. Some commis-
sioners have insisted that
Lubavitch provide a detailed
site plan for the entire 40-
acre area. Lubavitch
counters that it does not
want to provide the expen-
sive site plan until the com-
mission decides if the con-
cept is permissible.
Tuesday's vote moved the
discussion forward. Lubavit-
ch has been invited to an in-
formal work session Nov. 26
to begin the step-by-step ap-
proval process. Meanwhile,
Lubavitch representatives
and township planning staff
will meet in advance of Nov.
26 to iron out some of the
Barry Stulberg, who rep-
resents Lubavitch before the
commission, does not expect

quick approval. Even com-
missioners who voted with
Lubavitch Tuesday evening
raised some troubling issues
which Lubavitch supporters
saw as delaying tactics.
Planning commission
chairman Donald
Dresselhouse asked several
times for a detailed site plan
that includes future devel-
opment of the north 40 acres
of the site. Lubavitch has no
plans at this time for the
north acreage and expects
the 20 acres adjacent to
Maple Road to take many
years to complete.
Commissioner Donald Eby
has been insistent for two
meetings that Lubavitch
provide a complete site plan.
But both Mr. Dresselhouse
and Mr. Eby voted with the
majority — for Lubavitch —
in Tuesday's vote.
Commissioner William
Dotterrer, who has sided
with Lubavitch on the pro-
cedural issues, voted against
Lubavitch on Tuesday, along
with commissioners Anne
Jardon and Judith Ander-
Ms. Jardon made a com-
promise suggestion Tuesday,
asking Lubavitch to consider
placing its archives at the
Holocaust Memorial Center,
its classes and museum at
the Jewish Center, and
housing its students and
faculty at the Aldingbrooke
and Thornbridge apartment
Mr. Stulberg explained
that Lubavitch, HMC and
the JCC would have trouble
combining separate func-
tions and the nearby apart-
ments would be too expen-
sive. ❑

Social Event Set
For Young Adults

Detroit area young adults
and college students home for
the Thanksgiving holiday are
invited to a community-wide
social event 8:15 p.m. Nov. 27
at the Birmingham Com-
munity House, 380 S. Bay St.
The event, which will
feature music by Intrigue,
will enable young adults and
students to meet others who
are active in the organized
Jewish community.
The evening is co-sponsored
by the Jewish Federation's
Young Adult Division (YAD),
The Jewish News, the Jewish
Community Center, Metro
Detroit Hillels, U of M Hillel
and MSU Hillel.
There is a charge and par-
ticipants must be 21 to enter.
For information, call Rick
Krosnick, 965-3939, Ext. 161.

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