Dear Crabby, Can a City Have Too Much Growth?

Dear Crabby,

By far my favorite season is fall! The crisp air, cozy fires, and the annual trip to the cider mill. But what I especially love is looking at the color on the trees. But lately, as I’ve driven around Rochester and Rochester Hills, I’ve noticed a lot of have been cut down for development projects. And I’m wondering, do you think there can be too much growth in a city?

Fran Foliage

Dear Fran Foliage,

I agree with you about the fall. Too many people these days are in a hurry to go from summer right into Christmas. Let’s actually slow down and take time to enjoy the natural beauty that makes Michigan the best state to live in. Now to answer your question: it’s complicated.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

If I had to hazard a guess I’d say two of the development spots that have probably stuck out the most while driving around town are the ones on John R between Avon and Auburn Roads and at Livernois and Hamlin, which you’d have to be blind to miss. I’ll admit that one caught me a bit off guard. One day there were tons of trees and the next day, nothing but dirt and diggers. Now, the properties on John R look like they are detached condos. For a while now I’ve been noticing folks are either downsizing or choosing not to go the large house route. And I can’t say I blame them. I’d be thrilled if someone else took care of all my lawn maintenance and snow removal. So, if there’s a demand for this kind of housing and I’m a developer, I’d be crazy not to look for a way to tap into that mindset and market. The other developments at Livernois and Hamlin are clearly subdivisions designed for those who want more elbow room. I would hope with a clearing of that size that all the beautiful trees destroyed were repurposed in some fashion, but knowing how these things go, I’m guessing they were just hauled away or chipped. And this is why answering your question is difficult. All cities go through a growth spurt and sometimes it’s not for the best.

Just look at Detroit where I spent my childhood. Back when I was a young, handsome stud in 1950, the city’s population was well over one million. And it stayed in that ballpark for decades. Then, of course, there was trouble in the early aughts with the auto industry and a recession, so the population decreased. Now it’s on the upswing again. I bet ya while many people are thrilled to see the city starting to return a bit to its former glory, there are probably just as many people who think the growth is happening too fast and for all the wrong reasons. Finding the right balance of pleasing both groups of people is not a job I would want to have. Back to Rochester Hills … there is one development that got under my skin a bit – that school they’re building, Premier Academy, at the corner of Tienken and Adams Road. That intersection is busy enough with Rochester Adams High School and the middle school just a stone’s throw away. I mean have we forgotten about Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Dave Hack who was nearly killed at that intersection in 2018? The sign on the building says it will open in January 2020, which should be right around the time mother nature is really unleashing her winter fury. Congestion aside, I’m already having visions of accidents and ambulances. I don’t know who gave that building project the green light, but I would have gotten a second opinion.

Here’s the bottom line: growth is inevitable. If you don’t like what’s happening where you live then let your voting do the talking. There is still a little over a week before the next election. Research and vote for the people and proposals that help create the kind of community you love to live in. Cities will always have growth spurts and growing pains, so it’s up to us residents to make sure we keep those making the decisions accountable.

Hope that answers your question.

Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. I seemed to have missed seeing you at Rochester Hills City Council meetings speaking out against these projects. Suggest you also become familiar with the City’s tree ordinance

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