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Deed Restriction Vote

Approval Needed for School Construction Plan

Ferndale Schools will be building a new elementary building on the CASA/Jackson Park site. Approval is required by over 50% of residents to use the complete property for the current plan. We believe this plan will provide the best solution for student learning, community improvement, and traffic flow.

Considering Voting No?

Click to Learn What That Could Mean

Public Virtual Meeting – recorded Tuesday, February 23rd

Ballots will be mailed next week to the owner of every property eligible to vote on this issue.

  1. Look for this envelope in the mail, from Ferndale Schools with a purple badge, reading Important Ballot Enclosed. 
  2. Read the information on the back of the ballot and on this webpage for more info.
  3. Flip your ballot, sign the bottom, and checka box on the right.
  4. Place in the return addressed, stampedenvelope provided.
  5. Place in your mailbox.

What is being proposed?
 

  • As part of the Ferndale Schools 2020 bond plan the district entered into a purchase agreement for the area of Jackson Park that was owned by the City of Oak Park.  To see the boundaries of this piece of land see the photo below.
  • This purchase agreement will allow Ferndale Schools to own the entire parcel of land that consists of CASA School and Jackson Park.  It is our plan to demolish the CASA School building and construct a brand new Ferndale Lower Elementary School for all district Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. This new school is currently scheduled to open in the Fall of 2023.
  • This Bond plan was passed by the community in March of 2020, with 80% voters approving the plan!
  • To learn more about the Ferndale Schools 2020 Bond Plan visit www.ferndaleforward.com

What is the exact Deed Restriction language?

The deed restriction, in relevant part, is as follows:

“These Covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them until January 1, 1975, at which time said Covenants shall be automatically extended for successive periods of 10 years unless by a majority of the then owners of the lots it is agreed to change said covenants in whole or in part.”

  • Under the agreement, violators of the covenants are subject to prosecution and injunction. Specifically, if any party violates the covenants, “it shall be lawful for any other person or persons owning any real property situated in said development or subdivision, to prosecute any proceedings at law or in equity … and either to prevent him or them from doing or to recover damages or other dues for such violation.”
  • From there, Covenant A. provides that: “No structures shall be erected, altered, placed or permitted to remain on any residential building plot other than one detached single-family dwelling…”

What a NO Vote Could Mean

If the deed restriction is not lifted, the land will not be included in the $25,000,000 investment in the Jackson Park site. This does NOT mean the land could not be purchased by developers and turned into a single family home, as permitted by the existing deed restriction stated above. Voting NO does not place any new restrictions that would guarantee a greenspace remains on the site. 

Only a YES vote will ensure that Ferndale Schools can integrate as many of the natural resources as possible into a beautiful public resource that will serve the community for generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need me to vote again, I thought the Bond was approved?
 

  • The section of land that Ferndale Schools purchased from the City of Oak Park (see photo below) has a deed restriction on it. This deed restriction limits construction on this piece of land to residential homes only.  
  • This means that Ferndale Schools is unable to build anything on this additional land currently (school building, playground, park, or parking lot).  In order to lift this restriction, we require the majority of land owners within this subdivision to approve the lifting of the deed restriction.
  • A NO vote will not stop the construction of the school. It will only restrict the space Ferndale Schools has to build on, resulting in a less desirable completed construction in your neighborhood.

What will be built on this land?
 

  • Currently our architect is working on the plans for the site.  So we are not 100% sure what specifically will be on this piece of land.  However, the entire site will comprise a new state of the art school, park, playgrounds, drop off/pick-up loops, walking paths and parking lots.  So some combination of those elements will be placed on the lot, but the goal is to enhance the entire property!

What will happen to the baseball field that is currently on the piece of land?
 

  • The baseball field will be removed and the area will be incorporated into the site plan for the school. With the removal of the ball field at Jackson Park, the City of Oak Park plans to make improvements to their other ball diamonds and park amenities within their park system. 
  • The current Parks Master Plan for Oak Park expires in 2022. When the new plan is adopted, it will more thoroughly address the loss of the Jackson Park baseball field.

What will the new school look like?
 

  • Our architect is currently working with our community group to design the new Ferndale Lower Elementary to ensure it meets the needs of our students. Currently the designs are not final, but we are eager to show them to the community as soon as they are complete.
  • You can see renderings of projects GMB has begun to build at other Ferndale Schools sites on our Bond Projects page.

Has a traffic study at the site been completed?
 

  • Not at this time, but one will be completed prior to finalizing the site plan to ensure minimum potential congestion. One of the main benefits for Ferndale Schools purchasing this land from the City of Oak Park is that we are now able to utilize the the entire site at Jackson Park which will allow for a design that ensures optimal traffic flow, minimizing disturbance to neighborhood residents.

The image below shows the complete site. The red area shows the additional space Ferndale Schools purchased from Oak Park, which we need your permission to improve and include in our construction plans.

Will this elementary school be only for Ferndale School District?

Yes. It will be available to all students K-2 in Ferndale Public School District. Ferndale School District includes portions of Ferndale, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak Township. The portion of Oak Park where this school will be built is currently included in the Ferndale Public School District. You can review our District Map here.

FPS has only have one K-2 building, so this school will include all K-2 students who are enrolled with Ferndale Public Schools.

Are only a portion of Oak Park residents being asked to vote, and if so, who and why?

Per the deed restriction only residents whose homes are listed on the "plat" are able to vote.  That is roughly 1,200 residences. This list was provided to us by the city.
 

Was the postcard sent out to all Oak Park residents?

The postcard was sent only to the roughly 1,200 residences on the "plat" as determined by the City of Oak Park.
 

How will the votes be counted?

Returned mailers will be tallied initially by Ferndale Schools. If 51% of the votes are not collected in favor or in opposition to lifting the deed restriction., we will send out canvassers door-to-door to collect sufficient votes to make a determination. Once 51% of the vote determines the outcome, we will submit all ballots and signature documents to the Oakland County Registrar of Deeds for review and certification before that office makes the official change to the deed.

What happens if it's voted down?

The school will be built on the same land. The deed restriction only applies to roughly 4 of the 11 acres that comprise Jackson Park and School building. A "no" vote would simply limit our ability to space the layout of the design appropriately.  We want to lift the deed restriction on Jackson Park so that we can plan the entire site in one cohesive way. This will lead to more green space, better traffic flow, and a more useful area for the entire community.
 

How could the property have been sold without a vote from the Oak Park residents?

Ferndale Schools and the City of Oak Park have established a purchase agreement. It has not been officially sold yet. We have been meeting regularly with the city, and both bodies have been discussing this matter publicly for almost two years. Only if the deed restriction is lifted will the purchase be completed.
 

Is it only the property outlined in red on the postcard that applies to this deed?

Yes, the deed restriction only applies to the area outlined in RED in the photo above.  Ferndale Schools can build on the land we currently own: roughly 7 aces of the 11 acre site.  Unless the deed restriction is lifted, the new elementary building will be built on the 7 acres we own, leaving the other 4 acres approximately as is.
 

What would happen to all of the trees bordering the properties on the west portion of the entire area?

We have told the architect to try to save as many of the mature trees as possible along the west side of the site to keep the park-like atmosphere. Due to current easements, those areas are hard to build on, and we share your preference for keeping the trees.

The goal is to maximize greenspace including developing outdoor learning spaces, walking paths and several playgrounds which will be accessible to residents. Lifting the deed restriction will provide us more space, allowing more opportunities to preserve the natural elements that already exist on the property. It will not be possible to answer this question fully until the parking lots and bus/drop-off loops are designed. We will have more information as the project progresses after the vote. 
 

Without seeing the plan of exactly what would be built and where, and how much property will remain for park, recreation and sports, how can we determine if this is the best thing for our community?

The overall layout of the property will dramatically improve to allow for the maximizing of the entire piece of property into one cohesive vision. While the spacing of the green area will change, this plan will lead to new walking paths and playground spaces for families to utilize. By using the entire piece of property, we can also allow for the best traffic flow possible to avoid frustrating neighborhood congestion.
 
Also having a brand new, state of the art, elementary school will positively impact property values.  Ferndale Upper Elementary just down the street will also be renovated, making this area the home to two of the most prestigious and innovative elementary schools in the state. 
 

Was the City of Oak Park aware of Ferndale School District's intent to build this school when it established this Purchase Agreement?

Yes, this plan has been discussed at many public meetings with both the Ferndale School District and the City of Oak Park.