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Old 08-10-2016, 07:02 PM
 
6 posts, read 6,556 times
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I am from Toledo, OH and moved to Nashville to complete a program at Vanderbilt. I now have a tremendous opportunity in Grand Blanc. From the research I have done Grand Blanc doesn't seem like a horrible place to live. However, coming from Downtown Nashville I am wondering what city will offer the most for my wife and I to do who are both in are early 30's without kids.

We love concerts, sports (diehard wings, tigers, lions, pistons and um fan), shopping, lakes/boating, good food, and occasionally gastropubs and breweries. I am looking to drive no further than 30-35 minutes to Grand Blanc. Also all of my family lives in Toledo, and my wife will be looking for a job so I don't know if we should live in Grand Blanc bc I would prefer for her to not work in Flint. In addition we are looking for low crime and good schools should we have kids. Oh and we also love places where we can walk to as far as the amenities/downtown.

With all this in mind I was wondering if anyone can give advice to the cities it seems may be a logical choice. My best friend also lives in Rochester.

Considering:

Grand Blanc
Fenton
Waterford/Clarkston
Brighton
Howell
Auburn Hills
Holly

Thanks in advance for any advice ! Please comment on these cities or any additional I may have missed.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,819 posts, read 5,389,118 times
Reputation: 5266
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanPatrick10 View Post
I am from Toledo, OH and moved to Nashville to complete a program at Vanderbilt. I now have a tremendous opportunity in Grand Blanc. From the research I have done Grand Blanc doesn't seem like a horrible place to live. However, coming from Downtown Nashville I am wondering what city will offer the most for my wife and I to do who are both in are early 30's without kids.

We love concerts, sports (diehard wings, tigers, lions, pistons and um fan), shopping, lakes/boating, good food, and occasionally gastropubs and breweries. I am looking to drive no further than 30-35 minutes to Grand Blanc. Also all of my family lives in Toledo, and my wife will be looking for a job so I don't know if we should live in Grand Blanc bc I would prefer for her to not work in Flint. In addition we are looking for low crime and good schools should we have kids. Oh and we also love places where we can walk to as far as the amenities/downtown.

With all this in mind I was wondering if anyone can give advice to the cities it seems may be a logical choice. My best friend also lives in Rochester.

Considering:

Grand Blanc
Fenton
Waterford/Clarkston
Brighton
Howell
Auburn Hills
Holly

Thanks in advance for any advice ! Please comment on these cities or any additional I may have missed.

Grand Blanc- good schools, very safe. From the I-75 Grand Blanc exits, it is going to be 25-30 minutes to Baldwin Rd, which is where the beginning of the more populated Metro Detroit area starts. It isn't going to have a ton of things to do, but it is conveniently located. Genesee County does have a good park system. Not very walkable. Very sprawled, no real downtown area. Not a ton of character. Non-existent traffic.

Fenton- good schools (there are two districts, but both are fine), very safe. Less conveniently located to the Metro Detroit amenities, but easier access to Ann Arbor. It will be an easier commute to your family in Ohio. You have more outdoor recreation to Grand Blanc, but less access to shopping/restaurants/etc.. Fenton has a Target and stuff like that, but it will be farther from other things. Non-existent traffic.

Waterford- okay schools, safe. This is going to be a good 35-45 minute commute to Grand Blanc because it isn't located along I-75. Traffic will be a bigger issue. Running simple errands around town will take much longer, despite the more amenities. Not as convenient to some Metro Detroit things as you'd think, due to the distance to the expressways.

Clarkston- good schools, very safe. Once you get to Dixie Highway, you will have more traffic but more amenities. Personally, I prefer the area around downtown. Downtown to Grand Blanc is going to be about 20-25 minutes. Traffic doesn't pick up until the areas around Dixie, so it may or may not be a factor. Obviously, this is closer to the Metro Detroit amenities. If I were not to chose to live in Genesee County, based on the location of your job, Clarkston would probably be my pick. (Personally, I'd live in Genesee County, but depending on where your wife will find a job, this is a good option.) The best downtown/walkable area on your list. But the downtown is tiny.

Brighton- This commute will be at 40-45 minutes. It really doesn't have anything to offer that closer cities won't have. If you plan on visiting Toledo a lot, I guess it makes some sense. Or if your wife finds a job in Ann Arbor or something. Otherwise, I personally wouldn't really consider it.

Howell- Same as Brighton. 40-45 minute commute. Maybe if your wife worked in Lansing, but otherwise, I'd skip it. Brighton is the nicer city, so if you want the drive, I'd do that instead.

Auburn Hills- schools are mediocre. Some areas are serviced by Pontiac schools, and they are less than mediocre. To Grand Blanc, you are looking in the 30-45 minute range, depending on the exact location. I live in Grand Blanc and I can get from the mall on Baldwin Road to my house in about 30 minutes, as long as traffic on Baldwin Road cooperates. Unfortunately, that area is the farthest north, so your commute would likely be longer. It does have easy access to a lot of things. But, you will have a lot of traffic.

Holly- good schools, very safe. Pretty rural, so you will be driving to get to most things. Easy commute. Depending on locations, it could be 5 minutes or 20.

The more you go into Oakland County, the more traffic will be an issue. I'm not even talking about rush hour on the expressway. Running errands on a Saturday takes a while because of the traffic. Most of Oakland County isn't really walkable. It is sprawl and more sprawl.

Flint really isn't as bad as people make it out to be. There are terrible areas/neighborhoods, but nothing is there for you to go to, so it isn't likely you'd accidentally wander into one. Downtown is nice and I enjoy walking around with friends. On Fridays during the summer, they usually have events like Art Walks and stuff.
Personally, I think Davison and Flushing are worth looking in to. Both are much more walkable than any other city on your list. Both have great sense of communities, which is lacking with many of the cities you listed.
A job for your wife many have to be a determining factor. Depending on the field, a job in this area can be hard to find. Health care, retail, manufacturing/shop work is pretty easy to find. Other fields, much harder. The Flint area is very convenient though- 25 minutes to Lapeer, 30 to Saginaw, 60 to Midland, 60 to Lansing, 65 to Detroit, 60 to Ann Arbor. Those are all rough numbers from Flint itself. You can shorten a commute by the suburb. Clio will cut 15 minutes off a commute to Midland. Swartz Creek will cut 10 off a commute to Lansing. Grand Blanc will cut 10 off a commute to Detroit. You get the picture.

Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Farmington Hills, MI
70 posts, read 111,606 times
Reputation: 94
My intitial thoughts would be Clarkston and Lake Orion. Both have small downtowns with restaurants. Being in northern Oakland County puts you a reasonable drive to the Grand Blanc area and close to the sports in Detroit, and the Pistons in Auburn Hills. Northern Oakland County also has a bunch of lakes, parks that you can utilize. Great Lakes Crossing mall is in Auburn Hills in case you guys are mall-sey type people. In the event you want bigger towns, you could always look further south like Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Troy, or if you have the budget, Birmingham perhaps. Grand Blanc would be a straight shot up I-75 from those locations and you would be doing a reverse-commute, so 30-35 minutes or less would be totally do-able.

I personally like Genesee County though. I lived in Grand Blanc Township for a while and loved it. Fenton and Linden were also great places. There's definitely a lot of options for you depending on what exactly you want in a town.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:46 PM
 
6 posts, read 6,556 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you both so much, this is extremely helpful! I guess one thing I am confused about is Clarkston. Online it says it has a population of 900 but I remember wrestling them many years ago and they were division one. I just assumed Waterford and Clarkston were like the same place. I like the location of Clarkston on the map, can anybody elaborate the difference b/w Clarkston and Waterford? What is Lake Orion like? Also, my wife is a dental assistant just FYI with a great deal of experience. I am actually from Temperance/Lambertville if anyone is familiar with those towns. I really enjoyed growing up there, however I don't love Toledo and just want to try something new.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:50 PM
 
945 posts, read 1,074,827 times
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Its going to be difficult to meet all of those exact criteria so you need to prioritize what is your top 1-2 things that are deal-breakers.

Personally, I would stay out of the Metro Detroit sprawl if at all possible. You will avoid the traffic and housing prices by staying farther out. Thus, I would look no farther southeast on I-75 than Clarkston, and no farther south on US-23 that Hartland.

I'd strongly consider Grand Blanc, Clarkston, Holly, Fenton, Linden, Hartland. I even hear of people in that area over in Goodrich and Davison.

I'd rule out Waterford and Brighton simply due to distance.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:57 PM
 
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Waterford is a little far, but the commute might be worth it especially since it has so many lakes. It is really a beautiful place. Lake Orion is good as it is not too far from Oakland County. So, you can easily take advantage of all the shopping and entertainment in Metro Detroit. Plus, Lake Orion is off I-75 and you can track down to Toledo.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,192,205 times
Reputation: 3605
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanPatrick10 View Post
Thank you both so much, this is extremely helpful! I guess one thing I am confused about is Clarkston. Online it says it has a population of 900 but I remember wrestling them many years ago and they were division one. I just assumed Waterford and Clarkston were like the same place. I like the location of Clarkston on the map, can anybody elaborate the difference b/w Clarkston and Waterford? What is Lake Orion like? Also, my wife is a dental assistant just FYI with a great deal of experience. I am actually from Temperance/Lambertville if anyone is familiar with those towns. I really enjoyed growing up there, however I don't love Toledo and just want to try something new.

Thanks again!
Waterford is a charter township. A township is the lowest form of government in Michigan and generally all rural areas within Michigan are covered by townships. Most townships rely on the county for services.

A charter township is a step above and gives the local government powers to establish municipal services like police and fire, and to buy property within their jurisdiction, as well as levy taxes up to 5 mills. It also makes it more difficult for nearby cities to annex any or all of their township.

Clarkston is an incorporated village. It has powers similar to a fully incorporated city, but lacks complete autonomy and has to share services with the township they're located in. Often times, a township, (in this case Independence Township), will be considered apart of Clarkston and you'll often find properties in Independence Township with Clarkston listed as the primary city, regardless of whether they are in Clarkston's boundaries or not.

Waterford doesn't have any incorporated villages within its boundaries, but it does provide its own municipal services. Therefore, it's generally referred to as Waterford Township or simply Waterford.

Waterford's boundary with Independence Township/Clarkston isn't very defined since it cuts through some lakes and doesn't follow any roads for the most part. So entirely it's possible that you could have had a property that was bisected by the boundary and had to deal with both Waterford and Clarkston.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,819 posts, read 5,389,118 times
Reputation: 5266
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanPatrick10 View Post
Thank you both so much, this is extremely helpful! I guess one thing I am confused about is Clarkston. Online it says it has a population of 900 but I remember wrestling them many years ago and they were division one. I just assumed Waterford and Clarkston were like the same place. I like the location of Clarkston on the map, can anybody elaborate the difference b/w Clarkston and Waterford? What is Lake Orion like? Also, my wife is a dental assistant just FYI with a great deal of experience. I am actually from Temperance/Lambertville if anyone is familiar with those towns. I really enjoyed growing up there, however I don't love Toledo and just want to try something new.

Thanks again!
Population statistics can be tricky with townships and stuff. Independence Township has a Clarkston address and is part of Clarkston Schools. This is where the more populated areas of Clarkston are. The transition from Clarkston to Waterford along Dixie Highway is unnoticeable. Clarkston along Dixie is different from Clarkston along M-15, where the downtown is. Personally, I much prefer the less traffic and chaos, so I like the downtown better.

Lake Orion looks close, but it is a solid 40 minute drive. Much longer on days there is a concert at DTE.

I don't know the market for anything related to dentistry, but it shouldn't be much of an issue, I don't think. Very few dentists in Flint proper, so safety really wouldn't be an issue.

Sticking to Genesee County, or at the very least northern Oakland County (Clarkston/Holly) will keep you out of traffic. Plus, it is pretty convenient to other cities, as I mentioned before. Plus, Genesee County is much, much cheaper COL wise. I choose to commute to downtown Detroit from Grand Blanc every day. (I wish I could live in Davison, but it'd add 15-20 more minutes to my already long commute.) As long as it isn't rush hour, I average 50-60 minutes on the way home, or if I go in after 9:30. Going in at 7:00 or 7:30 will take me 75 minutes. (8-9 am will take 90+). Anyway, my point is that you can quickly access the major sports arenas and the fancier shopping/restaurants with an hour drive or less.
The Genesee Valley Mall doesn't have your super high-end stores, but it has consistently held a very high occupancy rate, so there is plenty of shopping and typical chain restaurants, too. You'll find a lot of local restaurants once you get away from the mall area.

Someone mentioned Goodrich, but unless you want really rural, I'd scratch that. Two stoplights and not even a grocery store. There is a Subway, Dollar General, Rite Aid, and two gas stations. From what you describe you want, I think it may be a bit too remote.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,819 posts, read 5,389,118 times
Reputation: 5266
Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Waterford is a charter township. A township is the lowest form of government in Michigan and generally all rural areas within Michigan are covered by townships. Most townships rely on the county for services.

A charter township is a step above and gives the local government powers to establish municipal services like police and fire, and to buy property within their jurisdiction, as well as levy taxes up to 5 mills. It also makes it more difficult for nearby cities to annex any or all of their township.

Clarkston is an incorporated village. It has powers similar to a fully incorporated city, but lacks complete autonomy and has to share services with the township they're located in. Often times, a township, (in this case Independence Township), will be considered apart of Clarkston and you'll often find properties in Independence Township with Clarkston listed as the primary city, regardless of whether they are in Clarkston's boundaries or not.

Waterford doesn't have any incorporated villages within its boundaries, but it does provide its own municipal services. Therefore, it's generally referred to as Waterford Township or simply Waterford.

Waterford's boundary with Independence Township/Clarkston isn't very defined since it cuts through some lakes and doesn't follow any roads for the most part
. So entirely it's possible that you could have had a property that was bisected by the boundary and had to deal with both Waterford and Clarkston.
I was typing as you posted. You went into a bit more detail with the government stuff, but funny how the bolded sentence is almost exactly what I said
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:39 PM
 
6 posts, read 6,556 times
Reputation: 10
Great info again, thank you all for taking the time!
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