As Nicole Curtis’ fans await the November premiere of her three-hour HGTV special, “Rehab Addict Lake House Rescue,” the restoration expert is leading an increasingly nasty fight against a “monster developer” in her hometown of Lake Orion, Michigan — right where the new show was filmed.
Nicole Curtis Takes On Major Developer in Michigan
When the three-episode series “Rehab Addict Lake House Rescue” premieres on November 3, it will chronicle Curtis’ efforts to restore a 1904 lakeside cottage she bought in 2014 and completed this year. On Instagram, she has frequently shared glimpses of the finished house in Lake Orion, where she grew up, along with some of the challenges she and her team faced while returning the home to its original glory.
But she’s also been sharing her efforts to keep properties like the lake house from being torn down by a local developer. No stranger to controversy or conflict, Curtis hopped on a plane from New York when she learned a public hearing had been scheduled on August 1, 2022, about three proposed developments in Lake Orion, a town of 3,000, eager to confront the Commission. Curtis predicted at the time it would become her “loudest fight yet.”
Curtis joined lots of residents concerned about plans to let Michigan developer Moceri Homes raze multiple old properties along the lakeshore to build apartments, retail spaces, and boat slips. The council chamber was packed with residents that evening, voicing their concerns about the economic and ecological impact of the proposed development. Curtis took to the podium twice, calling the plans “absolutely ridiculous” and questioning the legality of the commission’s process.
Curtis then helped to spearhead a campaign against Moceri Homes, leveraging social media, news stations, and local signage to try to inspire more residents to speak up and pressure the council to vote against the development.
In an interview with Detroit news station WXYZ, the development firm’s founder, Dominic Moceri, blasted Curtis’ efforts, saying, “Those that want to spread misinformation by Facebook and just conjecture and haven’t seen the plans, have been against what they don’t know.”
Nicole Curtis Says She’ll Keep Fighting Despite Approval of Development
Despite Curtis’ efforts, the council unanimously approved two of the three developments in early October; the third project is delayed because it involves a marina with 100 boat slips and needs further planning. Though Curtis was disappointed by the vote, she vowed she’ll keep fighting and is now backing a friend, Riva Beatty, who’s campaigning to unseat one of the members of the council as a write-in candidate in November.
On October 8, Curtis took to social media to taunt Moceri and fire up her followers. In her Instagram Stories, she shared multiple photos of old houses that will be torn down, accusing Moceri of ignoring their historic value and for calling homes she believes she could restore “too far gone to save.”
“Come on, Dominic-cut the bull pucky…You’re team can’t handle the truth,” she wrote over one photo after urging fans to write and call the developer.
Over photos of Detroit’s Ransom Gillis mansion, which she refurbished in 2015, Curtis wrote, “Who the f do you think you’re talking to ???” and advised Moceri to “check your egos at the old door you kicked in.”
In a Facebook post that same day about her upcoming HGTV show, Curtis wrote, “Ironically, this 3 hour special is airing as a monster developer has plans to demo 15 historic properties in this tiny town of mine. It’s insane that after all these years of proving again and again that any building can be saved —We still watch handmade custom homes go into landfills.”
Two days later, Curtis told the Detroit Free Press that the homes on the chopping block are historical treasures, even if some are abandoned.
“We’ve done historical surveys on all these properties, which means that my team and myself have gone through them, assessed them, looked for interior details that are intact, exterior details that are intact,” she said.
Michael Lamb, a member of the Planning Commission and Village Council, said regulating and historic structures is outside of their jurisdiction and that it’s up to the developer to propose that kind of protection. He also said the town is “revenue starved” and hopes the proposed projects will be good for the local economy.
“Based on the recommendations of our planning consultant, our engineering consultant, and our attorney and the review of the Planning Commission, Moceri met all the requirements necessary for site plan approval for his two projects,” he said.
In an email to the newspaper, Dominic Moceri said none of the homes that will be replaced have been officially deemed historic, but that they do plan to reconstruct and enhance two of the homes they have purchased or plan to purchase.
Curtis, meanwhile, has moved onto Wyoming, where she’s refurbishing another old home, but has promised to keep returning to Lake Orion to help keep the fight going. “Rehab Addict Lake House Rescue” premieres November 3 at 9pm Eastern and Pacific on HGTV.