“Split decision” on Township Board’s approval of ‘first reading’ for Rezoning of 7 Park Parcels – Final vote coming up!

On September 10, the Oakland Township Board approved the ‘first reading’ for rezoning seven park parcels from Residential to Recreation/Conservation zoning.  The vote by the Board was 4 to 3.  Supervisor Gonser and two other Board members were opposed to the rezoning. The second reading and a public hearing for the rezoning will occur at the October 8th Board meeting.  

The difference of opinion among the Board members centered around the amount of “active” vs. “passive” use of park land, and the pace at which the park land is being developed into “active” usages by the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Treasurer Langlois pointed out that those decisions are  the “purview” of the Park and Recreation Commission and NOT the Township Board.

Supervisor Gonser’s reluctance to approve the rezoning appears to be an attempt to control the separately elected Parks and Recreation Commission.

Please attend the October 8th meeting to provide your input on the rezoning request.  

Over the past many years, the Parks and Recreation Commission has used funds from the Parks and Recreation Millage, the Land Preservation Millage and Grant Funds to secure property for parks and recreation use in our Township. Park land has also been obtained through land donations.  Historically, after acquiring  a number of parcels, the Parks Commission requested rezoning them from the original zoning to Recreation/Conservation (R/C) zoning in order to protect the land for that usage.

On April 2, 2013 the Planning Commission reviewed the rezoning request for seven Parks and Recreation Commission parcels and recommended that the Township Board approve the rezoning request.  The Township Board had their first discussion on the rezoning at the September 10, 2013 meeting.

Supervisor Gonser raised concerns over the lack of progress that the Parks and Recreation Commission has made in providing ‘active’ usages on our park lands.  He proposed that the Township not rezone the land until after the Parks and Recreation Commission develop a plan for each parcel.  He made those comments with little understanding of the history of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s past efforts and focus.

Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale shared the history behind the Parks and Recreation activities in our Township.

Supervisor Gonser commented that Lake Orion has many more active recreation facilities than Oakland Township.  Mindy Milos-Dale shared the historical reasons why there are differences between our communities, and also why Oakland Township focused on acquiring and preserving land rather than developing each parcel.

Trustee Bailey shared his support for the approach of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Treasurer Langlois pointed out that how the parkland is to be used is the purview of the Parks and Recreation Commission and NOT the Township Board.

Supervisor Gonser appears to want to control or dictate the actions of the Parks and Recreation Commission as evidenced by his comments on how Lake Orion administers parks.

The motion to approve the first reading, set the date for the second reading and set the date for the public hearing was made by Trustee Bailey.  The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 3, Supervisor Gonser being one of the negative votes.

Why is this important to Oakland Township Residents?  The rezoning of the land that has been procured by the Parks and Recreation Commission has always occurred without controversy.  Rezoning the land to Recreation/Conservation will ensure that that land will be used for Parks and Recreation purposes.  The Board and Parks and Recreation Commission should work together, but the responsibility for the development of park land is the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Commission, NOT the Board as Trustee Langlois clearly stated.

Do you want to ensure that the land purchased by the Parks and Recreation Commission be preserved for that use through the rezoning?

Do you agree that the Township Board should have input, but not control or dictate the projects that the separately elected Parks Commission chooses to work on?

Please come to the October 8th, 2013 Township Board meeting to share your thoughts on this very important Township issue!

Richard Michalski

3 thoughts on ““Split decision” on Township Board’s approval of ‘first reading’ for Rezoning of 7 Park Parcels – Final vote coming up!

  1. Robert Yager

    Richard Michalski – This article was balanced and fair and quite complete. Thank you. I have thought that many of your previous posts did not conform to the principles of sound and fair journalism. This one does.

    The important point, to me, is that residents should get involved and make sure that park land is used as they desire. We should not leave the decision to a few — even if the few are in agreement with our own personal views. That is what self-government is all about, in my opinion, – everyone involved. Our ancestors worked hard and suffered greatly to give us self-government. It may not seem that this issue is so big. It is, the issue is not just parks, but whether we citizens will determine the laws, and features of our community or abdicate that responsibility to a few.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: First Time Defeat – Gonser loses Board vote on Parks. | Oakland Township Watchers

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