At the March 25th Oakland Township Board meeting, John Markel, one of Supervisor Gonser’s recommended Zoning Board of Appeals members, expressed his vision of what our Township Zoning should be. If what he envisions ever got approved by the Planning Commission and the Township Board, the character of our Township would change dramatically.
One agenda item on the March 25th Oakland Township Board meeting was a discussion about modifying the previous Court Order limiting the type of commercial use allowed at the Rochester Cider Mill on Rochester Road. There were people their who supported the changes, and some who did not.
John Markel, one of our Township Zoning Board of Appeals members who was nominated by Supervisor Gonser, without being acknowledged by Supervisor Gonser for ‘having the floor’, made comments indicating that he believes the zoning in our Township needs to be changed.
Here is a video of his comments:
John Markel appears to believe that the Township’s existing zoning map is not in line with the desires of our residents. Oakland Township has been very meticulous in determining what type of development the citizens desire in Oakland Township. The current Zoning reflects their desires.
The Rochester corridor in Oakland Township is zoned primarily residential, unlike further South in Rochester. Any land owner may request a “special land use” for their property, but those usages are strictly controlled in our Zoning Ordinances. The applicant must endure intense reviews of their plans before the Planning Commission and the Township Board approve it. This rigorous process ensures that nearby residents’ interests are protected. Wholesale changes in zoning of the property along Rochester or Orion Roads, to more intense usages, as John Markel is suggesting, would have a significant impact on the character of our Township.
Oakland Township could benefit if the Rochester Cider Mill became a ‘destination point’ for those interested in visiting our Township. This may happen if an agreement between the Township Board, the nearby residents and the property owner can be worked out. However, care must be taken to ensure that future owners of the property are not allowed to use it for things that the adjacent homeowners find objectionable.
John Markel’s suggestion to significantly rezone our Township is not only frightening, but totally inappropriate.
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Supervisor Gonser recommended John Markel as a new Zoning Board member in the fall of 2013. As other re-appointments come up during our current Board’s tenure, one would expect Gonser to continue to put forward candidates that share both his and John Markel’s land use beliefs. If this occurs, the character of our Township will change dramatically. Citizens need to be prepared to provide input when those positions come up for re-appointments.
Richard Michalski- Former Planning Commission member for 26 years