As Dick Michalski recently pointed out Supervisor Gonser demonstrated the lack of depth of his understanding of Oakland Township’s land development laws and guidelines when he said “Right now, the zoning is set up to develop Oakland Township just like Rochester Hills and Troy.”.
This could hardly be farther from the truth. Over the coming weeks we will post a number of facts about our Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance so that our readers are better equipped to evaluate Gonser’s statement.
In this post I am going to dispute his statement by writing about how just one single aspect of our Master Plan makes our township very different from Rochester Hills and Troy. Our current Future Land Use Plan (Chapter 12 of the Master Plan) is one of the most important parts of our Master Plan. The Future Land Use Plan divides the township into six Conservation Districts. These Districts restrict the number of acres that may be developed versus how many acres should be preserved. More than 60% of the land in the Township (14,259 acres or 22 square miles ) is classified in two of these Districts:
|District||# Acres in District||# acres preserved vs. developed|
|NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION||7,823||10/1|
|LOW DENSITY CONSERVATION||6,436||5/1|
This is serious preservation vs. development control!
The lands that are classified this way are generally north of Buell Road and the Master Plan says to develop here you will need to leave a lot more land untouched than you disturb.
The Planning Commission will be able to work with these District level guidelines in a variety of ways ranging from:
- strictly applying the preservation ratios on a project by project basis;
- or looking at the ratio across the entire District;
- or a combination of both.
Our Natural Resource Conservation District ( 10 to 1 preservation ratio) already includes Bald Mountain Park, some of Addison Oaks and some Township Parkland so, taken on a District level, the 10 to 1 ratio would not be as restrictive as it sounds. Subtracting some or all of this already preserved acreage and protected wetlands from the 7,823 acres in that District would yield a much more feasible ratio to apply to individual development projects.
You can be sure that Supervisor Gonser did not find guidelines like these in the Rochester Hills and Troy Master Plans.
Our current zoning ordinance is inextricably linked to our Master Plan’s requirements. The Master Plan is mentioned 17 times in the zoning ordinance with language like “in accordance with”, “consistent with” and “in keeping with the policy objectives of”. So the master plan cannot be ignored.
There are many parts of the Master Plan that will, if taken seriously by the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees, continue to create an exceptional community where attractive neighborhoods harmonize with carefully preserved natural beauty.
Does Supervisor Gonser plan to respect and follow the Master Plan?
- He has removed every sitting Planning Commissioner and Zoning Board of Appeals member who’s term was up for renewal and replaced them with his campaign contributors.
- When filling Trustee vacancies, he has ignored experienced applicants who have served the Township and, most recently, resisted the Board of Trustees desire to publicize the vacancy to give the citizens a good opportunity to apply. He just wanted to appoint another one of his cronies.
- His new handpicked Township Manager has said that the Master Plan needs to be changed to reflect the needs of developers.
- What did he mean when he said in email and publicly that United Nations Agenda 21 initiatives are having a significant impact on the Township. That our ordinances are already full of Agenda 21 initiatives… It has to do with environmental mischief that is going on in the Township… The overriding umbrella of Agenda 21 it is to eliminate the automobile, to eliminate all sorts of motorized transportation except mass transit and have heavy emphasis on bicycles? Does this strike you as respect for our environmental and zoning ordinances and our Master Plan?
What will be the future of our Township if Supervisor Gonser gets his way and changes the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance to somehow agree with this radical ideology?
Jim Foulkrod – former Planning Commissioner (20 years)