Monthly Archives: April 2014

Trustee Thalmann accuses fellow Board members of agreements outside Public Meeting

At the March 18th Oakland Township Board budget workshop, Trustee Thalmann accused other Board members of meeting with the Township Manager outside an open meeting and agreeing upon changes to the Budget Proposal.  Those accusations proved to be false.  Trustee Thalmann and Supervisor Gonser’s  “minority position” on a number of recent issues appears to be causing strife between the Board members. 

At the March 11th Oakland Township Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser requested that each Board member meet with the Township manager to answer any questions they may have of the proposed budget, and express any concerns related to any line items.  These meetings were intended to consolidate issues that each Board member had, and would then be discussed at the March 18th Budget workshop.

At the March 18th meeting, Trustee Thalmann stated she was sent an email over the weekend indicating that meetings between Board members and the Township Manager were taking place, and that decisions were being made without her. She stated:

“A majority (of the Board) had agreed about changes to the Budget.”

She went on to say:

“What I learned from this was that my vote is worthless.”

She argued that she was not given an opportunity to provide input into what she believed to have been decisions made on the Budget.  She continued by saying:

“I think the Supervisor and I are reasonable!”

One of the Board members asked her where she was getting her information.  She responded by saying it was in an email she received on Sunday night. Several of the Board members indicated they had not received any email.  Thalmann then responded by saying:

“I assumed it went to everybody”

Treasurer Langlois stated:

” I did not ask Ann (Capella) to change the Budget…….There can’t be changes without an agreement of the Board!”

Gonser stated:

“I think there were perceptions that those discussions were held.”

Here is a video of the discussion at that meeting:

Editorial Comment: Trustee Thalmann’s accusations were unfounded.  The Board was doing precisely what had been requested of them. By her comment, “I think the Supervisor and I are reasonable”, the accusations appear to be based on the fact that several recent Board decisions had Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Thalmann in the minority position.  Her vote on those issues, although not “worthless”, did not have any impact on the decision.  Her comments at this meeting, and her incessant attacks on the Parks and Recreation Commission indicate a paranoid, childish and vindictive approach to her leadership style.  “Nixonian” might be an appropriate term for it.  Please watch the above video to form your own opinion!

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Oakland Township’s leadership must be objective.  Decisions must be based on facts, not emotions or ideology.  Trustee Thalmann’s repeated emotional outbursts raise serious questions as to whether she is the type of leader we deserve.

Richard Michalski

Character of Oakland Township would change dramatically if Zoning Board of Appeals member has his way

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