At the May 6, 2014 Oakland Township Planning Commission meeting, Commissioner Ron Hein announced that he met with Supervisor Gonser and Gonser wants to provide a Strategy document that the Planning Commission was to use in developing the Long Range Vision for the Township in terms of Planning and Development. Planning Commission chair, James Carter, pointed out that the Planning Commission has the legal responsibility for developing the Master Plan not the Township Board.
At the May 6th meeting, Ron Hein said:
“He (Gonser) wants to formulate a strategy document that will be a long range vision for the Township in terms of Planning and Development. . . . . It would let him give some guidance to the Master Plan Development in terms of land use and future development.”
Chair Carter responded by pointing out that the Master Plan is the responsibility of the Planning Commission and not the Township Board. He went on to say:
“These people (the Planning Commission members) are educated in Planning. The Board has clearly illustrated that they are not.”
Here is a video of that discussion:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? This is yet another example of Supervisor Gonser’s attempt to totally control the Township. The Master Plan development process is a lengthy one that involves getting input from the many diverse citizens of Oakland Township. Having the Supervisor provide his ‘strategic’ input implies that his vision (or the Board’s if he gathered their input) is more valuable than that of the citizens. The Planning Commission members take training in the many aspects of planning, the Township Board does not.
Historically, the Master Plan development has been a very ‘open’ and ‘visible’ process that allows the citizens to help create the future ‘vision’ of our community. Gonser’s attempt to influence the process diminishes the importance of broad citizen involvement. Gonser appears to think he is ‘omniscient’. His actions confirm that he thinks he is ‘omnipotent’.
As existing Planning Commission member’s tenure comes to an end. Gonser and the Board will have opportunities to appoint people that will ‘bow to’ Supervisor Gonser’s wishes. The diverse opinions that our Township encouraged and used in making decisions may come to an end.
Richard Michalski – Former Planning Commission member for 26 years
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