Oakland Township’s Planning Commission plays a vital role in defining the future character of our Township. The commission members are appointed for three year terms by the Board. The Supervisor has responsibility for nominating the individuals for the commission. One of our citizens offered some recommendations on how to ensure the nomination process is transparent and in compliance with the criteria for selecting commission members. Will the Supervisor use any of these recommendations, or will he continue to recommend contributors to his campaign as he has done for his past two appointments? Will the Board exercise their right to fully ‘vet’ the candidate in public? Your input to the Township Board may make a difference! The next Board meeting is July 8th.
Oakland Township’s Planning Commission is a very important appointed group of individuals that define the direction that the Township will take in the future. One of the key responsibilities of this group is to ensure proposed developments, that property owners bring forward to the Township, are in compliance with the Township’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Another responsibility of the Commission is to review and revise the Township’s Master Plan every few years to ensure that it is consistent with the current thinking of the residents of the Township.
The seven Planning Commission members are appointed by the Township Board at the recommendation of the Township Supervisor. The Board must approve the individuals that are appointed to the Board. These appointments are for three years. The appointments are staggered. In addition, there may be openings that occur if a commissioner quits.
There has been one opening for several months where the Supervisor has not brought forward a candidate for the Board to consider. The Board will also have to consider the two appointments that are ‘coming up’ this fall.
One of our residents, who has been involved in Human Resource Management in his career, made several recommendations on how the candidate review process should work. He stated that there are statutory criteria that the Board is to use when considering candidates for the positions. These criteria are:
- The Commission is to be representative of the entire Township’s geography.
- The Commission is to have diversity that includes various segments and interests in the Township.
His recommendations include:
- The current chair of the Planning Commission should develop and present to the Board a brief synopsis of the current membership and how they fit the criteria.
- The Board should start the process of soliciting possible candidates as soon as possible to increase the potential candidate pool.
- Full consideration should be given to commission members whose term is expiring, if they are interested, to ensure that a high level of experience is retained on the commission.
- There should be a full review of the candidates in a public forum where the individuals could be asked questions by the entire Board members.
He stated his recommendations were aimed at:
- Providing a level of transparency in the selection process.
- Recognizing the requirements of the ordinance with regard to the appointments.
- Sustaining a Commission that plays a vital roll in our Township.
Here is video of Reg Brown’s recommendation:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Planning Commission plays a very important role in defining the future of our Township. These positions must be filled with people with the diverse perspectives in our Township, and should not be filled with individuals that only satisfy the Supervisor’s views on issues and are his political contributors. The suggestions provide a framework for the ENTIRE Board to play a vital role in the appointment process in a transparent manner.
Any individuals interested in being considered for the Planning Commission should contact the Township Hall and fill out an application.
Richard Michalski – Former Planning Commission member (and chair) for over 26 years