At the August 12, 2014 Oakland Township Board meeting Supervisor Gonser made statements regarding the Planning Commission’s historical approval of developments in our Township. He used his arguments to justify changes to the members on the Planning Commission.
At the September 2, 2014 Planning Commission meeting, Planning Commission Chairman, James Carter, challenged the accuracy of the Supervisor’s comments. Carter demonstrated that Supervisor Gonser’s allegations are not true, and that Gonser does not understand the Planning Process.
During the discussions that occurred at the August 12 Board meeting, Supervisor Gonser made several negative comments about the current Planning Commission. These comments were used to justify appointing three new members to the Planning Commision (in addition to the two relatively new members that they appointed previously). The Planning Commission consists of seven members. There are now only two experienced Commission members as they undertake revisions to our Township Master Plan.
Supervisor Gonser said:
“The Planning Commission never turned down a subdivision in this Township – not one. Every subdivision that was proposed was approved.”
“Residents are treated very disrespectfully”
At the September 2 Planning Commission meeting, Chairman James Carter first explained that the Supervisor’s statements were not true, and they reflect the Supervisor’s lack of understanding of the Planning Process. Carter went into a very good description of the Planning Process that clearly refutes the Supervisor’s claims. Please watch the attached video.
As a former Oakland Township Planning Commissioner for over 26 years, the Planning Process had never been a ‘political’ one. We were required to ensure that any development that came before us met the State and Local ordinances. We listened to the citizens, but the laws and ordinances ‘trumped’ the opinions of the Planning Commissioners and the citizens. If the Township Board wanted to reject a development for political reasons, that was their prerogative, not the Planning Commission’s. Supervisor Gonser does not understand that, and wants to politicize the Planning Commission. He is doing so by his appointments to the Planning Commission. If the decisions the Planning Commission makes are based on politics and not conformance to laws and ordinances, the already high legal expenses (that Township is paying since the new Board came into power) will continue to climb.
Gonser’s accusation that the Planning Commission has treated the residents disrespectfully is far from factual. Chair James Carter is the epitome of professionalism. On the contrary, Gonser has demonstrated his lack of respect for citizens on many occasions. Here are several examples:
- His refusal to allow former Trustee Keyes to speak at a Board meeting – violating the Board’s bylaws.
- His failure to talk to the two ZBA members (Phelps and Platz) he decided not to reappoint last year. These individuals found out about Gonser’s decision through chance encounters with others in the community.
- A similar example this past month when he decided not to reappoint one of our firefighters to the ZBA (Charles Beach). This individual is dedicated to our Township and puts his life on the line for our Township citizens.
- His allowing some of his ‘supporters’ to speak for more than the 3 minute time limit defined in the by-laws. ‘Adversaries’ are ‘hooked off’ at three minutes.
- His initial refusal to allow Planning Chair, James Carter, to speak early at the August 12 Board meeting so Carter could go to the hospital to be with his family since his father-in-law was in the hospital ‘with his chest open’.
With these actions, Gonser’s accusations of the Planning Commission are hypocritical.
Here is a video of excerpts from the two meetings discussed above. James Carter provides a very good description of the Planning Process.
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The accusations made by Gonser reflect his lack of understanding of the Planning Process, yet he wants to provide ‘strategic direction’ to the Planning Commission. There are many more examples of his lack of knowledge in the links at the end of this post.
The Supervisor considers himself omniscient and omnipotent. The other Staff members and Board members need to both ‘enlighten’ him and ‘control’ him, since he has demonstrated that he is neither.
His mistreatment of citizens proves the point:
Here are some related links that were previously posted on this website: