There were a number of concerned citizens who were at the June 23, 2015 Board of Oakland Township meeting sharing their concerns over the potential drilling for oil and gas in our community. Their concerns focused on the negative impact that drilling would have on surrounding residential properties, the aquifers that supply drinking water in our community and sensitive environmental parcels. One of the citizens was a person from Rochester Hills who has become very knowledgable on the oil and gas drilling issue in their community. She made several recommendations to our Board and offered to work with Staff to help them come up to speed quickly on this issue.
The Board listened to the citizen concerns and suggestions, and asked that the Township attorney investigate the possibility of implementing a ‘moratorium’ on new drilling sites until we have an opportunity to review and potentially update our zoning ordinance. The Board asked that the attorney provide the Board feedback by the next Board meeting on July 14th.
A video of several of the key items discussed at the meeting is shown here:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? An aggressive approach by our Board at investigating establishing a moratorium, as several other communities have done, to give the Planning Commission time to look at modifying our Zoning Ordinance for Board approval, could decrease the likelihood of wells being drilled in inappropriate areas. This will be a challenge given the restrictions that are placed on Township’s in regulating well locations, but the Attorney indicated our Zoning Ordinance is the only way we will be able to control well locations in the future.
One of the Trustees suggested that the residents need to contact their State Legislators to ask them to support measures that would give local communities more control on oil and gas drilling.
The Planning Commission does not need the approval of the Board to begin to study possible changes to the zoning ordinance. They should consider the advice of the Township Planning Consultant and the Township Attorney. However, they do not need to wait until the Board makes a decision on a ‘moratorium’. I recommend that citizens attend the July 7th Planning Commission and request they start the process now.
A special thanks goes out to all the concerned citizens from Oakland Township, and our surrounding communities, that came out to share their perspectives on this issue at the June 23rd meeting.