The Oakland Township Board moved quickly to take action to protect our Township from new oil or gas drilling sites at inappropriate locations in our Township. At the July 14, 2015 Board meeting, the Board approved two motions in 5 to 0 votes. Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Giannangeli were not present.
Newly appointed Trustee Frank Ferriolo made the two motions. One motion directed the Planning Commission to review our Zoning Ordinances and propose changes they feel may be needed. The second motion placed a 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in our Township.
Here are the two motions:
“The matter of zoning oil and gas drilling within Oakland Township be referred to the Oakland Township Planning Commission for review and consideration of amendments to the Township Zoning Ordinance, and that any such amendments or recommendations be provided to the Board of Trustees in writing within 4 months.”
“Pending a review and consideration of amendments to the Township Zoning Ordinance by the Planning Commission and Township Board of Trustees, a moratorium of 6 months be placed on any zoning or permitting approval of any oils or gas drilling within the Charter Township of Oakland.”
These motions were based on recommendations from our Township Attorney in response to the Board’s June 23, 2015 request.
Thanks should go to the many citizens that provided input at the June 23 BOT meeting. Special thanks should go to Erin Howlett, from the “Don’t Drill the Hills” group, and Denise Demak from the Shelby “Citizens Against Residential Drilling” group (CARD), for their help in making this issue visible in our community, but more importantly, helping our Township leadership use their communities’ ‘lessons learned’.
Here is a video of the two motions:
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? The Board has moved with unprecedented speed in taking action on this issue. We do not know what the Planning Commission and Board will do over the next few months, but the actions taken at the July 14th meeting give our community the time to put in place defensible ordinances that protect both individual property owner rights and rights of the greater community.
The Board’s quick action is a testament to how our Township can benefit from taking advantage of other communities solutions to regional issues. No one person or group has a monopoly of good ideas. Our Board appears to now recognize that.
Time will tell what the Planning Commission and Board ultimately agree upon, but this is a very good first step.