Monthly Archives: September 2015

Planning Commissioner disappointed that Gonser did not add much needed experience to Planning Commission

At the September 1, 2015 Planning Commission meeting, Planning Commissioner Danny Beer expressed his disappointment that the Supervisor did not take advantage of the experienced candidates that submitted their applications for the two open Planning Commission positions.  He acknowledged the need for adding people with Planning experience to the inexperienced Planning Commission and said the Supervisor “missed the boat by not putting some experience on this Planning Commission.”

Danny Beer is a Gonser appointment to the Planning Commission.  He was added to the Planning Commission in 2014.  Danny was present at the September 31st Board meeting where two Planning Commission appointments were to have been made.  As previously reported, Supervisor Gonser wanted to appoint two individuals with no Zoning or Planning experience.  The Board did not accept his recommendations.  Gonser refused to nominate other candidates that did have Planning or Zoning experience.

At the September 1 Planning Commission meeting, Danny Beer stated:

“I was disappointed, personally disappointed, that there wasn’t more consideration given to the applicants who had a lot of experience. There were a a couple of people that were very anxious to be a part of this, with a lot of background, and I am new and have less planning experience than you guys that have at least dealt with it in your other workings.  I never have.

In my opinion, we need some experienced help –  some people to fall back on.  Both of you guys have been very helpful, John and Ron, but we are all new at this, and I really feel we missed the boat by not putting some experience on this Planning Commission! “

Other Planning Commission members expressed their hope that the Supervisor would nominate one or two of the candidates that have the much needed experience and have submitted their applications for the openings.

Here is a video of the discussion at the Planning Commission meeting:

Adding fuel to the fire, Gonser was quoted in an article in the 9/1/15 edition of the Oakland Press as saying:

“I have to talk to people around the community and see who’s interested.  Unless they’ve served on the planning commission, they don’t have experience.”

This statement reveals two things:

  • He does not intend to nominate any of the more experienced people who have applied for consideration.
  • He either doesn’t understand the type of experience being sought by the Board members who spoke on the record  on the matter or he is spitefully misrepresenting their opinions in order to present himself as a victim of the Board’s refusal to support him.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With six of the seven Board members recognizing the need for adding Planning experience to the Planning Commission, with several candidates having the much needed experience, and with a plea for help from the Planning Commission for that help, why would the Supervisor be reluctant to appoint individuals that have submitted their applications and are very qualified to help the Planning Commission?

If Gonser does not take appropriate action at the next Board meeting, I am afraid the Township may get involved in yet another legal issue that will do nothing but hurt Oakland Township.

The Supervisor needs to accept reality, and do what is right for the Township, not his ego!

Richard Michalski and Jim Foulkrod

 

 

Township Board does not approve Supervisor Gonser’s Planning Commission nominees!

At the July 31, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Township Board did not approve either of the two candidates that Supervisor Gonser brought forward for consideration for replacing Janine Saputo and James Carter on the Planning Commission.  Saputo was the Planning Commission’s Secretary, and Carter was the Chairperson of the Commission.  Their terms of appointment are up on September 1.  The Supervisor refused to consider other applicants that the Board members felt were more qualified to meet the immediate needs of the Township.

The Supervisor indicated his selection of the nominees was based on gender diversity, where the nominees lived in the Township, and whether they lived on large parcels of property.

The reason the Board did not approve the two nominees was that the nominees did not have any Township experience in Zoning or Planning.  The Board pointed out that with the previous changes to the Planning Commission, and other Planning personnel changes, the Township’s Planning experience has dropped below a critical level.  One Trustee referred to the loss of expertise as a ‘hemorrhage’.

There were 13 residents that supported the Board’s position and their concern for the level of experience on the Planning Commission.  There were only three individuals that supported Gonser’s position.  One of the three was former Trustee Maureen Thalmann, who recently resigned from the Board.  Another was Parks Commissioner Roger Schmidt, who is involved in a lawsuit against fellow Township’s Parks Commission members, and whose wife happened to be one of Gonser’s nominees.

Supervisor Gonser refused to  nominate other individuals that had applied.  Several of these do have Planning, Zoning, or Township subcommittee experience.

By State Law, only the Supervisor can nominate individuals for the Planning Commission.  The Board has the authority to approve or reject his nominations.

When asked, the Township Attorney could not ‘shed any light’ on what procedurally will occur if the Supervisor does not appoint an acceptable candidate.

Here is a link to an Oakland Press article on the meeting:

Oakland Press article on August 31, 2015 Special BOT meeting

Here is a video of the Board members’ comments:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  As previously reported on this website, the level of experience on the Planning Commission is critical to preserving the character of Oakland Township.

The Planning Commission is currently faced with two significant challenges.  One is consideration of a change to our Ordinance to limit oil and gas drilling in our Township to the fullest extent allowed by law, and the other is our new Master Plan.  The Supervisor has already gone on record as not supporting any changes to our Ordinance to control oil and gas drilling in out Township.  He also has repeatedly indicated he wants to change the Master Plan.

The Supervisor clearly wants to change the character of our Township.  Continued vigilance is needed by the citizens to make sure he follows our wishes, not just his own political agenda.

A special thanks goes out to all of the citizens that came to the meeting on August 31.  Your presence and comments give the Board the strength to act on your behalf,

Richard MIchalski