Monthly Archives: January 2016

Key Blossom Ridge Consent Judgment information discussed at January 26, 2016 BOT meeting

The January 26, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting was very informative regarding the proposed Blossom Ridge Consent Judgment that the Board is considering. There were many facts and opinions shared.  Our Township Attorney also corrected many inaccurate claims that have been shared by some of the citizens opposed to the development.

Because the issue is so complex, it is difficult (and almost impossible) to accurately summarize the points made by the Attorneys, Consultants and citizens at the meeting.  As a result, I recommend that citizens who have an interest in this issue, and are willing to spend time understanding the many complexities involved in this decision, visit the following Township website and watch the meeting proceedings.

Once you go to the website,

  • On Playlist tab, click on Board of Trustees 2016
  • On Video tab, click on January 26, 2016 BOT meeting
  • On Chapter tab, click on Chapter 5

It will take you to the 4:50 (minute:second) point in the meeting.

  • The Former Oakland County Chief Judge Barry Howard, who was the arbitrator in this case, gives his presentation until the 27:40 point in the meeting.
  • Between 27:40 and 52:20, Oakland Township Planning Consultant, Dick Carlisle, discusses the proposed development from a planning perspective using our zoning ordinance as a guide.
  • Between 52:20 and 96:00, Township attorney Dan Kelly give his report on the legal implication of this case.

The rest of the meeting primarily shares citizen inputs on this issue – some in support and some in opposition.

As I stated, it is complex and not easy to simplify for this post, but only by watching the reports will you understand the legal and planning issues our Board must consider.

The Board is scheduled to make a decision on this matter on February 2, 2016 at a 5 PM meeting at the Township Hall.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This issue has been a divisive one in our Township for years.  I apologize for not being able to give you a ‘Reader’s Digest’ version of this issue, but I feel it is important for those who want to form their own objective position on this issue to watch the video.

Richard Michalski

Board of Trustees should follow the advice of attorneys on the Blossom Ridge Settlement Proposal

On Jan 26th the Board of Trustees will discuss and invite public comment on the proposed consent judgment to settle the Blossom Ridge lawsuit.  see our recent post on this topic

Dan Kelly has said that all the attorneys advising the township in this matter recommend approval of the proposal.

Attorneys recommending acceptance:

  • Dan Kelly – Township Attorney
  • Judge Barry Howard – Facilitator
  • Dale Stuart – Township Manager
  • Carol A. Rosatti – Attorney for the Township’s insurer

I urge the Board to follow the recommendations of the attorneys knowledgeable about this case and to be aware that the opinions of people that are not as knowlegable can contain errors about legal meanings.

A case in point: A letter from 18 residents contains legal fallacies

The board has received a letter from Eighteen individuals, all of whom live near the Blossom Ridge property, citing reasons that they are urging the board to reject the proposed agreement. They put forward a very important fallacy regarding legal precedence which they use many times in different forms and contexts.  It  is asserted by them that:

“The precedents established by this Consent Judgment”:

  • “will essentially eliminate building size restrictions for future multi-family (R-M) high density developments”;
  • (will have) “impact on future lawsuits”;
  • (undermine) “the confidence of the Oakland Township electorate in the local government for future zoning decisions”;
  • “will establish a new minimum lot size standard for multi-family (R-M) zoning”;
  • “The precedent set by compromising the zoning ordinance standardwill make it more attractive for non-conforming future high density R-M development in the Township”;
  • “will make it more attractive for non-conforming future high density R-M development in the Township”;
  • “the Zoning Ordinance… needs to be defended and not weakened through this Consent Judgment”.

The fallacy of consent judgment precedence:

The problem with these arguments is that a consent judgment agreement between parties to a lawsuit does not establish legal precedence.  Only published opinions of a judge’s decision in a trial establish precedence. In my 20 years on the Planning Commission and 12 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals I have never seen any alteration,  reduction, weakening or compromising of our zoning ordinance by  consent judgments.  The language, meaning and effect of our ordinance have remained intact and in full force.

If the township loses, the Federal Court could force changes to our Zoning Ordinance:

This is a very real likelihood in that if this matter goes to trial and violations of the Fair Housing Act are found the Federal Court may order changes to our zoning ordinance to force compliance with the Fair Housing Act.  That is when citizens will experience a loss of control.

Jim Foulkrod


Blossom Ridge consent judgment proposal up for review

As many of you know, there has been a significant legal issue that our Township has been dealing with for over 3 years.  That issue is the Federal case against Oakland Township regarding the Blossom Ridge Senior Development proposed at the corner of Adams and Dutton (see tab at top of page for more historical information). 

A Federal court requested ‘facilitation’ took place in the hopes that an agreement could be achieved eliminating the need for a trial. A proposal that involved just the Blossom Ridge parcel was not achieved, so the developer offered an option that included more than the original Blossom Ridge property.  Judge Howard, the negotiation facilitator, supported the proposal and asked that the proposal be reviewed by the entire Board and made available to the public.  

A final decision by the Board IS REQUIRED by January 26, 2016, or the issue will go to trial in July. Specific information on the proposal has been made available to the public.  The plans are available for review at the Township Hall, on the Township website, and in the two links shown below on this website. This topic has been added to the January 26 BOT meeting agenda.

Here are the various iterations of the Blossom development that had been previously publicly considered and rejected:

  • 282 total units including 126 congregate units with building having > 2 stories (original proposal)
  • 238 total units including 126 congregate units with building having > 2 stories
  • 228 total units including reduced number of  congregate units with building having 2 stories



  • 189 total units including 100 congregate units with building having 2 stories


  • Downzone the property from current “Research Laboratory” zoning to one that is more restrictive
  • 6,800 square foot ‘fine dining’ restaurant on Southwest corner of Adams and Silverbell on two acres
  • Single story Health and Wellness residence with 56 studio apartments on northwest  portion of property on 6.33 acres per site plan
  • 84 two to three bedroom units in a two story structure on 14 acres
  • Donation of 8 acres along Adams road to Township
  • Moceri would build a fire/ambulance facility on the site 
  • Moceri would donate up to $200,000.00 for the purchase of a new emergency (ALS) vehicle
  • Matching contribution of Moceri of up to $125,000.00 toward the construction of a Veteran’s Memorial on the property


  • No damages will be pursued by the developer (estimated at $17million)
  • Lawsuit will be dropped eliminating potential court finding that Township’s zoning violates Federal Law & potential federal fines


  • Agree to the proposed consent judgment settlement
  • Reject the proposed consent judgment and go to trial in July accepting all the uncertainties of potential outcomes
  • Agree that Oakland Township has violated Federal laws, with the resulting approval of original proposed plan and exposing Township to damages claimed by developer.

Here is video of the lengthy report given by Township Attorney, Dan Kelly:


Here is the Township’s summary of the proposed consent judgment posted on Township website


Here are the proposed plans for both the Blossom Ridge property as well as the property around the Church:

Blossom Ridge Consent Judgment Plans

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  This issue has been a divisive one in our Township for years.  The consequences of making the right decision will have a long term impact on our Township.  If the Board agrees with the consent judgement, it will restrict the Township in their ability to review the proposed developments being proposed on the parcel near the Church.  However, the developer has demonstrated through the years that his developments are compatible with our Township, and we hope that the developer will consider any site concerns the Township raises if that is the Board’s decision.  The potential financial implications of making the wrong decision by the Board are VERY SIGNIFICANT.

We encourage all citizens concerned about this issue to visit the Township Hall prior to January 26th and review the proposed plans.  After viewing the plans, make your views known by either attending the January 26th meeting, or sending a letter to the Board members.

Richard Michalski



UPDATE: Township Board approves first read of Oil and Gas Structure ordinance

At the January 12, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, the ‘first read’ of the proposed Oil and Gas Structure Ordinance was approved.  There were several citizens that commented on the draft ordinance.  Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.  He wanted to get input from the State and the DNR to get their perspective on how defensible the ordinance would be.

The second read of the Ordinance, and the vote on approval of the Ordinance, is on the agenda for the February 9, 2016 BOT meeting.

Here is a link to the most recent post on this subject:

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Thanks to all those that attended the meeting!

Richard Michalski

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Shelby well rig (1)

As previously reported on this website, the Oakland Township Board and Planning Commission agreed to develop an ordinance that would minimize the impact of Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township, while protecting individual property rights and still be compliant with Michigan regulations.  The Planning Commission has spent several months working on a draft ordinance.  The draft ordinance was discussed at the December 8, 2015 Township Board meeting.  At that meeting the Board agreed, in a 6 to 1 vote, that the ‘first read’ of the ordinance would take place at the January 12, 2016 Board meeting.  Supervisor Gonser was the single dissenting vote.  He wanted to take more time to study the draft ordinance.  

Public input at Tuesday’s meeting is critical.  It will ensure the Board understands the level of citizen support, and any concerns you may have with the draft ordinance.


                                              DATE:     TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016

                                             TIME:  7 PM      

                                             LOCATION: OAKLAND TOWNSHIP HALL – 4393 COLLINS RD.


Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

A lobbyist for the Petroleum industry was at the December 8, 2015 BOT meeting and attempted to influence the Board members.  His arguments for why Oakland Township should not pass a local ordinance controlling oil and gas drilling were:

  • Just because other communities have an ordinance is not a reason for Oakland Township to have one
  • There are no pending oil or gas drilling permits in Oakland Township
  • State law controlling oil and gas drilling is preferable
  • There will be administrative costs associated with an ordinance
  • Local Auto manufacturers are benefiting from the sale of big profitable SUV’s and trucks due to low oil and gas prices
  • There are many people currently laid off in oil industry due to low oil and gas prices
  • There may be legal challenges (and associated costs) as a result of an ordinance
  • There is no ‘fracking’ in Oakland County
  • Legal challenges could be based on ‘property rights taking’
  • Oil and gas drilling ON STATE PROPERTIES generates revenue for the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund (MNRTF)
  • Oakland Township has been recipient of grant funds from the MNRTF

Here are previous articles posted on this website regarding this topic:

Supervisor Gonser opposes Township establishing ordinance to minimize impact of oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

“Oil and Gas Drilling” is on July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda

Results of June 23, 2015 BOT discussion on Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

UPDATE: Oil and Gas well sites in Oakland Township and Surrounding Communities

JUNE 21st UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township? Please attend June 23 Board meeting!

JUNE 17th UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township (Church property)?

Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Even though the likelihood of new oil and gas drilling is currently low due to the low cost of oil and gas prices, our community needs to take whatever action is within our legal authority to protect our community from future undesirable oil and gas drilling, while protecting individual property rights.

Richard Michalski

January 8, 2016

Happy New Year! What’s in store for us this year?

First of all, we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and hope that your Holidays were filled with love, joy and happiness.

You may have noticed that there have not been many recent posts to the website.  There are a number of reasons for that.  First of all, the Holidays did take a toll on available time for posting items on the website.  Second, there really have not been many issues worthy of posts.  Third, with the addition of Mr. Stuart as our Township manager, Township business seems be getting done in a professional and timely manner.

There are many items that will occur in 2016 that will provide opportunities for updates on this website, and we are committed to do so.

Here is a list of things that will occur in 2016 that will impact our Township:

  • Elections of Supervisor, Board, and Parks and Recreation Commission members
  • Approval of millage proposals that are coming up for renewal (plus any new ones the Board may propose)
  • Resolution of the Blossom Ridge issue that is currently in Court ordered mediation
  • Resolution of the Mill Race issue with the Clinton River Watershed Council
  • Resolution of lawsuit by two Parks and Recreation Commission officials (as well as private citizen) against fellow Parks and Recreation members  – issue has been rejected in two previous court proceedings but is being appealed
  • Water supply and treatment plans for Oakland Township
  • Road improvement plans for Oakland Township
  • Paint Creek Cider Mill Building improvement plans
  • Appointment of a Planning Commission vacancy that has been open since September due to the Supervisor’s reluctance to appoint an individual acceptable to other Board members
  • Review and approval of draft changes to the Township Ordinance 16, that have been waiting for action from the Board for almost 4 years
  • Development and approval of a new Township Master Plan
  • Appointment of Planning Commission and ZBA members as current terms expire

We will continue to report on these items and others as they come up in our Township.

Some of you may have visited the Oakland Township Sentinel site published by Bob Yager.  His most recent post indicates that he will no longer be posting information on that site.  We would like to thank Bob and his wife for their dedicated service of providing information to the citizens of Oakland Township.  We wish both of them the best in their future endeavors, and hope they continue to be involved in Oakland Township issues.  They have made significant contributions in keeping all of us informed.  We will miss them!

Richard Michalski

PS:  One item that did not get reported late last year is that the Board formally approved an ethics policy for the Township.  It ended up being essentially the ‘Principle’s of Township Governance Document”  that was developed by former Trustee Judy Keyes in June of 2013.