Monthly Archives: September 2017

Township Board hears input from citizens on Draft Zoning Ordinance 16

The Oakland Township Board did not approve the Draft Zoning Ordinance at their September 26, 2017 meeting.

The current Zoning Ordinance was originally approved in 1976.  It has been modified many times through the years.  That Ordinance has played a key role in defining the character of Oakland Township. The Draft Ordinance was intended to include revisions in State Law as well as providing an opportunity for citizen input.

During the last three Township Board meetings (Aug 22, Sept 12 and Sept 26, 2017),  the Board heard input from citizens regarding the Draft Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance 16) that the Planning commission had recently approved. The Planning Commissions under three Township Administrations had been working on the document for over 6 year.  There has already been significant citizen input in the document.  This ordinance requires the Township Board’s approval before it is official.  The Draft Ordinance was on the agenda for the August 22 and September 26th Board meetings.

The ‘first reading’ of the Ordinance occurred on August 22nd.  There was very little input from citizens.  At the September 12th Board meeting, as well as during the ‘second reading’  on September 26,  there was quite a bit of input from citizens.

As a result of the input from citizens, the Board did not approve the Draft Ordinance as it is. They will probably be discussing the ‘next steps’ at the October 10th meeting.  Hopefully, the Board will provide their input to the Planning Commission regarding the issues raised by the citizens.

Here is a summary of the concerns raised by the citizens at the meetings.  Most of these issues had been discussed at previous Planning Commission meetings and at the public workshops that the Board held with the Planning Commission.  Some of these  are not true, but they were raised by the citizens as issues and should be addressed at subsequent meetings.

Definitions Section 16-200 to 227

  • ‘Grandfathered use’ (no definition)
  • ‘Rubbish’ (too vague)
  • ‘Nuisance’ (no definition in ‘Definition’ section, but too vague as defined in Section 16-306F)
  • ‘Goods sold in home’ (no definition)

Home Occupation – Section 16-323

  • Believed publishing home business phone number on Facebook, or phone book, was not allowed (this is not true)
  • Prevents publishing address of home business on Facebook or phone book
  • Wording related to preventing people picking up product at their home

Bed and Breakfast – Section 16-505

  • Do not see need to establish minimum room size of 120 square feet for sleeping area of Bed and Breakfast facility

Enforcement of OrdinanceSection 16-110 & 16-111

  • Enforced on complaint basis only– not uniformly enforced
  • Penalty is misdemeanor not civil infraction
  • Others that ‘participate, assist or maintain violation’ are also liable
  • Concern over individual having been jailed for violation in past
  • Concern over process to document the existing ‘grandfathered’ or non-conforming situations

AnimalsSections 16-202A & 16-306

  • 2 acre limits for small animals (chickens and rabbits) is too restrictive – want .5 acre
  • 150 pound limit for domestic animals is too restrictive for some large dogs

Test PlanSection 16-343

  • Test plan definition allows for counting non-buildable land in establishing allowed density count

Cell towerSection 16-416

  • Wording is too restrictive and prevents owners from having cell towers on their property

Home sizeSection 16-312

  • Minimum home size of 1200 square feet is too restrictive – should be able to build smaller homes

Assisted Living facility for elderlySection 16-408

  • 10 acre requirement is too restrictive – should be less

Change in parcel size on gravel roadSection 16-403

  • Questioned whether Ordinance was made less restrictive by allowing 2.3 acre lots with 200 ft. road frontage vs. what was believed to be previous 5 acre on 350 ft. road frontage


In addition to the specific issues raised by citizens, several individuals expressed concerns that the proposed Ordinance was an infringement of their property rights.  Here are some of the statements made by these individuals:

  • The Document is too large – it should be no more than 50 pages
  • Large acreage parcels should not have restrictions like subdivisions
  • Let the subdivision owner’s control their property through their deed restrictions
  • “As long as we have wonderful neighbors” no need for ordinances
  • Ordinance has contributed to ‘overdevelopment’ of Township


In response to those concerns, having been on the Planning Commission of Oakland Township for over 26 years, I made the following points at the September 26th meeting:

  • The current Ordinance was approved in 1976 and updated many times
    • It has been modified through the years based on citizen input and State Laws
    • The Draft Ordinance is less restrictive in many areas than the current Ordinance
  • Contrary to comment made by our former supervisor, the effectiveness of an ordinance is not measured by number of pages, but by its impact on the community.
    • People like Oakland Township because of “what we are”.
    • We “are what we are” because of 40 years of good ordinances
  • The Draft Ordinance has been under development for well over 5 years
    • Input has been received from many citizens over that time
    • The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) participated in review of changes and provided input
    • The ZBA is knowledgeable of areas where there have been citizen issues – they “feel the hot breath of citizens” through the appeals process
    • The Planning Commission has included the ZBA’s input in the Draft Ordinance
  • Many rural areas in the state have very limited zoning ordinances resulting in issues in their communities
    • Without ordinances there is no method to correct problem areas
  • Some residents suggested subdivision should not rely on zoning ordinances, but should rely on their deed restriction to control problems
    • Deed Restriction enforcement requires sub owners to hire costly attorneys 
    • Township ordinances provide protection without added burden

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The purpose of the ‘first and second reading’ is to provide citizens one last chance to provide input on the Ordinance.  The Planning Commission and Township Board should consider the concerns raised by the citizens and make changes they feel are appropriate. However, a wholesale re-review of the Draft Ordinance in not warranted given the years of input that many other citizens have already provided the Planning Commission on the Draft Ordinance.  Their input should not be ‘discounted’ as a result of those who just recently got involved.  

The Current Ordinance has served us well. It needs to be ‘tweaked’ not destroyed.

Richard Michalski (former Oakland Township Planning Commissioner for over 26 years)

If you want to review the Draft ordinance click on the following link:

Click to access Final%20Draft%20CORRECTED%208-31-17.pdf


Exhibit honors the legacy of Janine Saputo

Janine Saputo was a long time resident of Oakland Township.  She was active in our Township as a Planning Commission member and a member of Oakland Township’s Historical Society.  Janine recently passed away.

What follows is an article that was published in the September 11, 2017 Community Lifestyles newspaper.

“The Oakland Township Historical Society announces the “Repeat Performance of the Heritage Exhibit Series” to be viewed this fall at the Paint Creek Cider Mill. This exhibit is dedicated to the life and legacy of Janine Saputo, a long time resident and volunteer in Oakland Township.

Saputo had many passions, but close to her heart was historic preservation.  In her 18 years of service on the Oakland Township Planning Commission, she offered her reasoned and thoughtful study of township expansion, always with an eye on history.

Saputo also served on the Histori District Commission for 16 years, four of those as its Chairman.

Upon moving to Oakland Township in the 1980’s, Saputo and husband Chuck joint the OT Historical Society.  Saputo proceeded to volunteer for not only Board positions, but every event and activity that the Society sponsored.

Her volunteer efforts included co-chairing the three exhibits that will be highlighted at this display.  The “Repeat Performance” will be open weekly, and docents will be on hand on the weekends, noon to 4 p.m., now through October 29th.”

Personal comment:

I worked with Janine on the Planning Commission for years.  She was a valuable asset to our Township.  She will be missed by all those who knew her.  ALL Oakland Township residents have and will continue to benefit from the years of service and legacy she gave to our Township.

Richard Michalski


September Township Board meetings will define our Township for the foreseeable future

Oakland Township’s Planning Commission has been working on our Township’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance for several years.  These are two of the most important documents that control the future growth in our Township.   Recent public statements about the poor planning in the Houston area highlight the importance of good local management and control of future growth in a community.

The September 12, 2017 Oakland Township Board meeting has the approval of the Planning Commission’s Master Plan as a agenda item.  The document is the product of work of the Planning Commission.  Legally, the document does not require the approval of the Township Board.  However, our Board has approved a resolution that requires their approval before it is official.  Here is a link to the Master Plan document:

Full Draft for Adoption 8-7-17 (REDUCED)

Here is proposed Future Land Use Map (click on image to enlarge)

Here is the latest Zoning Map (click on link to view)

Zoning Map- July 2017

Similarly, the Planning Commission has also spent several years working on updating our Township Zoning Ordinance.  This document does statutorily require Board approval.  The “First Reading” of the document occurred at the August 22, Board meeting.  The “Second Reading” is scheduled for September 26, 2017.  Here is a link to the Draft Zoning Ordinance:

Click to access Final%20Draft%20CORRECTED%208-31-17.pdf

There have been MANY public hearing at the Planning Commission level, and some at the Board level regarding the content of these two documents.  As a result, the Board will probably approve the documents unless there is some ‘fatal flaw’ that residents find in them.  If you have not already participated in the earlier reviews, please look over the documents, and attend the appropriate meeting to voice your approval or concerns.

Richard Michalski

Summary of Recent Oakland Township Board meetings (July and August, 2017)

The following is a summary of the last four Oakland Township Board meetings held in July and August of 2017. There continue to be no controversial issues that have either been brought up, or created, by the Board.  However, in the near future, the Board will be taking action on two items that will affect our Township for several years.  Those two actions are the approval of the Master Plan and modifications to our Zoning Ordinance – Ordinance 16.  A separate post will be published on those two items.

July 11, 2017

  • Unanimously approved a contract for the purpose of Right-of-Way Phragmites Treatment Project with PLM Lake & Land Management in the amount of $6500.

July 25, 2017

  • Unanimously approved the Rochester Hills – Oakland – Rochester Older Person’s Commission Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution.
  • Unanimously approved an Orchard Fencing contract with M.E.I. Construction for a cost of $14,000 from Historic District Commission appropriated funds.

August 8, 2017

  • Unanimously approved a Lease Agreement between the Veterans Tribute of Oakland Township and Charter Township of Oakland with an amendment that the “Tenant shall also procure and keep in effect insurance coverage in the amount of $500,000 per occurrence for property damage to the Tribute, or in a higher amount based on a verifiable increase in the Tribute property value, with such coverage being in effect the day after construction is complete”.
  • Unanimously approved Resolution 17-14 Regarding the Acquisition of Property through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to accept the terms of the Agreement for Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park Expansion project.
  • Unanimously approved Resolution 17-15 Regarding the Development of Property through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
  • Unanimously approved the proposed Employee Benefits for the 2017- 18 Plan Year.
  • Unanimously approved the Planning Commission reappointment of Gary Kwapis for a three-year term expiring September 1, 2020.
  • Approved in a 6 to a vote, the Planning Commission reappointment of Anthony Scaccia for a three-year term expiring September 1, 2020 – Langlois was dissenting vote.
  • Unanimously approved the hiring of Young’s Environmental Cleanup, Inc. for the purpose of cleaning the storm drains at Fire Station #2, the Township Hall parking lot, and disposal of said goods at an amount not to exceed $5,000.

August 22, 2017

  • During the first reading of Oakland Township’s Zoning Ordinance 16, the Board approved in a 5 to 1 vote (Ferriolo was dissenting vote and Reilly was absent) the following modification to Section 16-323 HOME BASED BUSINESS: “that a business could be undertaken by the property owner and relative in the home or accessory structure without zoning administrative approval. Further, if an owner of residence wants to undertake a home based business with employees that should require zoning administrative approval.“
  • During the first reading of Oakland Township’s Zoning Ordinance 16, the Board approved in a 6 to 0 vote (Reilly was absent) the following modification to Section 16-402.02 SUMMARY TABLES, “Maximum Building Height to include 2.5 stories.”
  • Approved in a 6 to 0 vote (Reilly was absent) the Oakland Township Water System Operation and Maintenance Agreement.
  • Approved in a 6 to 0 vote (Reilly was absent) the reappointment of Brian Blust to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a three-year term expiring September 1, 2020.
  • Approved in a 6 to 0 vote (Reilly was absent) the Rez-Comm repair estimate not to exceed $9,500 for Fire Station #2 cement and catch basin repair

Richard Michalski