Monthly Archives: October 2017

Will Township Board approve Iron removal treatment facilities to two water systems in Oakland Township?

If you live in one of two regions in Oakland Township that are serviced by a community water system, the Township Board will be making decisions that will impact your water bills in the future.  You may have responded to a Water System survey that had been sent to you in the past.  The survey results are in.  The Board will be making their final decisions based on the results of the survey and any further input they receive from impacted citizens.

At the October 24, 2017 Oakland Township Board meeting, a representative from the Oakland County Water Resource Commission (WRC) presented the results of a survey requested by the Board regarding issues pertaining to two water supply systems in Oakland Township.  The two issues the Board was hoping to get citizen input on were:

  • The location of the required water storage facility for each of the two systems, and
  • Whether the citizens, serviced by those systems, wanted to add, and pay for at approximately $400 per year, a centralized iron removal system.

The results of the survey indicate that the majority of the citizens who responded are not supportive of adding the centralized iron removal system, although a minority of respondees indicated they had severe iron issues. They also indicated they wanted the water storage facilities to be as hidden as possible, and as low in cost as possible.

The Township Board unanimously approved a motion to have the WRC undergo an engineering study to determine the possible locations for the water storage facilities. The locations are to be large enough to allow for the possible addition of iron removal facilities.

The Board did not take action on the iron removal treatment issue. There was some concern expressed by at least one Board member that, even though the response to the survey was high (32% & 38%) based on typical survey results , he wanted the survey results to be more visible to the impacted residents before making a decision.  No official action was taken by the Board on this issue.  It will certainly be discussed at future Board meetings.

In order to help communicate the results of the survey, I have attached the following images.  As previously stated, there are two regions impacted by these decisions.  A map and survey results are shown for each.  They are only the highest level findings from the survey:


The following map shows all the community well systems in Oakland Township.  This map, along with the ones shown above, may provide a better understanding of the areas that will be impacted by the Board’s decision.

If any citizens want to review the entire survey results , please click on the following link and review pages pages 30 through 116 .  If you want to provide input to the Township Board, either send them a letter with your thoughts on this issue, or watch for this topic on future Board agenda’s and attend the meeting to provide your input.

October 24, 2017 Board Meeting Packet

Richard Michalski

Summary of October 10, 2017 Oakland Township Board meeting

At the October 10, 2017 Oakland Township Board meeting, the board voted, in a 6 to 1 vote, to send the draft Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance 16) back to the Planning Commission to  consider the comments made by citizen’s during several previous meetings.  Trustee Mangiapani was the sole dissenting vote.

The Board listed the areas of the draft zoning ordinance they wanted the Planning Commission to revisit.  The Board did not provide input whether they thought anything needed to be changed, or how it should change.  The Planning Commission is not obligated to restrict their re-review to those areas.  However, it was clear that the Board was not looking for wholesale changes to the draft Ordinance.

Here are the areas the Board asked the Planning Commission to revisit:

  • 303 B- Location of accessory buildings
  • 306 D3- Class 3 animals
  • 312 E – Minimum Floor space
  • 331 – Outdoor storage
  • 111 – Penalties for violation
  • 343 – Test Plan
  • 505 – Bed and Breakfast
  • 323 – Home based business

Here is a link to the draft Zoning Ordinance:

Draft Ordinance 16 – Zoning Ordinance

During the public comment portion of the October 10th discussion, several residents continued to argue that the Ordinance was an infringement of their property rights.  One individual was upset when he read the limits of the lot sizes that were permitted.  He apparently had purchased the property with the intent to divide it.  He argued that the draft ordinance would reduce the value of his property.  It turns out that the lot size restriction that is in the Draft Ordinance has been in the EXISTING Ordinance for over 40 years, long before when he purchased his property. This is just one example of how incorrect, or false statements, impact the objective understanding of the Zoning Ordinance.

A letter from Libby Dwyer, one of our residents, does a very good job explaining the benefits of having a good Zoning Ordinance.  Here is the letter that was read at the October 10th meeting:

“My husband and I live on 10 acres at 1234 Lake George Road in the northern section of the township. We are surrounded by acres of open land. This is both a blessing and a curse because while we enjoy the privacy and freedom of our seclusion, the future development of our neighbor’s vacant property is unknown. That is why we are grateful for a definitive zoning ordinance. 
I can’t speak for the southern part of the township but around here folks enjoy hunting, fishing, trapping, target shooting, snowmobiling, horseback riding and much more. Some of us raise crops and keep poultry, goats, cattle, sheep and horses. The ordinances that govern these activities are important. They ensure the safety of people and animals and set standards so that the habits of one neighbor does not adversely effect the property value of another.
The concerns that some citizens have expressed regarding government overreach through our ordinances seems over-reactionary to me. In my experience, the zoning officers in Oakland Township, especially in the past 8 years, don’t go driving around looking for things to write up. I assume that they have better things to do.
Take a short drive north into other townships “in the country” and you can see the downfalls of what happens when there are poorly defined zoning laws &/or a lack of enforcement. Living in the country looses its charm when your neighbor has broken and rusted equipment and falling-down buildings.  Or, visit the communities adjacent to our Township to see the effects of urban sprawl and loss of open spaces and rural atmosphere. This is why I am proud to live in Oakland township. It is a community that has an excellent reputation for ensuring reasonable growth through thoughtful and appropriate planning. I applaud the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for their efforts and diligence in this process.
Best Regards,
Libby Dwyer”
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  There may be some valid Zoning issues raised by citizens during the discussions regarding the Draft Ordinance.  The Board has properly directed the Planning Commission to look at those areas.  A  ‘melt and re-pour’approach, that some residents are recommending, is not in the best interest of our Township. Years of experience and resident input has gone into the evolving document.  As one proponent of a massive change to the Ordinance stated:

“As long as we have wonderful neighbors” there is no need for ordinances!

She may have ‘wonderful’ neighbors now, and in the future, but there is no guarantee that she, nor any other Oakland Township resident, will always have wonderfull neighbors.

Hence the need for a good zoning ordinance!

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for WEDNESDAY, November 8, 2017 at 7PM.  The location is the Township Hall on Collins Road.

Richard Michalski

Reminder: “Down of the Farm” event this Saturday

Reminder – October 7th “Down on the Farm”

Please join the fun on Saturday October 7th for the “Down on the Farm” event planned by the Oakland Township Historical District Commission.  The festivities will take place at the Cranberry Lake Farm located on 388 West Predmore from 11 AM to 2 PM.

Here is more information on the event (click on image to enlarge)::

Richard Michalski