The Oakland Township Board will probably make a decision on the location of the Water Storage Facility for the SW water district of our township at the November 1 BOT meeting scheduled for 2 PM. The agenda is attached.
Monthly Archives: October 2022
OCTOBER 28TH UPDATE: OAKLAND TOWNSHIP WATER STORAGE LOCATION DECISION
SPECIAL BOARD MEETING SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 AT 2 PM AT TOWNSHIP HALL
Since the October 25th Oakland Township Board meeting some work has been done to answer concerns three of the Board members had regarding the use of the Adams Road location for the water storage facility for the Southwest water district of Oakland Township. The Board has scheduled a Special Meeting for November 1, 2022 at 2:00 PM to discuss this matter and possibly make a decision. The concerns articulated by the three Board members supporting the Kern Road location were:
- Desire to preserve the potential use of the proposed donated 5.7 acre parcel for maximum beneficial use for ALL residents of Oakland Township.
- Desire to see a plan for Adams Road site that includes Firehouse, Police substation, EMS and water storage facility
- Visual impact of water storage facility on residents and travelers on roads near water storage facility
- Environmental impact
The following discussion attempts to respond to these issues.
Maximizing benefit to all residents and site plan
Oakland Township Leadership has recognized a need for added Fire, EMS and police support in the Southwest portion of our Township for some time. Our EMS response times are currently not consistently meeting the County recommendation to be less than 6 minutes. The Board has considered the use of the 5.7 acre potentially donated parcel as a site for having a new Fire Station, EMS and Police substation to satisfy this growing need in our Township. This potential use was part of the Board’s decision to approve the Arimus Villa’s PUD development on October 25th. However, at least one of the Board members (Trustee Elder) was not convinced that adding the water storage facility to the other desired uses on the parcel could be accomplished, hence his reluctance to agree to have the water storage facility added to that site.
Trustee Elder commented at the October 25th meeting that “I’m OK putting it (the water storage facility) wherever” but he also said “I’d like to see a study on how we would layout a Police, Fire and EMS unit on this site”. He went on to say that he saw some information that indicated that adding the water storage facility was not feasible.
A draft site plan showing how the Police, Fire/EMS AND water storage facility could fit on the site was developed by Giffels Webster. It includes the ‘footprint’ of Oakland Township’s Firehouse 2, as well as substantially the same ‘footprint’ as the new Orion Township Police substation, along with a water storage facility that would meet our current building elevation requirement of 35 feet. This plan will be shown later in this discussion.
The overwhelming issue regarding the location of the water storage facility is the visual impact it has on residents who live near the facility, or those driving past the facility. Clearly, Kern Road will have less traffic than Adams Road. However, more current residents of both Oakland Township, and Orion Township will be directly negatively impacted with it being located on Kern Road.
Many residents shared with the Board that a decision to place the facility on Kern road impacts many more current homeowners. Placing the facility on Adams will impact a few current owners. It may influence future homeowner’s decision to purchase in the Artimus development. The developer for the Artimus PUD has already mitigated that issue by placing large berms between the 5.7 acre site and the development.
The visual impact of any structure can be either ugly or appealing. A large water storage structure can challenge the creativity to accomplish an appealing structure. Commerce Township has done a marvelous job in making their water storage facility as attractive as possible. In the plan that is shown below, you will see picture of their 2 million gallon storage facility.
Berming and tree plantings can also be used to minimize the view of the storage facility. View ‘site lines’ from Adams road show how these techniques can be used to minimize the visibility of the storage facility.
Finally, regarding visual impact, as one of our resident, James Carter former Oakland Township Planning Commission Chairperson, suggested we could actually use the design of the Fire station, the Police Substation and the water facility to accentuate the historical farming character of our Township. The Adam’s Road complex could become a showcase for our Township, while serving the multiple functional needs of our community. The plan shown below shows several architectural concepts that could provide added character to our Township.
The two issues raised here were the impact of the additional tree removal from the site and the potential added cost and issues with the unregulated ‘wetland’. First, regarding the tree removal. The consultants report indicated that approximately 1.5 acres of trees would have to be cleared. It did not state how many acres of trees would have to be cut to accommodate the Police and Fire Station usage. Also, the trees used to help hide the water storage facility would offset some of the loss of trees. Secondly, the unregulated wetland issue is one that is not significant, in that, even though the consultant mentioned it in their report, they did not list it as an issue in their summary of pro’s and con’s for the site.
The consultant’s cost estimate comparing the two sites concluded that the Kern Road site was “Slightly lower cost because the site is already developed”. Several residents from the Crossings Subdivision said that since they were part of the group that will ultimately pay for the facility, they thought the minimal increase in price was worth it to them to have it on Adams Road. It should be noted that the consultants analysis did not review the draft site plan shown below.
Another point is that some of the ‘site development’ costs that would be incurred for placing the water treatment site at Adams, would also be required when putting in a Fire Station or Police substation.
DRAFT SITE PLAN WITH WATER STORAGE, POLICE AND FIRE/EMS
SITE LINES FROM ADAMS ROAD
Why is this important to the residents of Oakland Township?
Will the information shown above influence any of the Board members to support a decision to place the facility on Adams? Your continued input, especially to those that seemed open to considering the Adams location (Trustee Elder and Clerk Buxar??) could make a difference. The final decision is one that will impact the Township for many years to come. Further delay in a decision will certainly result in higher costs, and possibly a much higher density development on the Northeast corner of Adams and Gunn Roads.
Attend the November 1 meeting if you can!!!
Oakland Township’s indecision on water storage facility may have significant consequences for Township
On October 25, 2022 the Oakland Township Board was locked in a three to three ‘deadlocked’ position regarding the location for the Michigan State mandated water storage facility for Oakland Township’s Southwest water district system. Three Board members wanted the facility located in The Crossings Subdivision at Kern Road, in spite of significant resident input to the contrary, while three members wanted the facility located on a potentially donated 5 Acre parcel of land across from Delta Kelly school on Adams and Gunn. Clerk Buxar did not attend the meeting. Neither location was approved. As a result, the Township may no longer receive the donated parcel.
Several years ago, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy required that Oakland Township install a one million gallon water storage facility to protect the many residents who have their water supplied by several pumps linked together in the Southwest region of the Township. The Southwest water system is shown on the following map as well as the other water systems in the Township. The residents that are directly impacted are those living in the subdivisions in the SW system that are serviced by the water mains shown in light green.
The Township has spend several years studying how best to meet the mandated requirement from the State for the Southwest system and other systems in the Township. After years of study, the Board selected two possible sites for final consideration. As stated earlier, one is located in The Crossings Subdivision on Kern Road, the other is on the Northeast corner of Adams and Gunn across from Delta Kelly School. Here is an arial view of the two proposed locations.
The Kern Road proposal would locate the storage facility next to an existing water supply pump house servicing that subdivision, and is linked to others in the district. The parcel of land is 1.7 acres.
The Adams Road proposal would locate the facility on a 5.7 acre parcel that is directly across the street from the Delta Kelly School on Adams and Gunn. The parcel is part of the proposed ARTEMIS VILLA Planned Unit Development. The donation of that parcel is a critical part of the Township’s agreement with ARTIMUS to use the Planned Unit Development option for their development. It is the “Public Benefit Essential Services” element of the plan that allows the more liberal Planned Unit Development option to be used. The ARTIMUS VILLA development is a 25 acre development with 38 site condominiums. It is located further east on Gunn Road, from the proposed 5.7 acre parcel. The development WAS approved on the 25th contingent upon the Township ultimately approving a water storage facility in the Southwest Water system district.
It was announced, at the October 25th Board meeting, that October 26th was the deadline given by the ARTIMUS developer for approving a water storage location as part of their agreement to donate the 5.7 acre parcel. Why the Board waited this long to make a decision on the storage location was not disclosed. Since the Board had not approved either water storage location, the developer has the option to back out of the agreement. The ultimate fate of the ARTIMUS PUD, the potentially donated parcel, and the water storage location is all uncertain at this time.
Getting back to the storage location issue, the Township hired a consultant company to analyze the positive and negative aspects of the Kern Road and Adams Road proposals. Here is a summary of that analysis.
The Board members were to use this information in their decision making process. Three of the Board members voted for the Adams Road location. Three voted for the Kern Road location. The ‘deadlock’ resulted in neither one be approved, even though there were dozens of comment from residents at both the October 25th, meeting and last month’s Board meeting, supporting the Adams Road location.
Here is a video of the rationale from Trustee Mabry supporting the Adams Road location.
Here is a video of the rationale from Trustee’s Elder, Zale and Giannangeli supporting the Kern Road location.
The following photographs are intended to demonstrate the impact a 45 foot tall water storage facility on Kern Road would have on the residents who live the closest to the proposed location.
At the end of the meeting on the 25th, Trustee Elder commented that he previously received a Powerpoint presentation from Trustee Buxar (who was not present at the meeting) regarding the water storage issue. He indicated that it helped him formulate his opinion on the matter. It apparently had not been shared with all the Board members, or the public. The Board asked him to send a copy of the presentation to the entire Board. As a result, it is safe to say that had Clerk Buxar been present, the Kern Road location would have been approved.
After the Buxar Powerpoint presentation was mentioned, Trustees Zale and Giannangeli attempted to pressure one of the Trustees, who supported the Adams Road location, to reopen the matter for decision that evening. They appear to have known how Clerk Buxar would vote. They also appeared to have made this request in order to prevent the possibility of the ARTEMIS developer retracting their offer for the land donation. None of the other three Trustees agreed to reopen the matter. They still felt there might be some way to have the Adams Road location selected. Here is a video of that dialog.
Why is this important to the residents of Oakland Township?
Oakland Township residents elect our officials to make decisions that are in the best interest of the citizens. Citizen input is a key part of making sure their voices are heard, and influence the decisions officials make. The many comments made by residents supporting the Adams Road location clearly did not influence three (and likely 4) of the Board members. The rationale for selecting the Kern Road location seems counter to the will of our residents. Are there other factors that have not been shared with the residents that influenced their decision? (Note the Buxar presentation that had not been shared with the entire Board or public).
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It appears that the water storage location decision will be a topic for next month’s Board meeting. What is not known is whether the ARTEMIS PUD development will proceed or not, given the fact the water storage deadline has passed. Can any of the 4 Board members supporting the Kern Road location be made to change their mind? Can the Board members provide more rationale for their support of the Kern Road location? Concerned citizens may still be able to influence the direction the Board ultimately takes on this issue. Please continue to provide your input to the Board through emails on this matter. Also, attend the next Board meeting that is currently scheduled for November 15th.