On Thursday November 10, the Oakland Township Board made a 4 to 3 decision to place the water storage facility for the Southwest water district of Oakland Township on Kern Road. This decision was made despite significant resident input to place it at the Adams Road and Gunn location.
The Oakland Township Board was fully present for this meeting. When the water storage location agenda item came up, Trustee Maybry made a motion to select the Adams Road location. The Board members then discussed the motion among themselves. Clerk Buxar went through a Powerpoint presentation where she attempted to answer many of the questions and comments residents had made during previous meetings. She went through it very quickly. The information had not been made available to the residents prior to the meeting, and was not included in the posted packet on the Township website. Many residents complained they could not read the information on the screens in the room. The Board opened it up for citizen comment. The input from the residents was mostly supportive of the motion. The Board then took a vote, and the motion failed. Those voting in favor of the Adams Road location included Supervisor Abbate and Trustees Maybry and Mangiapani. Clerk Buxar, Treasurer Giannangeli and Trustees Elder and Zale voted against the Adams Road location.
A motion to select the Kern Road location was then made by Trustee Zale. The Board continued discussion and then opened it up for citizen input. Once again, the citizens indicated that they preferred the Adams Road location. Trustee Buxar pointed out that her experience with controversial issues is that resident usually take the position “NOT IN MY BACKYARD”. After the Board approved the Kern Road location, one of the residents pointed out that the Board had the option to not place the storage facility in ANYONE’s backyard (the Adams Road location), but instead chose to place it in resident’s FRONT yard. Those voting for the Kern Road location included Clerk Buxar, Treasurer Giannangeli, Trustee’s Elder and Zale.
One thing that had not been made clear to the public in all the discussions on this topic is that the Township owns a parcel of land at the Adams Road and Buell Road intersection. The purpose for having purchased that land was to provide a possible location for a Fire and EMS facility to help cover the needs of the SW district of Oakland Township. The Buell Road location is only one mile north of the Adams and Gunn Road location. For some reason, the Board was not willing to accommodate the citizen’s desires to have the storage facility on Adams and Gunn, and still meet the fire and police protection needs of the Township by using both the Adams/Gunn Road location AND/OR the Adams/Buell Road location for the Fire/EMS and Police stations.
The Board Board members who supported the Kern Road location based their decision on that fact that they thought fewer people would be negatively impacted by the visual appearance of the facility at Kern, that the Adams Road location would cost slightly more, and that placing the storage facility on Adams would limit the possible use of the Adams Road location for new Fire, EMS and Police stations, even though the Adams/ Buell Road location could be used to help meet those needs. An attorney for the residents of The Crossings pointed out that the agenda was to consider the location of the water storage facility, NOT a fire or police station.
If you want to watch the Township Board meeting, you can click on the following link: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/KGL-y_dHhCluQTy7c6YoVBzzQ5eHj7Lr/media/757760?autostart=true&showtabssearch=true
Why is this important to the Residents of Oakland Township?
We elect our officials to make decisions that are in our best interests. When our elected officials chose to neglect citizen input, without building a convincing case for why they made the decision they make, we may have elected the wrong individuals. The Board’s decision may result in higher legal fees if the resident of The Crossings, or even Orion Township decide to legally challenge this decision. Residents should keep the Board’s decision on this matter in mind when they consider who they vote for in 2024.