Author Archives: richardjmichalski

Oakland Township Parks Master Plan input

Attached is a letter from Craig Blust inviting interested Oakland Township residents to participate in a Parks Commission Master Planning workshop.  If you are a resident of Oakland Township, and you want to provide your input on what you would like to see our beautiful Park system to include in the future, please attend the planned workshop.

Oakland Twp Residents,

    Oakland Township Parks & Recreation will be having a Master Planning Open House next Wednesday October 23rd from 2pm to 4pm or 6pm to 8pm at the township hall. Resident input is extremely important for the development of the master plan and our parks system. Please drop in and review the draft 2020-2024 master plan and updated maps of our parks.

     Hopefully you were aware of the online survey and were able to give us your input as well. The online survey closed last Sunday so that the information could be gathered and results could be available for your review at the Open House as well.

     If you live by one of the many township parks or if you just like using and enjoying the Oakland Township Parks, Amenities and Programs this is the time and place to give your input.

     You are also welcome to attend the monthly Parks and Rec meetings which are always open to the public but these meetings are more focused and specific to the items on the agenda for that evening.

   Master Planning Open House will be sharing all aspects of our Parks and gathering residents input that attend. Hope to see you on the 23rd. I will be at the 6pm to 8pm but both sessions will have all of the same information with staff to help and answer any questions that they can. The Email below from the Township has more information.

     The next time a Master Planning open house will occur is Fall of 2024.

Thank you,

     Craig Blust

        OT Park and Rec Commissioner  

Is your safety a priority for our Township Board???

Oakland Township’s Board has been working on trying to develop the right Fire and EMS strategy for our Township for several months.  Our community has grown dramatically over the past few years.  We have operated with some permanent fire and EMS staff, but we have heavily relied upon paid on call and part time support.  Other communities have been trying this approach for years, and most of our neighboring communities have finally decided that in order to protect their citizens, they had to increase the number of full time professional fire and EMS staff.  They were unable to retain the paid on call staff because of the nationwide shortage of this critical skill.

The majority of the members of our Township Board have appeared to be reluctant to take the same steps as some of our neighboring communities.  They have taken this position, is spite of the the recommendations of our Fire Chief, outside consultants, and our former Township Supervisor, who had been a supervisor in a neighboring community.

There will be a discussion at the 7:00 PM April 23, 2019 Oakland Township Board meeting to discuss a proposal that has been developed by several of the Board members.  The topic is item 4 of the Pending Business section of the meeting – Fire Study Update.  

See the study on pages 72-90 in the attached link of the Board meeting Packet.

https://www.ecode360.com/documents/OA3183/public/487018521.pdf

It appears the Board may still be trying to provide this critical service to our community by continuing to use paid on call and part time staff.  The decision the Board makes on this item may influence the Health and Safety of those in our community.  Your input is critical in helping them make the proper decision.  Please attend the meeting if you can, share your opinion with the Board by either attending or sending them letters.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO THE RESIDENTS OF OAKLAND TOWNSHIP?  This is a decision that must be made based on the best knowledge and recommendations from the experts in the field.  A financial analysis is certainly an input into making a decision, but the determinant factor should not be how to minimize the cost to our Township – our lives are at stake.

Richard Michalski

Does Oakland Township have adequate Fire and Emergency Service personnel?

For the past few years, the Oakland Township Board has been trying to ensure that Oakland Township has adequate Fire and Emergency Service personnel to meet the needs of the Township, and the Oakland County Medical Control Authorities response time guidelines.  The Township currently is not meeting those County guidelines. Earlier this year, the Board authorized the hiring of additional part time and paid on call firefighters to try and meet the County guidelines.  The majority of the Board was opposed to hiring any additional full time staff.  We are still not meeting the County guidelines.

At the December 11, 2018 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Township Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and our Township Manager will be proposing hiring three full time fire fighters with advanced life support certification.  They also are asking the the Board to consider building a new fire station closer to the high density population area of our Township.

Given the Board’s past reluctance to support the hiring of additional full time staff, resident input could have a significant impact on the decision they make.  I would encourage as many citizens as possible (especially the seniors in our community) attend meeting and listen to the presentation of the Township Manager and Fire Chief.  There will be an opportunity for citizens to provide their input.

Here is an excerpt of their presentation:

Oakland Township Fire and EMS

The full presentation can be seen by clicking on the attached link:

Township Manager and Fire Chief proposal

The December 11th meeting time and location are:

Time:  7:00 PM

Location:  4393 Collins Road

Why this is important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The level of Fire and Emergency personnel available to respond to emergency events can truly be a life saving decision.  We have empowered our elected officials to make that decision on our behalf.  The Township experts in this area are making recommendations that previously were not supported by the majority of our Township Board.  Your input may help them make an informed decision.

Richard Michalski

 

 

Oakland Township Water Iron Removal Workshop

As residents of Oakland Township, many of us are familiar with the issues related to the iron content in our public and private well water.  For the residents on public wells, the Township Board is considering whether a centralized iron removal treatment system should be part of the enhancements for the public wells.  The survey results from residents on public wells were mixed as to whether the residents wanted to have the iron removal feature added.  A centralized treatment would involve capital expense, as well as an operational expense, both of which would be responsibility of the residents on the public well systems.

There are iron removal options that individual homeowners have for private treatment of their water, regardless of whether it is from a private or public well.  These options will be discussed at a workshop that the Township is sponsoring.  Here is the information on the workshop:

  • Water Iron Removal Workshop
  • August 22, 2018
  • 7 PM
  • Location – Delta Kelly school located at Adams and Gunn Roads.

This meeting will provide information that could be of benefit to residents on either private or public wells.

The following two items give more information on this workshop.  It is from Township documentation that is not readily visible on their website:

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 9.57.26 PM

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 9.58.18 PM

Hopefully, the Township office will make this information more visible on the official Township Website.  Please mark your calendars and attend if you are interested in options available to you for improving your water quality.

Richard Michalski

Planning Commission hears residents’ input on Draft Zoning Ordinance and makes changes

At the November 7, 2017 Oakland Township Planning Commission meeting, the Commission heard public comment on a number of sections of the Draft Zoning Ordinance.  The sections reviewed were the areas some citizens raised concerns at previous Township Board meetings.  After hearing citizen input, and considerable discussion by the Commission members, several changes were made to the Draft Zoning Ordinance.  The revised Draft Ordinance will now be forwarded to the Township Board for their review and approval.

The Planning Commission reviewed 8 specific areas of the Draft Zoning Ordinance based on concerns raised by citizens at the Township Board’s ‘readings’ of the proposed document.  There were many comments made by citizens indicating they did not understand the content of the ordinance.  These items were clarified by the Planning Commissioners, our Planning Consultant and our township Attorney.

Here are the sections that were reviewed and the changes made:

16-11 Penalties for Violation

Change – The penalty for zoning violations was changed from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, with the  request that the Township Board develop the criteria that would be used to raise a violation from a civil infraction to a misdemeanor.  An example of this might be repeated violations by a home owner.

16-303B Location of Accessory Buildings

No change

16-306 Animals

Change – The maximum weight of a class 1 animal, such as a dog, was eliminated.  The previous maximum weight was 150 pounds.

Change  – The minimum lot size allowed for having class 3 animals, such as rabbits and chickens, was lowered from 2 acres to 1.75 acres.

16-212E Dwelling Standard

No change

16-323 Home Based Businesses

No change.  It was pointed out that the proposed ordinance is much less restrictive than the current zoning ordinance.

16-331 Outdoor storage

No change

16-343 Test Plans

Change – The lots shown in a developer’s ‘test plan’ must be 5000 square feet of contiguous area.

Change – Eliminates the ability to default to a higher density lot count in the developer’s ‘test plan’ if a parcel is shown be in two different zoning districts.

16-505 Bed and Breakfast

No change

The draft zoning Ordinance as it was prior to the November 7th Planning Commission meeting can be reviewed by clicking on the following link:

Draft Zoning Ordinance (prior to proposed changes discussed above)

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The actions of the Township Board and the Planning Commission demonstrate that the Township’s leadership is committed to listening to, and responding to, the issues raised by our citizens.  During the November 7th meeting, the citizens present applauded the recommended changes.  There were a few citizens present who wanted to eliminate many of the current zoning ordinance restrictions.  The Township residents will all benefit from the Planning Commission’s patience and hard work in developing the revised draft Ordinance.  The ball is now back in the Township Board’s lap.  The first reading will probably take place at the December Board meeting, with the second reading occurring at the first meeting in January.

Richard Michalski

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

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