On June 28, 2013, a letter was sent to the Charter Township of Oakland by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development indicating that they are initiating an investigation into an allegation that the Township has violated Fair Housing requirements in how they have handled the Blossom Ridge Development. A copy of the letter is attached.
HUD has begun an investigation which may take 100 days. After the HUD investigation, if there are grounds for further action, the Department of Justice will pursue the matter in Court.
Moceri / DM Investments LLC is the complainant in this matter and similar complaints have been made by Joan M. Buser l Mary K. Russo, and
the Paralyzed veterans of America, Michigan Chapter.
The Complaint alleges that Oakland Township engages in a systematic pattern of discrimination in its housing practices in that it uses its zoning and land use ordinances to prevent the development of housing suitable for aging or disabled citizens. Oakland Township unreasonably failed to grant a request for a special accommodation to the needs of the handicapped persons.
An application for Special Accommodation was filed by the Moceri in mid-2012. Then Township Supervisor Joan Fogler held a public hearing on the matter as required by township ordinances. Fogler subsequently recommended to the Board of Trustees that they grant the special accommodation application. The application was on the Board’s agenda shortly before the newly elected Board was to take office. Members-elect of the new board spoke at that meeting urging the then sitting board to not take action on such an important item so late in their terms of office. The Board of Trustees bowed to those wishes so the new board-elect could decide the issue. The new Board of Trustees has not done anything about the application for Special Accommodation and this fact is central to the Federal investigation.
The complaint also alleges that both the previous Board and the current Board have not take expeditious actions to bring this issue to resolution. Here are some of those actions:
- Many months of delay in getting the referendum petition signatures validated
- Delays in setting the referendum date
- Delays in the decision to proceed with the County Zoning Coordinating Committee review
- Delays due to the various attempts at having the State Attorney General weigh in on this subject.
- As stated above, ignoring the Special Accommodation request
It will be months before this legal issue will be resolved. We will keep you posted on its status.