Trustees Balk at zoning 7 parcels as Parks

The Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) is a body we elect to acquire and manage parks and green space in the township – gems like Bear Creek, Cranberry Lake, Lost Lake, etc. We also voted for a millage to support the PRC and a millage for Land Preservation that has been passed twice by Oakland Twp. voters.

We love our parks and open land. That’s why most of us moved here! Right?

Over the last several years, the PRC has bought, or had donated to it, 8 parcels of land for parks. Right now, they are zoned “Residential.” So the 8 parks parcels need to be re-zoned as “Recreation-Conservation” so they can be made into parks or preserved as open land as intended.

Normally this is a routine matter. Basically, the Board of Trustees (BoT) has to agree that the parcels were intended as parks/green space and vote yes to rezone them from “Residential” to “Recreation-Conservation.” Simple right?

Not to our current Board of Trustees. The Board insisted that the PRC needed to produce “more information,” even though they’d been given an informational packet by the PRC about the 7 parcels that addressed the information necessary for re-zoning.

The board wanted to know: 1) What did each parcel cost? 2) What funds were used to pay for each parcel? 3) What restrictions were in the deed for each parcel?

The PRC can provide that information but THE INFORMATION THE BOARD WANTS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ISSUE OF REZONING. The PRC had already provided the board with the information necessary to rezoning.

So what’s up?

We don’t know because the BoT won’t say. Some possibilities:

  • Supervisor Gonser has said that we may have too many parks and that Oakland Township needs more development.
  • Maybe the Board wants to see if it’s possible to sell or allow commercial development on those 7 parcels, which would be misusing funds designated in ballot language as being for “Land Preservation” or the PRC.
  • Maybe the BoT wants to assert authority over the PRC which currently is a separately elected body with its own commissioners.

Confused about why the Board balked at re-zoning? So are we. Want park land made into parks or preserved as green space? So do we. Maybe you can ask the board what they intend. We have repeatedly and can’t get an answer from this board that ran on the issue of transparency.

RIchard Michalski

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