Category Archives: Planning and Zoning

UPDATE: September 13, 2016 controversial Board topics

As previously reported, there were a number of potentially controversial issues discussed at the September 13, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting.  This is a brief update on the decisions made on those topics:

A developer’s request to extend an expiring sewer tap pay back program

  • The Board, in a 6 to 1 vote, rejected the request, indicating that the original legal agreement was to be followed as it was written.  Supervisor Gonser was the dissenting vote.

A Pulte request to approve a Preliminary Site Condominium request for 57 units on the northeast corner of Adams and Gunn Road (across from Delta Kelly School)

  • The Board voted to table, in a 7 to 0 vote, a decision on this request, pending a review of the many factors that could influence the availability of ‘sewer taps’ for the development.  Once the sewer tap issue is resolved, the developer would then be able to make a decision whether to proceed as they currently plan, or not.

2016 Millage levy setting

  • The 2016 millages were approved, in a 6 to 1 vote, at the carry-over levels but comprehending the “Headlee rollback” calculations. Supervisor Gonser was dissenting vote.

Hunting in Oakland Township

  • The Board requested that the Township Planner work with the Township Manager and Attorney to come back to the Board with a recommendation regarding hunting in Oakland Township.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Probably the most important issue that was raised in this meeting was the potential of changing Oakland Township’s sewer tap policy.  If the policy changes, the density of development in Oakland Township could significantly be impacted, since land can be developed with smaller lots if the property is serviced by sewers.

Full transparency by the Board is essential to make sure our citizens understand the reasons for any change to our long standing, and effective, sewer tap policy.

Richard Michalski

Traffic light at Adams and Gunn Road

Many of you have now experienced the traffic issues resulting from the four way flashing stop light at the intersection of Adams and Gunn Roads (especially during rush hour traffic).  The north-south traffic backs up for almost a half mile.  Even though there are very few vehicles traveling east-west on Gunn (except when Delta Kelly students are being dropped off or picked up), every car traveling on Adams must stop.

While I was stuck in that mess last week, there was a tailgating accident a few cars in front of me.  Stop and go traffic, along with texting, were probably the reasons for the accident.  I suspect there have been, and will continue to be, more accidents like that.

There have been a number of serious accidents at that intersection prior to them putting in the four way light. Clearly something had to be done.  I called the road commission today, and they informed me that the four way light will probably be there for two years.  They indicated that they must procure additional property at the intersection to increase line-of-sight – and “that takes time”.  ARE YOU WILLING TO PUT UP WITH THIS FOR TWO YEARS?

So what can you do?  Here is a link to the Road Commission website.  If you fill out the form on line with your comments and concerns, maybe we can influence their timing, if not the type of design solution they chose, for this intersection.  Currently they are considering a four way regular light or a traffic circle.  I am not sure it will have an impact, but two years is a long time to have the current situation in place.

Here is the link to the Road Commission website:

http://www.rcocweb.org/FormCenter/Contact-Us-4/Contact-Us-Form-43

One final comment, as reported in a recent post, Pulte is wanting to add 57 homesite on the North-East corner of Adams and Gunn, adding to the traffic congestion at that intersection.  When they brought their initial request to the Planning Commission two years ago, they were told they needed to provide a traffic study of the impact of their proposed development.  As of the July 2016 Planning Commission meeting, they had refused to perform the study.  In July, the Planning Commission rejected their proposal because they did not have sewer taps and had not performed the traffic study (among other things).  You may want to come to the September 13 Oakland Township Board meeting to express your opinion on that proposed development.  

Richard Michalski

Controversial items on September 13th Township Board meeting

First of all we hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable summer.  There have not been many posts on the website this summer, other than the results of the primary elections in August.  However, Township business is picking up.

There are a number of controversial items on Tuesday’s (September 13) Township Board meeting.  The topics that will probably receive the most discussion at the meeting include:

  • A developer’s request to extend an expiring sewer tap pay back program
  • A Pulte request to approve a Preliminary Site Condominium request for 57 units on the northeast corner of Adams and Gunn Road (across from Delta Kelly School)
  • 2016 Millage levy setting
  • Hunting in Oakland Township

As always, resident input on topics may influence the decisions the Board makes.  

If you have opinions on these matters, please either attend the meeting, or send an email to the Township Board with your thoughts on these topics.

Here is a copy of the agenda for the meeting:  

September 13, 2016 BOT agenda

You can go to the Township’s official website http://www.oaklandtownship.org to read additional documentation on these agenda items:

  • Click on ‘Township Documents’ at bottom of page
  • Click on ‘Misc Documents’ on left side of page under Public Documents
  • Click on ‘BOT Packet Sept 13, 2016 part 1‘ & ‘2’ – scroll down to the topics of interest

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  These agenda items not only will have a financial impact on all of us and the Township, they will also have a long term impact on the character of our community.

The balance between the wishes of current residents of Oakland Township and property owners who want to develop their land is maintained by the State and Local laws and ordinances.  The developers often want to ‘push the envelope‘ or ‘work the boundaries’ of the ordinances to their advantage.  Having a well informed community support their elected leaders ensure the ordinances to the full intent of the law is essential in protecting our community.  Your participation will help them do that.

Richard Michalski

Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers violates her own criteria for holding public office

Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Ann Marie Rogers, expressed behavior standards for Township officials at the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting.  Her own behavior in January 2015 demonstrates she does not meet that standard.

At the March 22, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Ann Marie Rogers commented that she did not support the potential appointment of fellow Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Joe Peruzzi, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  She commented that she witnessed many actions by Joe Peruzzi that should disqualify him for any public position. She claimed Joe:

  • “Lacked a thoughtful temperament”
  • “Showed disrespect toward residents”
  • “Possessed an unpredictable and angry nature”

Several Board members took issue with the accuracy of her statements.

Ann Marie’s comments reminded several residents of her behavior that was discussed at the January 14, 2015  Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.  At that meeting, a resident, Joanna VanRaaphorst, described inappropriate and aggressive behavior she witnessed Ann Marie exhibit against a fellow citizen during the previous night’s Board meeting.  Joanna commented that Ann Marie Rogers had turned around and called another citizen “a whore”, and created a hostile environment for citizens attending the meeting.

Ann Marie Rogers defended her actions, and said she even said things “a little bit worse”.  There was no acknowledgment of inappropriate behavior.

Here is a video documenting the proceedings that are described above:

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With this year being an election year for the Township Board and Parks and Recreation Commissioners, the citizens need to make sure we elect people who meet our standards for acceptable behavior. Ann Marie Rogers expressed a good set of standards in the March 22nd meeting.  Since she is running for office again this year, she should be held accountable to those same standards.  Her behavior at the January 13, 2015 Board meeting and the Parks and Recreation meeting on January 14, 2015 demonstrate that she does not meet them.

Finally, the allegations she made against Joe Peruzzi continue to be unsubstantiated.  The Board approved his nomination for the Zoning Board in a 5 to 1 vote.  Supervisor Gonser, who had made similar accusations, was the sole dissenting vote.

Richard Michalski

Comparison chart of candidates for Oakland Township Supervisor position – One Editor’s Opinion

The cutoff date for submitting petitions by individuals who are interested in running for office is rapidly approaching.  April 19th is the cutoff date.  As of today, I am aware of three candidates who have submitted their signed petitions for Supervisor.  As I stated in a previous post, there are two editors for this website- myself and Jim Foulkrod.  We have differences of opinion regarding who is the best candidate for the Supervisor position.  However, we both agree that current Supervisor Gonser is not the best person for the position based on his actions and performance over the past 3+ years.

I have put together a comparison chart that shows the qualities I would like to see in our next Supervisor.  I included my perspective on each candidate in those areas.  You may have other criteria & perspectives that you feel will influence your voting decision this summer.

Here is the comparison chart (click on image to enlarge):

Candidate comparison chart - RJM

For even LARGER image, click on following link:

Oakland Township Supervisor candidate comparison chart

Please review the chart, and feel free to comment on the various candidates.  Please do not use ‘pseudonyms’ or inappropriate comments

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  As many of you know, we have had a very turbulent 3+ years since Supervisor Gonser came to office.  We need to make sure we select a Supervisor that will prevent our citizens, and surrounding communities, from questioning:

“What in the world is going on in Oakland Township?”

A thoughtful analysis of the candidates and your informed decision, will help make sure that happens.

From my perspective, Mike Bailey is the right choice for that position!

Richard Michalski

A Conversation with Andy Zale – Candidate for Oakland Township Supervisor

** EDITORIAL Comment **

Jim Foulkrod

Andy Zale, currently the Chairman of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission, recently announced his candidacy for the office of Oakland Township Supervisor. Andy and I  recently had a wide ranging conversation about his reasons for running and the goals he wants to pursue if he is elected to the Office.

Our Supervisor must work better with the township staff and the Board of Trustees

Among the first things Andy told me was that he wants to Improve the relationship between the Township Supervisor and the Township staff and employees.  There has been too much turnover among the people who serve the township.  To some degree this loss of experienced talent has been caused by their interactions with the Township Supervisor.  Andy’s goal is to establish a standard of cordiality and mutual respect in working with the staff and consultants.

He would also work to Improve the tone and tenor of the Supervisor’s leadership of Board of Trustee Meetings.  Over the several years Supervisor Gonser’s leadership style has tended towards one of divisiveness, conflict, disrespect and petulance. In one case his remarks were so slanderous that it was necessary for him to publicly apologize at a subsequent meeting.  Andy’s tenure as Chairman of the Parks commission has been a demonstration of professionalism and leadership.

Planning and Zoning is important to our township

Andy said he is concerned that the Township’s current zoning ordinance is out of step with our Master Plan.  Early in 2010 the Planning Commission completed work on a new Zoning Ordinance that was intended to support the 2005 Master Plan.  The Commission forwarded the completed ordinance to the Board of Trustees with a recommendation that the Board vote their approval and put it into effect.  A group of citizens, some of whom were subsequently elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012, were vocal in their opposition to the new Zoning Ordinance and caused the Board of Trustees to delay its enactment. It is still waiting to be approved.  Andy will make it a high priority to get this cornerstone of our ordinances into effect.

Our Parks and Trails need to be supported

Supervisor Gonser, supported by Trustee Bailey who is currently also running for Supervisor, led an attack on our parks and the Parks Commission.  Gonser has opposed the trails plan from the beginning and  Trustee Mike Bailey was very outspoken in encouraging the Board to reject  the $1.7 million of grant money that would have built the Adams Road trail.  As a result of their actions  the nearly three million dollars of our tax money that we have already been assessed since we approved the millage in 2006 has, so far, yielded only 330 feet of completed Safety Path.

To Andy this is an unacceptable failure to respect the voters will as represented by both their approval of the millage and their responses to Township voter surveys .  Andy, an outdoors enthusiast,  has demonstrated his support for our parks and trails.  As Supervisor Andy  will work to see that our trails millage is used in the way that the millage proposal mandates  – “for the construction and maintenance of a network of safety paths, trails and boardwalks to provide healthy recreational opportunities and safe routes to schools, parks and neighborhoods in the Township”.  

Terry Gonser needs to be defeated

This publication has not been shy about saying that Gonser has not served this township well and that he should not be our Township Supervisor.  Voters have an opportunity to make a much needed change.

We are facing a three candidate race for Township Supervisor. Andy Zale has what it will take to win.  He understands that Terry Gonser will again run an aggressive campaign leveling untrue charges against himself and Mike Bailey .  Gonser will  again make vacant promises to special interests.  Andy has the courage, energy, dedication and stamina to take the high road in this campaign and emerge as the winner.

I urge everyone to vote in the August 2 2016 primary election and to vote for Andy Zale for Oakland Township Supervisor.

Jim Foulkrod

 

 

Oakland Township Board approves Oil and Gas Drilling ordinance

At the February 9, 2016 BOT meeting, the Oakland Township Board approved the proposed Oil and Gas drilling ordinance for Oakland Township.  The Board passed it in a unanimous 6 to 0 vote (Trustee Ferriolo was not at the meeting).  It was very clear from Board member comments that the Board was in favor of approving the Ordinance.  The purpose of the ordinance is to minimize the impact of oil and gas drilling operations in our Township.

Supervisor Gonser commented that his questions regarding the ordinance had been answered by MDEQ’s response to his request for clarification.  He concluded MDEQ “did not have disagreement with the ordinance.”  Others who read MDEQ’s response interpreted their response differently, but we are grateful for the unanimous support from the Board for the ordinance.

Thanks go to the the citizens that commented on the ordinance. Special thanks should be given to Erin Howlett, from Rochester Hills’ ‘Don’t Drill the Hill’s’, and Denise Demak, from Shelby’s ‘Citizens Against Residential Drilling’. Both helped Oakland Township learn from their community’s’ experience on this issue.

Here is a copy of the ordinance (an earlier agenda is included)

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With the passage of the ordinance, Oakland Township is now protected, to the fullest extent under the law, from oil and gas drilling operations in higher density residential portions of our Township.  We thank the Board and the Planning Commission for moving rapidly on this issue.

Richard Michalski