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.
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.
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.
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:
The full presentation can be seen by clicking on the attached link:
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
Please join the fun on Saturday October 7th for the “Down on the Farm” event planned by the Oakland Township Historical District Commission. The festivities will take place at the Cranberry Lake Farm located on 388 West Predmore from 11 AM to 2 PM.
Here is more information on the event (click on image to enlarge)::
The Oakland Township Board did not approve the Draft Zoning Ordinance at their September 26, 2017 meeting.
The current Zoning Ordinance was originally approved in 1976. It has been modified many times through the years. That Ordinance has played a key role in defining the character of Oakland Township. The Draft Ordinance was intended to include revisions in State Law as well as providing an opportunity for citizen input.
During the last three Township Board meetings (Aug 22, Sept 12 and Sept 26, 2017), the Board heard input from citizens regarding the Draft Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance 16) that the Planning commission had recently approved. The Planning Commissions under three Township Administrations had been working on the document for over 6 year. There has already been significant citizen input in the document. This ordinance requires the Township Board’s approval before it is official. The Draft Ordinance was on the agenda for the August 22 and September 26th Board meetings.
The ‘first reading’ of the Ordinance occurred on August 22nd. There was very little input from citizens. At the September 12th Board meeting, as well as during the ‘second reading’ on September 26, there was quite a bit of input from citizens.
As a result of the input from citizens, the Board did not approve the Draft Ordinance as it is. They will probably be discussing the ‘next steps’ at the October 10th meeting. Hopefully, the Board will provide their input to the Planning Commission regarding the issues raised by the citizens.
Here is a summary of the concerns raised by the citizens at the meetings. Most of these issues had been discussed at previous Planning Commission meetings and at the public workshops that the Board held with the Planning Commission. Some of these are not true, but they were raised by the citizens as issues and should be addressed at subsequent meetings.
Definitions – Section 16-200 to 227
‘Grandfathered use’ (no definition)
‘Rubbish’ (too vague)
‘Nuisance’ (no definition in ‘Definition’ section, but too vague as defined in Section 16-306F)
‘Goods sold in home’ (no definition)
Home Occupation– Section 16-323
Believed publishing home business phone number on Facebook, or phone book, was not allowed (this is not true)
Prevents publishing address of home business on Facebook or phone book
Wording related to preventing people picking up product at their home
Bed and Breakfast– Section 16-505
Do not see need to establish minimum room size of 120 square feet for sleeping area of Bed and Breakfast facility
Enforcement of Ordinance – Section 16-110 & 16-111
Enforced on complaint basis only– not uniformly enforced
Penalty is misdemeanor not civil infraction
Others that ‘participate, assist or maintain violation’ are also liable
Concern over individual having been jailed for violation in past
Concern over process to document the existing ‘grandfathered’ or non-conforming situations
Animals – Sections 16-202A & 16-306
2 acre limits for small animals (chickens and rabbits) is too restrictive – want .5 acre
150 pound limit for domestic animals is too restrictive for some large dogs
Test Plan – Section 16-343
Test plan definition allows for counting non-buildable land in establishing allowed density count
Cell tower – Section 16-416
Wording is too restrictive and prevents owners from having cell towers on their property
Home size – Section 16-312
Minimum home size of 1200 square feet is too restrictive – should be able to build smaller homes
Assisted Living facility for elderly – Section 16-408
10 acre requirement is too restrictive – should be less
Change in parcel size on gravel road – Section 16-403
Questioned whether Ordinance was made less restrictive by allowing 2.3 acre lots with 200 ft. road frontage vs. what was believed to be previous 5 acre on 350 ft. road frontage
In addition to the specific issues raised by citizens, several individuals expressed concerns that the proposed Ordinance was an infringement of their property rights. Here are some of the statements made by these individuals:
The Document is too large – it should be no more than 50 pages
Large acreage parcels should not have restrictions like subdivisions
Let the subdivision owner’s control their property through their deed restrictions
“As long as we have wonderful neighbors” no need for ordinances
Ordinance has contributed to ‘overdevelopment’ of Township
In response to those concerns, having been on the Planning Commission of Oakland Township for over 26 years, I made the following points at the September 26th meeting:
The current Ordinance was approved in 1976 and updated many times
It has been modified through the years based on citizen input and State Laws
The Draft Ordinance is less restrictive in many areas than the current Ordinance
Contrary to comment made by our former supervisor, the effectiveness of an ordinance is not measured by number of pages, but by its impact on the community.
People like Oakland Township because of “what we are”.
We “are what we are” because of 40 years of good ordinances
The Draft Ordinance has been under development for well over 5 years
Input has been received from many citizens over that time
The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) participated in review of changes and provided input
The ZBA is knowledgeable of areas where there have been citizen issues – they “feel the hot breath of citizens” through the appeals process
The Planning Commission has included the ZBA’s input in the Draft Ordinance
Many rural areas in the state have very limited zoning ordinances resulting in issues in their communities
Without ordinances there is no method to correct problem areas
Some residents suggested subdivision should not rely on zoning ordinances, but should rely on their deed restriction to control problems
Deed Restriction enforcement requires sub owners to hire costly attorneys
Township ordinances provide protection without added burden
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?The purpose of the ‘first and second reading’ is to provide citizens one last chance to provide input on the Ordinance. The Planning Commission and Township Board should consider the concerns raised by the citizens and make changes they feel are appropriate. However, a wholesale re-review of the Draft Ordinance in not warranted given the years of input that many other citizens have already provided the Planning Commission on the Draft Ordinance. Their input should not be ‘discounted’ as a result of those who just recently got involved.
The Current Ordinance has served us well. It needs to be ‘tweaked’ not destroyed.
Richard Michalski (former Oakland Township Planning Commissioner for over 26 years)
If you want to review the Draft ordinance click on the following link: