Tag Archives: oakland township

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Township Board hears input from citizens on Draft Zoning Ordinance 16

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 OrdinanceSection 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

AnimalsSections 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 PlanSection 16-343

  • Test plan definition allows for counting non-buildable land in establishing allowed density count

Cell towerSection 16-416

  • Wording is too restrictive and prevents owners from having cell towers on their property

Home sizeSection 16-312

  • Minimum home size of 1200 square feet is too restrictive – should be able to build smaller homes

Assisted Living facility for elderlySection 16-408

  • 10 acre requirement is too restrictive – should be less

Change in parcel size on gravel roadSection 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:

http://www.oaklandtownship.org/boards_and_commissions/planning_commission/docs/Final%20Draft%20CORRECTED%208-31-17.pdf

 

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

Civility will return to Oakland Township! Our reputation restored!

Congratulations! Our collective efforts have been successful!

Voting_icon

Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Board positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Supervisor – Mike Bailey

Treasurer – Jeanne Langlois

Clerk – Karen Reilly

Trustee – Robin Buxar

Trustee – Frank Ferriolo

Trustee – John Giannangeli

Trustee – Lana Mangiapane  (only member of Terry Gonser’s ‘ticket’)

Here are the names of the unofficial winners of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission positions for 2016-2020 – pending the results of the November election:

Emily Barkham

Craig Blust

Dan Bukowski

Colin Choi

Cathy Rooney

Daniel Simon

Hank Van Agen

In addition, both the Parks renewal millage and the OPC transportation millage were approved.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?

With these public servants:

  • Civil, ethical and professional behavior will be restored at both the Board and Parks Commission level.
  • Turmoil regarding the form of governance in Oakland Township will be eliminated.
  • The certainty of the position of Township Manager will enable us to have the most qualified professional municipal manager run the day to day operations in the Township.
  • Conflicts between the Board and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be eliminated.
  • The great reputation of our Township will be restored.

Will there be difficult and contentious issues our community will have to deal with?  Absolutely!  Will there be differences of opinion on how to resolve the issues?  Absolutely!

However, we have seen how the returning Board members have developed and worked together as a team over the past few years.  Our future looks bright!

Thanks to all the great candidates that chose to run for office!  Thanks to the retiring Parks and Recreation Commission members for ‘vetting’ the new Commission’s candidates, so their legacy will continue!  Thanks to the countless others that helped get the new officials elected! Thanks to all those who have been following this website!  Thanks to all of those who contributed to the ‘Oakland Township Watchers Action Committee’ for helping to make the election results a success!

BUT, most of all, thanks to all those who voted!

YOUR VOTE COUNTED!

Richard Michalski & Jim Foulkrod

 

 

 

MUST WATCH BEFORE YOU VOTE: Gonser’s supporter’s ‘dirty politics’ caught on surveillance video

On August 1, 2016, a day before the election, a supporter of Terry Gonser was caught on surveillance video removing a flier from an Oakland Township owner’s door (although impossible to tell, it appears to have been an Andy Zale flier that is Red White and Blue) and then peered into the house for an eerily long period of time, scaring the children.  She left a copy of Supervisor Gonser’s campaign flier on the door.  

This is yet another example of the lack of integrity in Supervisor Gonser and his campaign.  Please watch the following video.  It should convince you not to vote for Terry Gonser.  It was enough to convince the owner.

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  

THE VIDEO SPEAKS FOR ITSELF!

CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THIS WOMAN?

Richard Michalski