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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 08/21/13
Other options considered after Blossom Ridge issue defeated at polls, 76-24%
by STACY SOBOTKAIt's been a busy month in Oakland Township.
Observer Special Writer
At the Aug. 6 election, Oakland Township voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot proposal to rezone the proposed Blossom Ridge Assisted Living facility, with 2,173 votes against and only 823 in favor of the rezoning.
If it had been approved, the proposal would have permitted the rezoning of the area from the Medium Residential Density (MRD) zoning classification to the Residential Multiple-Family with Planned Rezoning Residential Overlay (R-M/PRRO) zoning classification.
"It's disappointing that the needs for the elderly and disabled in Oakland Township were disregarded by their neighbors," said Dominic Moceri of DM Investment Company and Four Stars, LLC, the developer behind Blossom Ridge.
But the Blossom Ridge issue isn't over yet.
At the Oakland Township Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 13, Moceri appeared asking for a special accommodation use for Blossom Ridge.
At the Oct. 9, 2012 meeting, former township supervisor, Joan Fogler, denied the request for special accommodation use, but would consider special accommodation only if the development is invalidated by the voters of Oakland Township, thus removing the other recognized ordinance provision available to approve Blossom Ridge without needing to use the special accommodation use.
Her recommendation did not address or make recommendations in various areas of the township zoning ordinances.
"In summary, the supervisor needs to review all of the information that has been made available," said Township Supervisor Terry Gonser. "The supervisor will provide to the Board of Trustees a recommendation relevant to issues not addressed in the previous supervisor's recommendation."
The motion passed 6 to 1 with Township Treasurer Jeanne Langlois casting the only opposing vote.
"I feel that the board needs detailed information from our attorney explaining the current status of this request in light of the events since last fall. I don't feel prepared to make a determination that the next step needs to be a revision or an augmentation of the supervisor's recommendation," she said.
The board also approved a motion to send the Goodison Plan back to the Planning Commission for revisions.
The Goodison Plan is a design recommendation and implementation strategy for the Goodison area of Oakland Township.
The board tabled the plan after residents objected to certain aspects of the plan, including a traffic island and changing the intersection of Collins and Orion roads to a 90 degree angle.
The plan will go back with the stipulations that each board member will send a list of his or her recommendations to Township Manager Jim Creech, who will compile a complete list.
The board also agreed to include input of Goodison's residents and business owners into their suggestions.
"There's a lot of us business owners right there in Goodison who have been there a long time," said Danny Beer of Lyon Gear. "If you're going to make those recommendations, I'd be more than willing to (help out)."
The board also approved the addition of a pedestrian lane on the Orion Road Bridge, which is scheduled for complete removal and replacement in 2014.
Township Trustee Judy Keyes explained there would be an additional cost for the pedestrian lane, which she thought necessary due to what she found would originally separate the pedestrian and auto lanes.
"According to the funding from the Federal Highway Administration, which is going to fund 95 percent of this project . . . 5 percent coming from the Road Commission (of Oakland County) but the non-participating costs concern the railing. Included in that is only a chain-link fence," she said, further explaining the railing would cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
Township Trustee Maureen Thalmann agreed that the additional cost would help beautify the Goodison area. "The cost . . . is minimal. And I think that would be a real gateway to the community. We would want it to be attractive . . . to have the same character that we want for Goodison," she said.
After approving the pedestrian lane, the board approved a motion to include additional costs for railings and lighting not to exceed $25,000, and consultation with the Historic District Commission on its design.
The board also issued a proclamation to retiring Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Terry "T.C" Cashman. Cashman served for 38 years with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, with 17 of those years at the Oakland Township substation. He has done traffic enforcement and served as a detective and patrolman. But he's not leaving the substation for good. He will still be working at the substation as a desk officer during regular office hours.
"I don't go a day without someone thanking me. It's nice to know so many citizens had my back," he said.
In other business, the Board of Trustees:
• Approved a contract with Bob Schmidt Roofing for the Historic District Commission to replace the Cranberry Lake Farm henhouse roof at a cost of $7,650.
• Appointed Ron Hein and John Giannangeli to the Planning Commission with terms to begin September 2013.
• Appointed John Markel and Judy Workings to the Zoning Board of Appeals with terms to begin September 2013.