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Posted: 12/18/13

SAU permit for Blossom
Ridge denied in Oakland

Observer Special Writer
      A Special Accommodation Use permit for the proposed Blossom Ridge development for Oakland Township was officially denied by the Oakland Township Board of Trustees at their meeting Dec. 10.
       The senior housing development was struck down by a referendum during the August election with 72 percent against and 23 percent in favor of the rezoning.
       At a public hearing, Township Supervisor Terry Gonser re-read his recommendation on a request for Special Accommodation Use before allowing citizens to speak on the issue.
       "The supervisor's recommendation is to not approve the SAU as submitted 15 August, 2012," said Gonser.
       Oakland Township resident Annalisa Rogers fully backed Gonser's recommendation.
       "Just as I would expect you to vote no to what would be the equivalent of a 250 room hotel that a builder might propose to put at the corner of Adams and Dutton; for the same reason I would encourage you to understand why 72 percent (of the voters) said no to Blossom Ridge," she said.
       Township Trustee Robin Buxar requested she be recused from the motion vote due to her involvement with the referendum prior to her appointment to the board. The board approved her request.
       Township Trustee Mike Bailey said the board took a lot into consideration over the project.
       "I think this board has discussed this on many, many occasions. This is something we didn't take lightly," he said.
       Gonser clarified a few issues over reports that the decision to deny Blossom Ridge was political.
       "I want to assure our residents that that is simply in no way true," he said. "This is a recommendation based on studying the zoning ordinance . . . studying tons of documents and the suggestion was made that we had no attorney/client information passed along. That is also an untrue statement. We had many, many meetings with our township attorney to discuss this, either individually or in closed session."
       The board then rejected the application unanimously.
       Gonser also announced the board's decision to hire a new township manager after interviewing six candidates on Dec. 7.
       "The Board of Trustees deliberated at the end, made a selection, and we are extending an offer of employment pursuant to contract negotiations to Ann Capela. We will hopefully have a contract put together in the next week or so," he said.
       The board also approved funding up to $2,500 to cover the costs of a feasibility study conducted by Livonia-based engineering and planning firm OHM Advisors to do pre-engineering and cost estimates for a pathway on Kern Road north of Gunn Road and east through Bald Mountain Recreation Area. Another $2,500 will be paid for by Orion Township.
       "This is in conjunction with the continued attempts by Orion Township to acquire a parcel of land that directly connects to the Paint Creek Trail," said Township Treasurer Jeanne Langlois, who participated in the Northeast Oakland County Pathway Connections Committee. One of the committee's goals is to develop connections between the Polly Ann Trail and the Paint Creek Trail.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       • Heard comments from representatives from several non-profit groups on proposed uses for the 2014 program year Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation. Recommendations and project selection will take place at a future meeting.
       • Approved a motion to interview three auditing firm candidates at a future meeting.
       • Approved the addition of two extra meetings in January and February 2014.
       • Approved a request that the Parks and Recreation Commission refrain from entering into a contract with a caretaker until liability issues can be reviewed by the township's insurance agent and legal counsel.
       • Appointed Anthony Sweet and Brian Dalton to the Oakland Township Fire Department as paid on-call firefighters.

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Retrieved 4/17/2014 at 11:27:47 AM.
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