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Posted: 01/01/14

2013 was controversial
year in Oakland Twp.

by STACY SOBOTKA
Observer Special Writer
      2013 was quite a year in Oakland Township.
       There were ups and downs for those wanting the Paint Creek Cider Mill Race restored to its historic water flow after the demolition of the Paint Creek Dam in 2011. A proposal from Wade Trim brought a ray of hope in January when the board approved a quote from the Detroit-based engineering firm. The plan was to have a 25 to 30 percent flow from the Paint Creek into the mill race.
       But in September, the plan ended up allowing only 10 percent of water flow into the mill race, and the township was back at square one. The Oakland Township Board of Trustees then brought in Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. based out of Ann Arbor to draw up a new plan, and received assistance from attorney Charlie Dunn, who had experience working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). They have applied for a grant from the Stormwater Asset Wastewater Grant and Loan Program (SAW) to cover projected costs.
       Blossom Ridge was another hot topic in the township. After much legal wrangling, the issue about whether to grant rezoning to the proposed senior living center was up to the voters. At the August primary election, 72 percent of the voters were against it, and only 23 percent were in favor. After the election, developer Dominic Moceri asked for a special accommodation use for Blossom Ridge. It was ultimately rejected by Township Supervisor Terry Gonser in his supervisor's recommendation and by the Board of Trustees.
       The township also saw the departure of several familiar faces. Bill Benoit Jr. resigned as Township Fire Chief in March. Paul Strelchuk, who was Assistant Fire Chief, was ultimately named the new Fire Chief of Oakland Township after his fellow firefighters and residents rallied for him at township meetings.
       The Oct. 22 meeting caused quite a shakeup in the township. Township Trustee Judy Keyes stunned everybody at the end of the meeting by announcing her resignation. Keyes often clashed with Gonser and the rest of the board over township bills, board minutes, and how the township was run.
       Keyes was replaced by Robin Buxar at a special meeting on Nov. 7.
       Township Manager Jim Creech announced his resignation in June. His last township meeting with the board was on Oct. 22. The township announced at their Dec. 10 meeting that they had selected Ann Capela as their new Township Manager. The board approved her contract at a special meeting on Dec. 17. She is expected to start her new position on Jan. 6.


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Retrieved 4/24/2014 at 4:53:49 PM.
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