Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Boogyman" and the Design Review Board changes meeting date

Hi All,
Design Review Board meeting changed to THURSDAY, JULY 26 @ 9 AM.
Is this to take the place of the cancelled Aug. 1 scheduled meeting?  When the change in meeting date is moved forward of the cancelled date...who expects that?  The change should come after the cancelled date.  Egad.

Well, I suppose the notice of the CHANGE in the day and time for the Design Review Board was posted on the bulletin board at the Township Hall lobby to make this "legal", but how many of you check that bulletin board daily?  I didn't look.  There is a township website.  It could be posted there on the "home" page informing the public of a change in meeting date.  Why the change of day and time for this meeting? I just happened to find this meeting notice on the website this morning.

However, let's take a closer look at the DRB agenda....the Maple Theater and the Township Fire Station adjacent to the theater.  

Some history:
Both are adjacent to the vacant bank building that the shopping center owner at Maple and Telegraph wants to change the zoning  from O-1 to B-2.....with NO "mentioned" tenant in mind.  The O-1 property that has been PROTECTED since 1962 from commercial development.  The zoning change is not only the bank building, but the entire parcel of property that is over one acre in size that would be rezoned.

That zoning change issue has been forwarded by the Planning Commission to the Board of Trustees for a vote.  It will be a public hearing at a future Board of Trustees meeting.  Where is the legal notice of the day and time for that hearing?  There should be 15 day noticing.  It should be on the township website under "legal notices".  Who knows?  You are just the taxpayer.

The Planning Commission mentioned that since no one bothered to come to their public hearing on Monday, July 16, it must mean that all the residents are OK with the issue to change the property to a commercial use.  Of course, someone was there to speak to the issue.  I was in the audience and I spoke for maintaining the zoning of O-1 to protect the adjacent residential property , but Mr. Mintz indirectly referred to me (and anyone else with similar opinions) as the "boogyman" ...scaring people.... because I correctly stated that the property could then have a fast food restaurant and/or be redeveloped with other uses such as a mini strip mall.  There are many uses including another restaurant with a liquor license open until later in the evening in a B-2 zoning. The Maple Theater could acquire the vacant bank building.  The adjacent Maple Theater has an "entertainment" permit as well as the liquor license permit. Perhaps the owners want to expand their business plan.  The property is over an acre and could accommodate  many B-2 uses.

It was obvious to me that the planning department of the township is working toward facilitating the change in zoning by the responses given to the Planning Board questions.  You won't read that in the minutes or see a video of the meeting...township refuses, so far, to tape and archive video recordings of the Planning Commission or the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Design Review Board meetings.  If you were there, you might come to that conclusion like I did.

The residents at Woodward and Square Lake have a Tim Horton restaurant adjacent to them.  The property was B-2....and P-1.  The Tim Horton restaurant was put in the area of what was the parking lot area of the former B-2 use.  That single piece of property  now has 2 businesses...Tim Horton AND the Rusty Bucket restaurant.    The P-1 parking adjacent in this location could also change.  Must be the "boogyman" talking again.

What issues do the recently permitted Maple Theater with a liquor license and the adjacent Township Fire Station need?   Something that only the three elected leaders that make up the Design Review Board on a special day and time will most likely hear?  At a public meeting that is not video archived for the record?  At a public meeting where there will most likely be a final decision made?

For the Maple Theater it may be just the "revision" of the facade as to the type of brick, or the number of windows.....something that won't make a lot of difference to the neighborhood.  Then again, perhaps the facade change is the configuration of the "outdoor" seating area.  Don't know the answer.

The Township Fire Station issue is about a fence.  Privacy fence. Will this decision be made at this meeting or will the issue go before the Zoning Board of most fence issues?  Are they requesting a fence higher than 4 ft.?  Are they getting their fence in place in anticipation of protecting them from the possible noise of a future B-2 commercial use?  Don't know the answer.  Must be the "boogyman" talking again.

If the Township public meetings all had "board packets" with the details of the issue to be discussed posted on the website along with the agenda, a lot of guessing could be eliminated.  

Note:  The August 1 meeting of the Design Review Board is cancelled.

Design Review Board Agenda
Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Bloomfield Township Auditorium
I. Attendance
II. Approval of Minutes:
    A. Approval of the Design Review Board Minutes of July 18, 2012
III. New Items:

A. Façade Changes:
1. 4135 W. Maple Rd. – Maple Theater – Façade Revision

B. Site Improvements:
1. 4151 W. Maple Rd. – Fire Station No. 3 – Privacy Fencing

IV. General Business:
   A. Recent Design Review Board Approvals
   B. Next Meeting Date – Wednesday, August 15, 2012
   (The August 1, 2012 Meeting has been cancelled)

C. Public Comment

V. Adjournment

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monday, July 23 Board of Trustees meeting @ 7 PM

Hi All,
Here is the AGENDA for Monday, July 23.  Please read my comments about agenda items #6 & 7 concerning DONATIONS to non-profit organizations with taxpayer money.

At the last Board of Trustees meeting on July 9, there were TWO non-profit organizations seeking funds from the township.  I argued that taxpayer dollars should not be used for this purpose.  The first organization, BBCC, was asking for $10,000.  I pointed out that this organization used to ask for more money.  See these minutes from 2008:

After discussions and motions by the current board of trustees, a $5000 donation was made to BBCC for their fiscal year that ends in Oct. 2012.  Leo Savoie, Corrinne Khederian, and Police Chief Kirt Bowden are on the board of directors for this organization (BBCC).  Neither Mr. Savoie nor Ms. Khederian excused themselves from the vote to donate taxpayer money (Police Chief not a Trustee of the township and cannot vote).  I believe this is a conflict of interest and I did point that out in my three minutes of allotted time during public comment. 

Dan Devine mentioned that he did some investigating about what the township could or could not do as to donations to nonprofits with taxpayer money.  From the minutes of July 16, 2012 meeting:

That opinion and suggested "guidelines"  by Dan Devine was then taken to the second issue last month concerning the non-profit organization BBFA that was seeking a $2000 donation.  It was hinted that this organization did NOT meet the guidelines for donations.  I argued against any donation.  There was no one from the organization, thus the TABLED motion to be heard this Monday evening.   Please note:  there are NO township leaders on this non-profit organization. However, it does operate out of a Bloomfield Hills school district location.
WHAT will the township decide this Monday, July 26? Donate or not? 

FYI:  The township also has donated to Preservation Bloomfield, another non-profit.  Interesting fact:  Township leadership is on that Board of Directors organization.  Seems that IF the township sits on their is available to them.  This organization also owes the township money from a "loan".  Here is one "loan" from the minutes of 2008.   
When will the township get "reimbursed"?  More money has been given to this organization.  More to follow.

FYI:  The township seems to be the go to municipality for money for organizations. This needs to stop.

FYI:  The police department is presenting their annual report for 2011.  The fire department presented their annual report at the last meeting.  Both reports should be on the township website found under "annual reports".