Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brownfield Plan, Hold Harmless Agreement-How will Pontiac Vote?

Hello City of Pontiac Commissioners:

As a Bloomfield Township resident that has been paying attention to this issue:  Village at Bloomfield   and having attended the JDC (Joint Development Council)  and City of Pontiac and Bl. Township meetings,   I (Marcia Robovitsky) would like to voice these thoughts on the Dec. 28, 2016  agenda items for the City Commissioners of Pontiac:    from here choose 12/28/16  for the 170 page PDF document
    pages 6-9/ 170   are the two documents that are on the agenda   many more pages of documents for the Brownfield resolution and hold harmless agreement.

1.  In my opinion,  the Brownfield resolution is poorly written and I think the voting members should know WHO wrote this resolution and  has Pontiac legal team approved this resolution? There are assumptions and undocumented statements in many of the "whereas" paragraphs.  This document does not even identify the property correctly.  This project is The Village at Bloomfield.... not "of"

2.  This Brownfield resolution is also not worded correctly in the TITLE:  According to the Hold Harmless Agreement that follows in this agenda the correct wording SHOULD include the FACT that the Oakland County BRA (Brownfield Redevelopment Authority) has only approved an  "Amended Brownfield Plan".    WHAT Brownfield Plan did they "amend"?   Where is a copy of that original PLAN and where is  the "amended"  plan?  

Who is the  "someone"  that wants/needs  the City of Pontiac to approve this "amended Brownfield plan"  before it is even heard by the Oakland County Commissioners?  There are 170 pages in a pdf for this meeting but no Brownfield plan documents are included.  WHY?  Are there minutes from the Oakland County BRA?  What date did they approve this "amended" Brownfield Plan?    Who wants this resolution signed during a holiday period?  Who wants this hold harmless approved before the end of 2016 during the holidays and why?  Pontiac attorneys?  REDICO?   Bloomfield Village Owner, LLC members?    I absolutely don't know why the City of Pontiac wishes to rush into agreements and resolutions that will last 30 years,  lose millions in tax dollars,  have a potential lawsuit from the township over 3 mills without taking more time to review the documents.  My opinion.  Table these two documents today!  My opinion.

3.  In the Brownfield Resolution there is a "Whereas"...  that states the City has "reviewed the Plan" and had  "reasonable opportunity to express their views" .   Have all the members of this voting board "reviewed the Plan" ?  Do you or they know how REDICO may receive $60 million dollars/ spent on what specific costs that relate to a Brownfield situation?   While this Brownfield Plan is for the City of Pontiac property only,  it is still affecting the 425 Agreement and perhaps the Development Agreement.  The citizens of Bloomfield Township have not seen this plan nor was this Brownfield plan or legal documents reviewed and discussed at a public meeting in Bloomfield Township as to how it may impact the township.   Is it going to cost $60 million to demolish buildings?  Think about it, the developers will not just end up with totally vacant land after demolition, they will still have an existing seven story parking structure and several  partial structures built and paid for by others.  There is value in those existing structures and the land.  REDICO bought the foreclosure property as is.  $60 million Brownfield Plan?  No.

4.  The Oakland County BRA  is NOT the final voice to approve a Brownfield in Oakland County.  Nor should the City of Pontiac give approval BEFORE it goes before the full Oakland County Board of Commissioners.      This OC BRA subcommittee MUST take their "recommendation"  to the full board of commissioners at Oakland County for a vote.  A public meeting.   Is there a majority there to approve $60 million for this project?  Are there other worthy projects in Oakland County that perhaps are more blighted and "deserve"  Brownfield dollars?   I believe that the PUBLIC should be able to go to a OC Commission meeting and hear the agenda item concerning this Brownfield Plan and learn FIRST of how the county commissioners VOTE. 

5. The hold harmless agreement has  "someone" that wants the City to sign immediately. This agreement  is written by whom?  This is so important!  Read the document.  The City of Pontiac has been paying the 3 mills to the township for years.  Is that going to end for the next 30 years?   Where is legal documents about the 3 mills?    Who would pay for legal fees if the township or a private citizen takes this  3 mill payment issue to court?   This Hold Harmless document says that the "Developer shall reimburse and/or hold the City harmless from any such payment obligation."  Not defend the City in a lawsuit.   Where is a legal document from the Developer to the township?

6.  The hold harmless agreement also says "..and shall run with the land".   The Developer is reported to be selling the land to others.  Menard's property.  Apartment property.  The Developer will no longer OWN that land.  So, would the new land owners be liable to pay the 3 mills to the township for 30 years or will the "Developer"?   There are too many questions to ask and have answered to sign any legal document  at this time.   Will those new land owners be required to sign legal documents paying the 3 mills to the township?

7.  Item #3 in the hold harmless agreement states "shall not merge into any future agreement or amended agreement"  ETC   unless ...
Again, this needs further examination and thought.  This is not the time to vote on this agreement.  My opinion.   Mayor Waterman  and this board  should be very careful with their  vote as all votes have consequences both for good and bad.    Where are the documents of the original Brownfield Plan and the documents for the "amended" Brownfield Plan?
Don't vote on something you didn't see, read and understand.

8.  Do the people and the two municipalities and the county want something good to happen on this property ?  Yes. Of course.  Will there need to be concessions to the previous 425 Agreement and Development Agreement and the Town Center Agreement ?   Yes. Of course.    But at this particular time,  the Developer has changed the "master plan"  many times in their verbal presentations and have now spent over one year with the JDC with no firm SITE plan to approve, just conceptual plans. 

This project is asking for changes to the agreements in advance of the Developer presenting a FINAL site plan to approve.  The potential business uses have changed over the year.  The existing building uses have changed over the year.   There is no firm plan for the property.    In the Hold Harmless agreement (second "whereas" paragraph)  the document states:   " ... intends to redevelop the site as a mixed-use project,....., which will include residential, dining, grocery, entertainment, and healthcare components:"

Since this is a current document to be signed,  why is home improvement store not listed for Menards?  Why is an auto dealership using the parking structure located on Pontiac property not mentioned in this document?  Why does this document not mention a hotel?  Who wrote this Hold Harmless Agreement?  Find out, please.

9.  Big question .... how much TAX dollars will the City of Pontiac be losing over the next 30 years by approving this Brownfield Resolution today and the Hold Harmless Agreement?  How much is the dollar figure to pay Bloomfield Township the 3 mills either by the City of Pontiac or the Developer for the next 30 years?  Can a better agreement be made with the Developer?   What role did the  Pontiac Brownfield Redevelopment Authority have in this Brownfield Resolution being presented today?  Where are the minutes from their meeting of December 8, 2016?   Who is on that Pontiac BRA  making decisions and do they have legal authority without first receiving  City Commissioners approval? 

10.  I sent this agenda notice via email to the Bloomfield Township attorney last night and the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees and others.  

Here is Attorney William Hampton's email response to me:
"Thank you for the email. A representative from my law firm will be in attendance. The one resolution is Pontiacs way of approving the Brownfield. The Brownfield does not include any land in Bloomfield Township. The hold harmless resolution apparently is to protect Pontiac and hold them harmless with respect to the three mill obligation. The three mill obligation would then become the responsibility of redico.  Bill Hampton"

My thoughts after reading this response:
Well,  this email from our township attorney does not make me feel good about this upcoming decision at the City of Pontiac.

Notice the wording  "is Pontiac's way"   of approving the Brownfield.   Would the township do it differently?  If so, what way?
Notice the wording   ""apparently is to protect"  Pontiac.      Is "apparently"   good enough?  Why not "definitely" .   Yikes.  Should Pontiac take a second look and vote later?  Yes.
Notice the wording   "would then become the responsibility of Redico"      Our  Bl. Twp.  attorney says nothing about the 3 mills owed to the township and no such documents have been put before our Board of Trustees.  The other bothersome wording from the township attorney is that "a representative from my law firm",   well,  the township hired another law firm that is more versed in Brownfield issues.  Where is that guy/firm?   Egads.

I also heard from one of seven  Bl. Twp. Trustee newly elected Michael Schostak:

"This was discussed at the last meeting prior to our votes on the proposed changes to the development agreement. Matt Gibb, Deputy County Executive, spoke at the meeting and indicated that Redico was prepared to step in and guarantee payment of the 3 mills to the township in exchange for the Brownfield. The agreement in the Pontiac council packet called “Hold Harmless Agreement” is the contract between the developer and the City of Pontiac which states that the developer will reimburse the city or make any direct payments related to taxes owed to Bloomfield Twp as a result of the 425 agreement. It is likely that we (Bloomfield Twp) may have to take the issue to court to enforce our contract but assuming the contract is upheld, Redico will step in and pay it."

My thoughts  and response sent back to Mr. Schostak.... with no rebuttal back from him:

"Matt Gibb is NOT Redico and the Hold Harmless is NOT a contract... my opinion.   Where are the attorneys that represent the township and their opinion on this Hold Harmless agreement?   Come on, Michael,  go beyond what Savoie tells you.   Would any Schostak company accept this kind of language to collect money for 30 years?  NO."
SEE THE DOCUMENTS PROVIDED by the City of Pontiac:    from here choose 12/28/16  for the 170 page PDF document
    pages 6-9/ 170   are the two documents that are on the agenda


Starting on page 98/170   of the PDF  of the Board Packet for this Dec. 28, 2016 meeting @ NOON  of the City Council for the City of Pontiac is a report from a company called Baker/Tilly talking about TAX dollars.    Something important that the City of Pontiac should know and understand.

Marcia Robovitsky
self-appointed Bloomfield Township watchdog

Monday, December 12, 2016

12/12/16 Agenda ISSUES/my comments

Hi All,
I have only 3 minutes to comment on 17 agenda items that I have not heard explained by the township board.  My 3 minutes of public comment  will come as AGENDA item # 1.   Can't say all this in 3 minutes... so here are my written comments and opinions on this 12/12/16 agenda.

Board Packet is 257 pages long... has the details the township provided:  @     Board of Trustees/Board Packet/12/12/16

THE PUBLIC HEARING IS IMPORTANT and all that want = may SPEAK AT THIS agenda item.

FAIR WARNING:   Supervisor Savoie has changed the order of the agenda without notice before.  Therefore, please be at the meeting at 7 PM.


Public Comment:   watch this meeting live @ 7pm 12/12/16 :      
PLEASE click on the LIVE STREAMING link.

Keep this blog handy.  See what is discussed.

The minutes to be approved have clearly misrepresented the order of the agenda done 11/28/16.  Agenda item # 3  went before agenda #2.  Then agenda #12 was done.  Then to agenda #4.    The clerk can not just renumber the agenda items in the minutes.

I believe that the positions for the different boards  should be posted and give the township taxpayers the opportunity to be considered for the APPOINTMENTS to those different boards by the Supervisor and the Trustees.   Many of the names have not changed for years.   Time for change.

What is the Grant dollar figure the township is claiming?  Who is the full time employee assigned to N.E.T. ?

DPW  EVENTS... are costly events.  They seem to be funded from the taxpayers CABLE bills  and from dedicated millage money earmarked for  Roads.   Using that money for DPW events from the Cable department seems to be a violation of the Headlee Amendment.  There is free disposal locations that the taxpayers may use.  One is on Coolidge Road between 14 and 15 Mile Rd.   run by SOCWA.   For our township event, is Rizzo the company that benefits?   Where are the overtime wages for these events listed ?   See the township budget.

from the CABLE department preliminary budget:

from the ROAD department preliminary budget

Time to review this expense !  Tree City USA     What budget line item is all of this???

PUBLIC HEARING....   residents may speak to this issue during this agenda presentation
Very dangerous lot split request.
In my opinion,   this is not right.  There are 3 separate lots that have NOT been joined by as one.
I do not believe that someone can buy adjacent lots and then just try to divide it up using the LOT (singular) Split request.
Dangerous, because in our township there are many established subdivisions with large lots and deed restrictions.  The possibility for this to occur in other subdivisions or again in this subdivision is great.
The township will NOT defend the deed restrictions yet seem to encourage this type of lot split on multiple lots to develop a new subdivision within an established subdivision.  That means lawsuit by the existing neighborhood residents to stop deep pocket developers.

NO,   NO,   NO,  NO     Demolish the existing mess at this location and then submit a specific plan to vote on.  There is just a concept.... and no AMENDMENTS to the Development Agreement should be made at this time.   There is a major conflict of interest with Dennis Cowen being the "neutral" party.  He should have recused himself at the very beginning of his appointment.  Supervisor Leo Savoie should not be the Bloomfield Township  representative on the JDC.  Joint Development Council.   Again.  Major conflict of interest for Savoie with Cowen and Redico and Savoies many other real estate deals and other job.