The West Bloomfield Township Supervisor will deliver her seventh annual State of the Township Address on Monday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
In summary, the Township understands the value of maintaining secondary roads to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods and home values. Since the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) owns all township roads, and lacks funding from Lansing, the RCOC prioritizes the maintenance of major road thoroughfares. Therefore, numerous subdivision associations are pursuing special assessment districts (SADs) for the reconstruction of secondary subdivision streets.
The Township finances several SADs annual, thereby saving each household approximately $1,000 when funding the road rehabilitation projects and not incurring bond issuance costs. The 2015 SAD roadway improvement construction projects were: the FoxPointe Condominiums, Lone Pine Villas, the Manor Homes of Aldingbrook and Stonebridge.
The 2016 SAD projects are the Chimney Hills Condominium roadway improvement project and Willow Farms storm water management project. Under consideration for 2017 is the Maple Place condominium roadway improvement project. I am working with residents for potential SADs in the platted subdivision of Timber’s Edge, Herndons Walnut Lake Estates, Herndons Walnut Lakes Estates #1, Whitmer Farms, and Whitmers Walnut Lake.
At a time when there is inadequate road funding, the Township has been fortunate for a lengthy list of road projects completed over the past couple of years, including portions of Lochaven Road, Cooley Lake Road, Long Lake Road, Walnut Lake Road, Haggerty Road, 14 Mile Road, and Green Lake Road.
The township has received federal road funding, and I requested and received financial assistance of $200,000 from Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital toward the local community match to construct and widen Maple Road between Orchard Lake Road and Haggerty Road.
The Road Commission for Oakland County designed plans for total road closure on Maple Road during this planned construction. I recently negotiated to leave a one-direction lane of traffic open during construction, moving West bound in the direction of the hospital. This resulted in the need for the Road Commission to redesign plans and will delay construction. As such, only one mile of construction is expected to be completed this year on Maple Road between Orchard Lake and Farmington, with the remaining construction work between Farmington and Haggerty to be completed in 2017.
The township just completed several offerings of diversity training and active assailant preparedness training. The civiccentertv.com web site has a video of the one hour active assailant preparedness training containing generic fight and flight evacuation and lockdown protocol information. Viewing the content of this program is valuable to anyone with children or grandchildren in public or private schools, anyone who shops or dines in public places and anyone who visits governmental buildings.
The Township’s new Planning Director, Amy McNeary, and interim Building Director, Bruce Eck are recognized for their high standards of ethics and passion for excellence.
The Town Center Task Force is in the final stage of ordinance revisions to attract desired businesses to the Orchard Lake corridor between 14 Mile and Maple Road.
The 2015 Master Plan is in the final stage of development which will include the corridor market study information, town center ordinance revisions and the 20 year Water System and Sanitary System Master Plans.
The Township’s Southern gateway on Orchard Lake Road and 14 Mile Road, at the former Dunham’s and gas station location, features a new mixed use development with a Hampton Inn hotel and enhanced gateway signs from the direction of Orchard Lake Road, as well as Northwestern Highway. The hotel is open and ready for business.
The renowned Ferndale-based Inyo sushi restaurant has opened a restaurant the former’s Happy Pizza on Orchard Lake Road.
An upper scale commercial development with six stores, Westgate Shopping Center, which includes a drive through Panera bread, is expected to break ground this year at the former Cauley dealership on Orchard Lake Road.A world class, state of the art, colorful, two-story Ferrari dealership and museum is expected to begin construction this year.
To accommodate these developments the Township joined Oakland County One Stop Ready program to continue to streamline the building permit process and improve cross departmental communications among building, planning and environmental service functions. The building department reviewed, processed and issued 4,530 permits in 2015, compared to 4,472 permits in 2014.
The Water and Sewer Department, managed by the Water and Sewer Director Ed Haapala, operates under best management practices for a 24-7 operation that includes 376 miles of water mains, 340 miles of sewer mains and 23 lift station pumping facilities.
This Department is exceptional at delivering clean drinking water and ensuring that our domestic sanitary wastes are effectively removed and transported for ultimate wastewater treatment plant processing. The first comprehensive 20-Year Water System Master Plan and 20-Year Sanitary Sewer System Master Plan was developed last year.
A large focus continues on State deregulation issues, such as gas and oil extraction, as it can jeopardize property values and quality of life. It truly requires substantial time to organize numerous events and speaking opportunities devoted to the education and awareness of water quality issues in order to protect our natural and fiscal assets.
Since the existing Michigan Zoning Enabling Act provides no regulatory authority to townships, which govern 96% of the land area in the Great Lakes State, and no measures have been taken in Lansing to change it, the township has introduced a new ordinance aimed at regulating gas and oil extraction activity by way of its limited police powers to protect the public health, safety and welfare of residents.
The ordinance includes regulations for nighttime light, hydrocarbon and ambient dust emissions, industrial noise, violation of community master plans that force industrial conditions on residentially zoned areas, activities that disrupt wildlife and their habitats, withdrawal of groundwater that would reduce the volume of well water in residential areas and groundwater that impacts lakes, streams and wetlands in the community.
Secondary impact studies for property appraisal and environmental quality were conducted by third party consultants. These studies accompanied the ordinance and demonstrate the harmful impact of gas and oil exploration on property values and the environment. I will speak in detail about the new ordinance and secondary impact studies at the Sustainable Living Summit scheduled at the end of June.