Here's a Live Timeline / LiveAgenda for the 1/7/2020 Special Board meeting. 

- by Jim Nelson


This is a LiveTimeline.

Everything in this document is a clickable link to a moment of video.  It gets you close to the moment an Agenda item was reached, a question was asked, an answer provided or a barely grounded speculation was tossed into the air to see if it would float or thrown like a plate of soggy spaghetti against a wall to see if it would stick.

This is made possible by hosting the video on Youtube.  B-Cam footage is edited in to eliminate most of the distracting camera motion you may have seen on the Livestream.  The pans, the tilts, the zoomings in and out.  With only one meeting room camera aimed toward the Board, those motions can't be avoided.

This transcription is incomplete. I handled as much as I could stand. Much remains to be transcribed.

FWIW, I've deleted the editorial asides. As on point as they may be, it is unnecessarily cruel to tell people the truth about themselves.

Planner Paul Lippens' presentation comparing the Synthesis, AR Brouwer, and Livonia Builders site maps begins here.

I greatly enhanced the Lippens segment with higher quality artwork and mattes.

Here's a portable copy. Pass it around. Watch your community leaders shuck and jive.



Call to Order



Roll Call

Motion to adopt the agenda

First Call to the Public

Board Member Response


Chockley: Moving on to the Agenda item

Belliger: Can I make a motion to entertain negotiations with Livonia Builders with a counter offer of 1.1 million?

Beliger: I can make the motion. I move to reject the current offer from Livonia Builders

Beliger: I move that we ask for a response from Livonia Builders by January 17th

2nd Call to the Public

Board Member Comments

Motion to Adjourn

Meeting adjourned


I've added a Table of Contents to the Board packet.

The 33 documents inside the packet are now a single click away.

The Board meets in a special session tomorrow, January 7th, to consider robbing Whitmore Lake of its park.  Thoroughly.  Forever.

But hey, if you don't care, why should I care? I don't live in Whitmore Lake.

Neither do six of the seven Board members.


1/7/2020 Indexed Northfield Township Board special meeting packet


To the packet's end I appended the original color coded scoring matrix. This was created - not before the proposals were asked for or submitted, but afterward by "our" Planner, McKenna's Paul Lippens.  It's Bespoke, a custom fit. 

Trustee Zelenock repeatedly asked for the scoring matrix to be delivered before requesting the Developer proposals. It was a necessary preliminary. Define what you want before asking for it. That's how you plan. 

The Board did nothing. Well, almost nothing: they nodded their heads. "Our" Planner took the hint. He did nothing.

Does anyone remember a less than 10,000 foot square Village Green being a requirement?  Less than a quarter of an acre?  A freaking homeowner's building lot? 

According to Lippens' post-proposal rewrite of history, it is, was, or something.  My money's on something. 

All eight evaluators of the proposal dutifully rated that sickening distortion with their 1-5s.  

That Quarter Acre Park first showed up in the Lockwood Assisted Living Apartment proposal. The overall proposal was derided by the Board. One of the deciding derisions was that Lockwood leaned heavily on the same State of Michigan low income housing grants (MSHDA) and confusing Payments in Lieu of Taxes scheme (PILOT) that AR Brouwer intends to use to build their low income North Village housing.  In what is surely a fantastic coincidence, AR Brouwer's finance guy presented for Lockwood also and in the same capacity.

1/4 Acre is a horrific diminishment of the original Park dream, the one celebrated in the banner photo above,  This park was the dream that over sixty percent of the Community - en masse - said they wanted. 

A park was what they wanted as the only use of the once in a lifetime land deal arranged by our former Township Manager, Howard Fink.  Ten cents on the dollar was the deal he arranged.  Van Curler was dead, buried.  His heirs had placed choice Van Curler property into conservancies around the county.  They apparently believed we'd care enough to treasure the land like the gift it was. 

For decades that land has been the de facto backbone of Whitmore Lake's public events.  Parking.  Tents.  Trunk or Treat.  Fireworks.  Ice Hockey Tournies.  Parade parking.  But every time we wanted to park there, to stage something there, we had to ask.  Now we didn't have to.  It was ours.

In a laughable parody of the Fireworks parking we've long enjoyed, AR Brouwer's proposal cedes us only 102 public parking spaces, less than half a space for each of your new North Village, parking constrained neighbors. 

Livonia Builders allocates 2 full acres to retention ponds.  AR Brouwer admits to only two small areas, totalling much less despite the vast square footage of roofs and asphalt with which they've blanketed your park.  Are they planning a site plan approval process surprise? 

So. Much. Bullshit.

Adding insult to injury, Livonia's two acres of retention basin area count as open space in your park. Soccer balls float, right?  Who am I kidding - with all those kids in the new housing, the fresh meat for the Whitmore Lake Schools you think you're netting.  Can't have them drowning, so it's gonna be fenced.

The Board fanboys are not even good at pretending to care about the loss to Whitmore Lake.


1/7/2020 Indexed Northfield Township Board special meeting packet


The Table of Contents is a list of the documents in the packet. Clicking on a document in the list will take you, like magic, to that document.  To return to the Table of Contents, clicking the Home Key usually works. 

Most of the documents in this packet first appeared in the 10/22/2019, 11/26/2019, and 12/10/2019 Board Meeting packets. Where better copies of the documents were available in the earlier packets, I replaced those in the Township distribution of this 1/7/2020 Special Meeting packet.

The Livonia Builders and AR Brouwer site maps are the most useful and damning of those improvements.  

The Livonia Builders zoomable vector drawing has been moved into a separate file. This eliminates the rightward displacement and shrunken document pages noticed in planning commission packets when the applicants are kind and 21st century enough to submit vector artwork for their plans.  It's easy to do in a pdf.

Don't know what I mean? It's the difference between looking at plans on a CAD system screen and looking at a photograph of that screen. The first is useful. You can examine features in detail. The second is what someone wants you to see and no more.


1/7/2020 Indexed Northfield Township Board special meeting packet


Here's a portable, clickable version of the LiveTimeline

12/18/2019  Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting LiveTimeline


Scroll down for the stuck-to-the-webpage version of the LiveTimeline 



------------ Start of Editorial -----------

produced by Jim Nelson, 12/27/2019 11:50 AM.

I have transcribed and linked to the entire discussion of the Planner's proposed 2020 goals. It's worth a read, a watch, and a listen - for the subtext.  Responsibility has been diffused and is un coordinated.  Committees are free running, guided mainly by confirmation bias.  Little more than lip service is paid to the Communal Good. 

You can see the end results in the Board's floundering attempts to save their only parking lot from being sold along with the 75 Barker Road Fire Hall.  

Parking gets discussed in this discussion of PC goals. It's why I stood up on my hind legs and addressed the Planning Commission at this meeting.  Somewhere in my sputtering was the seed of this editorial.

What's clear is that the Board's flailing will leave no parking to plan. They're selling the Barker Road property and trying to kickstart the sale of 80% of the North Village acreage to a developer whose sole intent is to maximize the number of housing units he can sell.  No one is saying WTF!


- No one who matters, that is, those whose future is affected.  That's the Whitmore Lake crowd, the people who rose up and overwhelmingly beat back the old ideas and old age behind the anti marijuana business referendum.  

- Yeah, that's a hint.

But none of that is impacted by the Planning Commission 2020 planning discussed at this December 18th meeting. The parking lot capable properties will have already been sold out from under Township control.

On January 7th, the Township Board will convene in a special meeting.  Supervisor Chockley is hell bent to turn over to developers, almost any developer out of this universe of two prospects, the Township's 23 lakeside acres.  Township Planner's bullshit has transformed this land from Whitmore Lake's only chance at a real Lakeside Park into Whitmore Lake's only chance at filling the only remaining lakeside open space with asphalt, apartments, and Low Income Housing.

The upcoming January 7th special Board meeting was hastened and arranged specifically to give Chockley's hottest development prospect the chance to apply for major State of Michigan, MSHDA Low Income Housing grants, that maximize the developer's profits and maximize the diminishment of  downtown Whitmore Lake. 

Read the last Board meeting packet.  I've made it easy:


In that packet is an assessor's valuation, a clueless and clumsy attempt to present the lost park land as a profit making venture.  The property long listed at around $3 million by Van Curler will be sold to the developer for around a million.  That property was intentionally and essentially given to the Township by Van Curler's family.  It is irreplaceable lakeside open space.

- This is a Township government that knows the price - but the value of nothing.

What's really stunning about those developer plans is how little space is alloted for siting actual businesses, for growth. 


So, Five lousy acres is the Board's grudging allocation to the promised Lakeside park.  And part of that 5 acres very likely includes the Main Street road easement passing between the narrow sliver of a beach area east of the road and the balance of the five acres on the west side.  Much of the balance of that five acres on the west side will be sucked up by asphalt: a ingress road and parking.  Such largesse! 

5 asphalt riddled acres for 8,000 residents.    

A tiny park, forever.

------------ End of Editorial -----------

Here's a portable, clickable version of the LiveTimeline

12/18/2019  Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting LiveTimeline


And here's the stuck-to-the-webpage version of the LiveTimeline 


Call to Order

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

Motion to Adopt the Agenda

Call to the Public

Comments from Commissioners: None

Correspondence: None

Public Hearing

9.A Reports of Committees

Agenda Item 11.A and 11.B Approve Conditional use and Site Plan

Agenda Item C: Recommend to approval 2019 annual report of activities by the Planning Commission

Roman: Motion to adopt the proposed 2020 calendar of meeting dates

Roman: Motion to approve the minutes from December 4th

Final Call to the Public

Roman: Motion to Adjourn

Documents for the 12/18/2019 PC meeting.  LiveAgendas are back.  I've indexed another packet.  You'll notice that the 54 page packet is mostly the same information repeated three times.  It's a Department of Redundancy Department-ish benefit, for whom I do not know.


12/18/2019  Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting LiveAgenda


12/18/2019 Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting LivePacket

12/18/2019 Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting Agenda


If you absolutely, positively prefer the knuckle-dragging of the premodern era, here's the packet without indexing:

12/18/2019 Northfield Township Planning Commission meeting Packet