Social networks can create the illusion that something is common when it is actually rare.

The majority illusion is the phenomenon in which an individual comes to believe that a behavior or attribute of most of his or her friends is shared by the population outside that circle of friends.  Even though it is rare in the population as a whole, a minority opinion can be believed to be extremely popular.

This is what drives attempts to undermine the Master Plan and the plundering of North Village plans.  

A small clique of people talk mostly to each other. Because they are willing to allow development anywhere it will go, they convince themselves and a few others that this is a widely held goal.  Nothing will shake their beliefs.  They see only what they want to see. 

They don't stop talking to anyone with an opposing viewpoint - but they do stop listening.

Northfield Township's third planner in less than a year has confirmed what the two previous planners reported. 

In a report signed by McKenna Associates President Phil McKenna and Senior Vice President of Planning Sally Hodges, our Township Planners recommend denying Biltmore's request that the Northfield Township Master Plan be amended so that Biltmore may plant a huge residential development on some of the few remaining large agricultural parcels.

My favorite quote:

10: The requested amendment would be a betrayal of the Plan’s major goals and objectives, which were developed based on extensive and substantial public input, based on our review of the planning process.

McKenna also factored in the high cost to taxpayers:

8: Our road analysis has shown that the impacts of the Master Plan amendment would require major changes to the infrastructure, and there is no plan in place to support those changes.


Page 14: "Should Review Area MDR development build-out at its maximum (a 75% increase in Township population), a case could be made for added public safety facilities and service west of US-23."

We already knew the Public Safety Building was too large and too expensive.  It concentrated the public safety system resources and debt in one place.    Now we're told that we must build another one, (75% as large?).
The original PSB plans were for a one story building, similar to those used by many of the Townships around us.  Those PSB plans, which cost taxpayers over $288,000, were thrown away by the 2001-2004 McFarland administration and a new architect hired.  His plans resulted in the building and debt we have now.  By the time it was over, the architectural fees paid by taxpayers totalled $718,931.95. 
When the Public Safety Building was finally completed in 2003, the Supervisor and Building Committee's mismanagement led to $3,878,774.26 in cost overruns not covered by the voter approved $3.8M Northfield Township bond. The cost overruns were paid for out of the General Fund.  To avoid bankruptcy, Northfield Township was forced to borrow $500,000.00 just to pay its routine operating expenses.  That borrowing was not paid off until 2014.   We are still paying for the building.


On June 3, 2016, TetraTech, Northfield Township's sewer system Consulting Engineers, also issued a report saying what they've already told Northfield Township many times.  The existing sewer system cannot handle the Biltmore project's demands.

The Reports:

Northfield Township Planner (McKenna Associates) formal review of the Biltmore LLC Request for a Northfield Township Master Plan Amendment, dated June 3, 2016

TetraTech's report on the capacity of the Northfield Township sewer system to handle the requirements of the Biltmore's plans for development of southwest Northfield Township, dated June 3, 2016


Biltmore Development LLC's 5-14-2014 request for a Northfield Township Master Plan Amendment

This is the letter referenced by Township Manager Fink on March 4, 2015, when he told Planning Commissioner Sam Iaquinto that the Biltmore Project entailed the possible building of 1500 homes.  At the December 8, 2015 Board meeting, Fink denied having said this.  Here's Fink on video, saying it to Iaquinto.





A lakeside park, a public beach, and lake access have long been on the local wish list.  If the Van Curler parcel purchase goes through, it becomes very suddenly possible.

The dream of lake access is discussed on pages 86-87 of the 2015 Northfield Township Parks & Recreation master plan.

Chelsea didn't want it; they couldn't stop it if they tried, but Green Oak got it.  For the next ten years, visitors to Green Oak's Island Lake Recreation Area will share the sounds of nature with the sounds of heavy mining equipment.

But why worry?  The Michigan DEQ is looking out for us.

- by Paula Gardner, January 28, 2016, MLive

Walmart will close two local stores, a six year old Walmart Supercenter at US-23 & M-59 in Hartland Township, and a Sam's Club in Waterford Township — today at 7 p.m..  The questions of what will happen to the buildings and what that will mean to their host communities — in terms of employment and tax revenue, remain unanswered.

The Hartland store is 176,000 square feet, about average for a Walmart "hypermarket" that includes a full grocery. It sits on 27 acres at US-23 and M-59, anchoring a corner of the interchange's retail hub that also includes Meijer, Target and Kroger.  The store was built in 2009, following a decade-long residential building boom, which in turn prompted commercial construction along the corridor.

Waterford township Supervisor Gary Wall said "I'm not shocked.". But having the Sam's Club remain at its 14-acre location near Telegraph Road and M-59 in Oakland County was important to the community, Wall said. The location is adjacent to Summit Place Mall, a 1.3-million square foot shopping center that has been vacant since 2009.  That's a lot of vacant commercial real estate," Wall said.

Both communities will lose six-figure tax revenue: 2015 bills totaled $171,140 in Hartland on the $4.185 million assessment, and $146,033 in Waterford on the $2.8 million assessment.

Read more of the MLive story here