Chockley Marlene 350h280w

1. Why are you running for office?
I want to do my part to accomplish good honest governance that meets the needs of us all. I have the best chance at healing the recent division we’ve experienced over development vs. land preservation. They are not mutually exclusive. I plan for this township to be my home for the rest of my life and I want to see it thrive. My background and qualifications make me uniquely qualified and the strongest candidate to lead Northfield Township as supervisor.

2. What is your platform?
Create value for our businesses by:

  • attending their meetings to understand their challenges and develop solutions
  • holding roundtable discussions to find opportunities for improvement and taking action on those that are within our power
  •  aggressively promoting them to township residents and the wider community

Assist the Whitmore Lake Public Schools by:

  • highlighting the positive attributes of a more personal school district to raise their profile to attract new families
  •  working to improve the township’s economic climate to increase funding

Preserve our rural character and balance developmental pressure by:

  • developing a greenways plan
  •  partnering with local groups to improve the economic viability of farming
  •  starting a land preservation study group to bring forth recommendations
  •  developing a program or programs to protect sensitive and agricultural lands while preserving landowners rights

3. What is your approach to building consensus in groups with divergent perspectives?
We must respect the fact that we will not all agree, but we can sit down together and recognize the needs and concerns that each group has and create plans together so that we can move forward instead of continuing the strife. Rarely is “either/or” the best option; we need to look at “both/and”. The key is inclusivity. My commitment to inclusivity was evident when, as chair of the planning commission, we used a wide variety of methods to gain input from our citizens. Beyond considering the survey, focus groups, public hearings, and letters from citizens, I even spoke with and/or met personally with several citizens to make sure their concerns were addressed. We CAN respect each other, work together, and become stronger as a community.

4. Would you support a local ordinance requiring the Board to notify residents and get approval before spending more than $250,000 on a particular project?
Not necessarily. The board prepares a budget each year and it should be based on the needs and wants identified in and by the community. A regular survey is important to get the community’s guidance and to set goals that reflect that guidance within the budget. If the expenditure meets an identified goal and is within the budget, beyond the transparency that we should demand in good governance, I don’t see the need to expend additional funds. Also, the extra time involved in doing so may result in opportunities lost. A recent example was the purchase of 24 acres of prime downtown land and waterfront for an exceptionally low price to ensure it is developed most beneficially for the community. The board of trustees is charged with making those decisions, albeit prudently. Adding extra layers of bureaucracy could hinder them in the performance of their duty. However, we can use low cost methods to communicate, such as with the township e-newsletter and posting on the website. We also have the opportunity to mail information in the two tax bills and the annual property assessment notice at little additional cost.

5. Would you support a millage for natural feature, farmland and open space preservation? If yes, what would you do to make that happen?
Part of respecting our citizens is including them in decisions. Some of our citizens would no doubt be supportive of such a millage while others may not or may not have the finances to do so. If enough of our township’s citizens request that we ask for a millage for such use, I would approve putting it on a general election ballot.
6. Are there any capital improvement projects you would support with taxpayer dollars after essential services are covered?
I would look to the input we have received from the public through past surveys and the master and capital improvement plans to prioritize any potential capital improvement projects. Certainly, we need to maintain and possibly improve our current assets, such as the township hall, but there may also be opportunities to leverage our limited funds to extend the bike paths and create a lake front park, either of which may boost the economy in the downtown and improve the recreation opportunities of our citizens.

7. Do you support the current 5-acre zoning in our agricultural areas? If not, what zoning would you prefer and why?
Yes, I support 5 acre zoning in agricultural areas. However, we have provisions within the zoning ordinance that do allow developments with lots as small as 2 acres if it is of exceptional design. Over 50% of the land must be preserved as open or natural area and the development must have access to paved roads to realize that density.

8. Are you familiar with our township’s Master Plan and do you support its vision for our community? If not, what would you change?
Yes, I led the commission during the development of the Plan and approve of it wholeheartedly.

9. Do you think the Master Plan should be altered to accommodate a developer?

10. Do you think sewers should be extended and the sewage plant expanded to promote residential development in our agricultural areas?
No, except for the few places where the master plan allows for it.


Candidate Bio:

Marlene Chockley is a fellow of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, a select group of men and women who value bipartisan solutions to public policy challenges. She is a former county commissioner who served the Pittsfield, York, and Ypsilanti Township areas very effectively for 3 terms on numerous health and human services, land use, and transportation committees. After moving to Northfield in 2008, she was appointed to and has chaired the planning commission for 6 of the last 7 years. She has also served on the county board of canvassers monitoring election integrity until resigning to run for supervisor.

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