[Note: The LiveTranscript and several other links have been repaired.]

At First Call to the Public, Marketing Research Expert Jim Mulcrone restated something everyone else forgot. Strongly held opinions do not change or they change very slowly. The results of the 2010 survey, which showed that more housing and more traffic were pretty much last on the wish list of Township Taxpayers, remain valid.  Therefore, there is little point in throwing more money after a new survey.

For verification, the Asphalt Addicts should look at their own opinions.  Despite any evidence backing them up, they've sung the same tune for the past 15 years.  Their opinions meet the definition of strongly held.  Nothing changes their opinions.  Nothing even dents their opinions.

The rest of this meeting was an absolute meltdown.

The story continues beneath the Read-More fold...

Stanalajczo, Dignan, and Iaquinto again led the charge to change the PC ByLaws. 

Dignan led off by trying to prevent Chairperson Chockley from making public Township Attorney Paul Burns' legal opinion, conveyed in an email, that the Bylaws must be followed.  More to the point, Burns wrote that to change the Bylaws required following the Bylaws.

Why the sudden interest in change?  Why now?  What's the real reason?  - That was the question asked by Commissioner Cousino and later, members of the Public. 

Planner DuMouchel began presenting her analysis of the existing P.C. Bylaws but was firmly silenced by Township Manager Fink.  After hearing him speak we began sensing hints of the nature and shape of the hidden agenda behind the push to revise bylaws.  Why the sudden concern about conflict of interest?

More disturbing, there are signs that we are seeing the ground work for an attempt to reduce the number of votes, six (6), that are now necessary to change the Master Plan.  If our Bylaws disappear, will a simple majority become the default plurality necessary to change the master plan?  Is that what this is about? 

Or is it more subtle than that?  Is it possible that opening up the bylaws for revision, via some nonobvious legal rat-tunnel, requires that they be in their entirety thrown out?  Could it be that this is a ruse to prevent the six vote supermajority now necessary to change the Master Plan from being voted back  into place?  The usual suspects, Iaquinto, Stanalajzco, and Dignan, will never vote for it.


On a more pleasant note, Kris Olsson presented the Huron River Watershed Council's recommendations.  Among these was a recommendation that buffer zones around lakes and river tributaries be extended to 100 feet, with grandfathering of existing buildings.   Commissioner Iaquinto objected, saying this would reduce the value of undeveloped lakefront lots.  When asked he did not identify any.  

Iaquinto later accused Olsson of asking "us" to "derive" an "anti-total-zero growth policy."

Draft # 4 of Cobalt's halfhearted efforts at creating a survey was included in this meeting packet.  At this point Cobalt has been paid $8416 for the equivalent of a couple of PowerPoints.  Chairperson Chockley explained the inclusions of the two Cobalt items, under Correspondence, in the meeting packet. 

1. Cobalt's 9/21 letter explains their usual process of conducting a survey.  This is separate from Draft #4 of their survey. 

2. Draft #4 of the Survey was Cobalt's attempt to provide "something" to fulfill the Board's demand for a survey.  It is undated.

Here's the repaired LiveTranscript of this meeting.

FYI: This transcript is only partial.  Software handles only part of the job and this session was tough to watch.  It is even tougher to rewatch.  Some moments remain untranscribed. 

For the best summation of the embarrassment we watched, watch these public comments at last call. 

Who didn't apologize?  Two of the three commissioners who caused this implosion. 


Meeting preview:

  • Cobalt Survey draft 4 ( in the packet but not on the Agenda)
  • Planner's Review of Bylaws with a puzzling emphasis on Conflict of Interest
  • Huron River Watershed Council Update & recommendations

Draft 4 of the survey is worse than draft 3.   Cobalt led off by misrepresenting the extent of Ag Zoned property in the Township using the map below, left.  The survey then asked questions based on that misrepresentation.  People are asked their opinion about doing the impossible, "permanent preservation" by the Township.  Next they're asked if they want to pay higher taxes, "a millage," to do so, thus tying together - in some people's minds - the idea of preservation with the unpleasantness of higher taxes.

The "would you support a millage question" will be asked of citizens who are already burdened with the some of the highest taxes in Washtenaw County.   It isn't as if this Survey balances that question with questions about the cost of development.  Nothing is asked about the high costs and impact on the Township's current taxpayers and infrastructure.  The existing Master Plan doesn't even get mentioned.

This survey is being pushed by the same crowd that gave us the 2010 survey.  As Planner DuMouchel demonstrated with her September 16 presentation, (here on Youtube) (here in pdf form) the 2010 survey showed that people's opinions and priorities hadn't changed much since the 1996 survey.  Now we're being asked to believe that everything has changed in the five years since then.

Well, one thing will have changed.  The Township taxpayers will soon be $16,832 poorer.



 The Left side is Cobalt's misrepresentation.  On the right is the Township Master Plan land use map.


  • FYI: Here's ex-Planner Doug Lewin's March 4th presentation showing a dozen ways to develop large parcels without undermining our Master Plan.  These are legal, transparent, and above board.


Meeting Documents and Links

  • Click here to watch along with a LiveTranscript of the Bylaws Discussion
  • Click here to watch individual parts of the meeting with a LiveAgenda.
  • Click here to view or download Cobalt Survey Draft 4
  • Click here to view or download the Planner's Review of the Bylaws
  • Click here to view or download the current PC Bylaws with the Planner's annotations
  • Click here to view or download the Huron River Watershed Council Report (8.5MB)
  • Click here to view or download the Meeting Agenda
  • Click here to view or download the official Meeting Minutes (draft copy)
  • Click here to view or download the 10-4-2015 Meeting Packet (which contains all of the above but is very large - 9 MB)
  • Click here to view or download the 10-5-2015 REVISED Meeting Packet (containing the Cobalt Survey)(again, very large - 9MB)
  • Click here to watch the entire meeting on Livestream

        The LiveMeetingMinutes will be added when available