Note: LiveAgenda links use Youtube to display video. To work properly, only one Youtube can be run at a time. If you click on a link when another link is still running or open in a browser Tab, the timing doesn’t always work. Each
of these LiveAgenda links should start the video at precisely the point where someone started talking or an
Agenda item began. If it does not, make sure you’ve closed any previous LiveAgenda links or Youtube
windows or tabs, then close the one that didn't work.  Close all the youtube windows and start over.

The meeting began with Manager Howard Fink's ten minute dismissal of Citizen Craig Warburton's questions about the Living Water Church conditional use application/non application.  Fink also denied that the Northfield Township Planning Commission's October 21, 2015 letter of response to Biltmore had not been sent, a misapprehension which I shared.  He said the letter had been sent. 

What was "clarified" in this moment was the hidden meaning in the PC's February 17th discussion of the Biltmore letter.  You can read about that in our February 17 Planning Commission meeting report.

 Agenda Item 1. 8-Mile Road bridge lighting.  Fink sold the board on covering the $4,000 / year cost of lighting the towers on MDOT's new bridge over US-23.  Those weird gun tower-like ornaments are why the bridge is being billed as the "gateway to Washtenaw County." 

Fink said it had occured to him on Tuesday morning, the very day of this meeting, that perhaps our Livingston neighbor to the north in Green Oak Township would like to share the $4,000 annual expense.  Fink said he had talked to Green Oak Supervisor Mark St. Charles about splitting the annual $4,000 cost and St. Charles agreed to take it to his Township Board.  Why?  Because as we stated in Sunday's meeting preview, this "gateway" to the south is also a "gateway" to the north, to Livingston County.  That's how gates work.  Either way it seems a throwback to a 1950's illusion, the freeway to suburbia as the American Dream. 

Jackie Otto, normally a sane, honest, and conservative Trustee, jumped aboard, crediting the lighted towers with somehow representing growth, a desire for growth, or our seriousness about growing. 

It's just my opinion but maybe what it really represents is Northfield's lack of seriousness about $4,000 per year in tax dollars.  That $4,000/year is almost half of the yearly budget the Trustees plan to allocate the Parks and Rec Board. 

If ever anything didn't fit a cozy lakefront community it is those ostentatious affectations.  They're like something scuffed off the page in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. 

For those still reading, here are the US-23 bridge and landscape design options presented at MDOT's November 12th Aesthetics open house.   

Here are the US-23 bridge and landscape concepts offered "stakeholders" during MDOT's October 5th, 2015 meeting.  The "Lakeside reflections" themes, pages 23-25, are evocative of MDOT's best work, for example, the abstract texture of the 696 / Woodward Avenue underpass.  The very cool Lakeside reflections theme was rejected in favor of stuffier design, doubtless deemed more "appropriate" by a stuffed shirt.

Agenda Item 2.  ZBA Chairperson Amy Steffens was reappointed to the ZBA.

Discussion Items:

Item 1. DDA Redevelopment Liquor Licenses.  Fink plans to apply to the State for more Liquor Licenses to be granted business in the DDA district.  Since the grant depends on the dollar value of recent improvements within DDA districts, a list of capital improvements was drawn up and attested to by the Township Assessor.  Improvements that haven't yet happened and don't exist, like the non motorized pathway, were included.  See the meeting preview for links to the relevant state laws and the list, which is in the meeting packet.

Item 2. Parks & Rec Proposal for a $10,000/year budget.  Trustee Tracy Thomas said the all volunteer Committee should formally transform itself into a Board with an annual budget starting at $10,000.   He described the Committee's success in managing the small Dog Park budget.  In response to Dockett's complaint that this was more "Big Government," Thomas said the committee was a volunteer organization, with unpaid volunteers, and would remain that way.

Future projects they're looking at include the River Walk, a BMX bike Park, and the Seven Mile Road Preserve.  Otto and Supervisor Engstrom liked the idea.  Trustee Janet Chick said she had lived here for sixteen years and liked the idea of contributing her tax dollars to something shared by everyone in the community.  

Item 3. Whitmore Lake Rd Sewer Assessment District ordinances.  The question of when or whether people in the SAD would be required to connect is the issue.  This was the moment promised during the S.A.D. hearings.  Just pass the S.A.D. and we'll talk about the details later, said the Board.  The connection fee atop the per acre assessment is a hardship?  We'll talk about it later, said the Board.  Your $30,000.00 engineered system is working fine?  We'll talk about whether you'll be required to abandon it and connect to the Sewers later, said the Board.   Will we do something about the incredible hardship inflicted on the few non-commercial property owners in the District?  We'll talk about it later, said the Board.  Well, later is Now.