"If I were thinking about putting a retail store in downtown Whitmore Lake, I can tell you which comes first.  It's not the chicken and it's not the egg.  It's the parking.

It would seem like such a small but immense committment to the mercantile side of Whitmore Lake to take 75 Barker Road and change the deed so that it can be nothing but municipal parking in perpetuity."    - Craig Warburton


On the Agenda:

On September 13th Manager Fink told the Township Board that he would try to provide a summation of the costs and expenditures of the Van Curler purchase and development.  Fink promised this after prodding from Trustee Wayne Dockett and a member of the Public, Joan Steuer.  The data is not in the meeting packet but it is now available on the Township website in an incomplete form.  At this meeting, Wayne Dockett received no reply to his observation that the spreadsheet contained no accounting for insurance or maintenance.  It does not account for the fully six months of legal consultation or costs of Township Staff's involvement since before Van Curler came to our attention at a March 31, 2016 Special Northfield Township Board meeting.






Whitmore Lake Properties, LLC



 $    20,000.00

OHM Advisors

Preparation of Parcel maps for property purchase


 $        387.00

OHM Advisors

Geotechnical Investigation


 $    14,400.00

Atwell, Inc.

ALTA Survey


 $      2,700.00

Whitmore Lake Properties, LLC

Purchase cost (minus deposit)


 $  316,940.37

Downtown Planning Group

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


 $      2,500.00

McKenna Associates

Development Planning Contract


 $    16,500.00



 $  373,427.37


Pontiac Trail Non Motorized Path Map Clipped 320 wide 279 high

Manager Fink has advanced a Salem Township proposal to split the cost of studying a Pontiac Trail non-motorized path connecting northern Ann Arbor to South Lyon.  Salem Township's component terminates at the Northern Salem Township border with Lyon Township.  Fully half of the proposed path lies within Salem Township.  The length of the path traversing Northfield Township is slightly less than that which will traverse Ann Arbor Township.  Rounded off, the split is about 50% Salem, 25% Northfield, and 25% Ann Arbor Township. 

Rather than offering to split the cost along this natural allocation, Salem Township asks that we equally split the cost of preliminary planning.  

At the September 13, 2016 Board meeting, Manager Fink guesstimated that the path, were it actually constructed, could cost $10M.  He contrasted this to the approximately $800k-$1M guesstimated cost of constructing the Barker Road non-motorized path now entering the planning phase.  As we learned from the Main Street sidewalk project, those figures probably do not include the cost of engineering.

"We can't even get along with our own planning commission.  What makes us think we can get along with two other Townships?"  - Trustee Wayne Dockett

"I think this is premature.  Feasibility study or no feasibility study, I want to know how likely it is that this project ever gets off the ground."  - Trustee Tracy Thomas

We don't hear much about it but Manager Fink represents Northfield Township at the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) group.  In a memo in Tonight's meeting packet, Fink has asked the Board for direction: What is the Township's position on the issue of the upcoming November vote to approve a Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan millage?  The 20 year millage will cost an average Washtenaw, Macomb, Wayne, or Oakland County homeowner $95/year.  A discussion of the RTA millage, issues, options, and County politics aired September 26 on Michigan Radio.

"The millage will pay for new bus rapid transit lines and rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor. It would also fix what has been a dysfunctional transit system that never really connected the suburban SMART buses with the Detroit Department of Transportation bus system."

Also on the meeting Agenda is a proposal from Lil' Porky's owner, Soamar Jamil.   Some background: The Board on July 26, 2016 considered Fink's proposal to assign to Mr. Jamil an unspecified number of dedicated parking spaces at the 75 Barker Road Public Parking lot.  Jamil sought these parking spaces to provide off-site parking for Jamil's proposed redevelopment of the site currently known as the Driftwood Marina, the bow-roofed, two story relic across the road from Polly's market.  On July 26, Jamil said the uncompleted Architectural plans provide only 7 parking spaces for the anticipated Bar & Grill.  At this September 27th meeting, Jamil said this number was 13 spaces.  Jamil estimated that ten to fifteen parking spaces would be required by employees.  He also said that forty dedicated parking spaces would be required at 75 Barker Road.  How many spaces are actually available now is unknown.

During First Call to the Public at the August 9th, 2016 Board meeting, this possible allocation of parking was denounced more or less as favoritism by Whitmore Lake businessman, Clyde Hatfield.  Hatfield said he had to pay for every square foot of the parking he provided his customers.

At this Board discussion, Jamil's attorney spoke on his behalf.  Jamil is nervous about investing in a business without having control over parking availability.  What if the building is sold?  What if a new building Tenant needs more parking than is available?  What Jamil has asked for is a 20 year option to purchase 75 Barker and its parking lot.  Much is left unsaid in Jamil's Option proposal.  Despite or because of the "Said proposals" and "therefores," it is unclear whether the single dollar figure mentioned, $75,000, is the price of the desired Option to purchase or a promised purchase price.  Fink advised the Board in his memo, "this is not in a format appropriate for review."   Township Attorney Brad Maynes described to the Board the three elements of a proper option purchase proposal.


Meeting Documents:

9-27-2016 Northfield Township Board of Trustees 6:30pm Closed and 7:00pm Open session meeting Agendas

9-27-2016 Northfield Township Board of Trustees 7 pm open session meeting Packet

Soamar Jamil's proposal to option 75 Barker Road in Whitmore Lake

Watch the 9-27-2016 Northfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on YouTube

Watch individual Agenda items with our 9-27-2016 Northfield Township Board of Trustees meeting LiveAgenda