Oct. 22, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting
By David Gordon



- A new Master Plan was approved by a slim 4/3 vote.  Historically, the plan receives a unanimous vote but this Board, led by Supervisor Marlene Chockley, is divided on nearly every issue.

Treasurer Lenore Zelenock and Trustees Wayne Dockett and Tawn Beliger had problems both with the substance and the process of the Plan rewrite which costs $35,000 and took nearly two years.

Supervisor Marlene Chockley pushed for the adoption because she said the new plan “opens up lots of land on Whitmore Lake Road for development”, one of her main priorities.


- A proposal to set aside “forever” only five acres at the 23-acre North Village “park” passed 5-2, with Zelenock and Dockett voting “no”. Zelenock questioned why only five acres are being set aside instead of the nine acres recommended in an expensive Board-approved analysis. No answer was given. Dockett simply is against the Board acting as developers.

Two developers are hoping to erect condos, houses and mixed-use structures on the only vacant land left on Whitmore Lake. The four acres will have some green space and a band shell, among other possible amenities. A lakefront beach is being considered.

Chockley expressed concern about creating a defined area for parkland. “I’d hate to have to eliminate five houses to save a quarter-acre of open space,” she said.

In response to why so little land was being set aside for park, Trustee Janet Chick said “the township can’t afford to maintain all that area.....it is a burden on the community.”

However, the Board has refused to ask residents if they would support a dedicated millage to keep the whole site as a park.


- Clerk Kathy Manley had hoped to mail a survey with the December sewer bills about the proposed $5M sewer basin but the idea was tabled for several reasons; mainly because it was the last agenda item and nobody wanted to begin the discussion after 10 o’clock. (Especially since the Board voted to end the meeting at 9:30pm....and blew right past it’s own deadline....again...as usual.)

The Board last month voted 5/2 (Zelenock & Dockett opposed) to spend $200,000 on an engineering study for the proposed $5M retention basin at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). Township engineers TetraTech has been selling the idea of a basin as a necessity since 1988. All previous Boards have rejected the spending.

Manley hoped to do some outreach with the survey and determine how popular the $5M basin is with sewer customers who will see their fees skyrocket. In addition to the basin, some Trustees also want to spend $3M on sewer line expansion. Together, these two projects will raise sewer rates about 40% for the next 20 years.

Chockley, Chick and Trustee Jacki Otto now say that sewer expansion is their #1 Priority . None of them said anything about that when campaigning in 2016.


– About five members of the public spoke at the beginning of the meeting supporting a ban on all pot stores, grow operations or processing in the township.

Ms. Mary Devlin, Ms. Amy Scholl, Ms. Shannon Koenig, Ms. Margaret Ridell and former Police Chief Karl Watkins spoke against allowing pot into the township even though 63% of township residents approved recreational pot in the 2016 election.

Mac’s Marina owner Sam Iaquinto spoke in favor of the new businesses and said most downtown proprietors support it too. “Dispensaries will bring badly needed foot traffic downtown and add $280,000 a year in taxes to our general fund,” he said.


– County Commissioner Sue Shink said that as a result of controversies this year, a re-organization of the Washtenaw County Road Commission is being considered.

There are four ideas being explored:

  •  Expansion of Road Commission (RC) from 3 to 5 members.
  •  Transfer of RC duties to the County Board of Commissioners.
  •  Change RC members from appointed to elected.
  • Retain current system.

The shake-up is the result of a massive public outcry against two RC projects – the cutting of historic landmark trees along N. Territorial and Mast Roads (400+ trees were felled) and the proposal to spray herbicide along all county roads (which never happened after the push-back.)