For many years the community has wanted a viable downtown business district in Whitmore Lake.

When I left as supervisor, I left behind a concept drawing of what that may look like. It called for re-routing Main Street down Barker and then going north on the east side of US 23 and tying back in to 8 mile in a roundabout. All the parking would be behind mixed-use buildings, so it would not intrude upon the lake view and the park.

The current Board is now going to push through a housing development that would take up 17 acres of township owned land and leave us a 6-acre park.  This was never in the Master Plan. The Board had proposed one plan to the Planning Commission, phasing in business and a park, then housing. They received approval and changed it and went back with the current plan of all housing, got that approved and are ready to cut this deal without any more community involvement. I, and others, had asked that they at least send out a post card to the community since this is one of those forever decisions and needs more community involvement. They have refused to notify you. Sound familiar?

Additionally, they are also considering expansion of the sewer system funded with General Obligation Bonds. Which would mean that everyone in the township, not just the sewer users, would have to pay for it if the township got into financial trouble. That's what happened in Sylvan Township, where every taxpayer's Property Taxes were hiked 450% to pay the debt.

As I see it the issues are:

  1. In my opinion, there cannot be any meaningful lake front park without re-routing Main Street. The building of these homes would prevent any consideration of that. The small park proposed will primarily be used by the people in the new houses, an asset for the developer that we are paying for. He mandated that 50% of the sale price of $765,000 be spent on the park in the purchase agreement.
  2. There has not been an independent written appraisal done on the value of the land, which I feel is a breach of the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to the community.
  3. It violates the Master Plan that we approved.
  4. This is in the DDA district which means 50% of the revenue will ultimately go to the DDA, not to the township general fund.
  5. There has been no environmental impact study done to evaluate 17 acres of hard surfaces and the impact of the runoff into the lake.
  6. We need more community involvement and re-look at a long-range plan for a real downtown.
  7. Building housing there does not put money into the township. As a matter of fact, it provides negative cashflow as hundreds of Cost of Service studies have shown. The Scio study showed residential development cost $1.33 for every dollar generated.
  8. The sewer expansion should only be funded with Revenue Bonds and sewer users should pay. I do not want to be financially responsible for a sewer I will never be able to use. (Do You?)

Some members of the Board are being totally irresponsible in their handling of these decisions and are pushing this along as fast as they can to avoid more community involvement. It is election time and you may wish to seriously consider who to vote for. Please be at the township Town Hall meeting next Tuesday, February 25 at 6 PM to voice your opinion.

Michael Cicchella
Supervisor 2004-2008