Charter Township of Orion
Oakland County, Michigan

Township Board & Planning Commission
Master Plan Review

Minutes, Special Joint Meeting, Wednesday, December 17, 2008

  The Charter Township of Orion Board of Trustees held a special meeting with the Planning Commission on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, at the Orion Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, Michigan for the purpose of a joint discussion regarding the Master Plan Update as prepared by Carlisle/Wortman.  Chairman, Doug Zande called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Gibb, Shults, Porter, Steimel, Crane, Van Tassel.




OTHERS PRESENT: Donald Wortman, Kristofer Enlow, Jim Stevens, Tom Berger, Charlotte Beiser, Larry Mullins, Roger Ingles, Martin Scypinski, Phoebe Schutz


Chairman Zande noted that the purpose of this joint meeting is to discuss the complete draft of the modifications made to date for the Background Studies of the Master Plan, as prepared by Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc., to gather input for further direction in the process.  Donald Wortman, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc. made the presentation. 

Points of the presentation are as follows:

  • Provide a snapshot of the Phase I Background Studies and a summary of work completed
  • Information regarding public water, sewer and storm water
  • Michigan Natural Features Inventory Map
  • County Drain Map
  • Historic/Architectural Resources Map
  • Safety Path Plan Map
  • Traffic Studies

Mr. Wortman is seeking Township direction regarding the method to obtain citizen input.  He noted there will be a public hearing as required by State statute.  He would like direction from members concerning the areas of focus for study and procedures for future planning policies. 

Points of discussion were as follows:

  • Background studies should include an inventory of vacant and/or abandoned businesses and approved projects awaiting implementation.
  • Identify current use of property compared to actual zoning. 
  • Environmental and wetland issues should be documented.
  • Consider adding a section for referencing recent studies.
  • Goals, policies and objective should be updated.
  • We should aggressively seek input from stakeholders concerning development.
  • Public workshops are an effective tool for public input.
  • Several members do not favor website surveys as they allow manipulation of the results.
  • Various Township Boards, Committees and Homeowners Associations should be consulted.
  • Move forward to create opportunity so people will look at Orion for development.  Determine to stay competitive with medical and technical opportunities. 
  • Future Land Use Plan was considered to determine areas for further study.
  • Discussion regarding the Brown Road Overlay District.
  • Impact regarding the Detroit Water and Sewer main coming through the township.
  • Brown Road improvements.  Attract appealing business adding to the economy. 
  • Continuation of Morgan Road to Joslyn Road or loop to Brown Road and review Dutton Road due to the recent extension.
  • Look at our current mindset regarding use classifications giving incentive to people to invest in our community.  Mixed use should be considered.
  • Discussion regarding form based coding and form based zoning ordinances.  Plan workshops to educate the Planning Commission and Township Board.
  • We want to attract new jobs and a stronger tax base to our community.  Provide an economic development component.   
  • Amend PUD and Zoning Ordinances to meet the goals discussed and consider contract zoning to allow zoning flexibility.
  • Future workshops and training will be scheduled.
  • Three-pronged approach will assist in moving forward with our Master Plan:  education, modified zoning approach, and an updated Zoning Ordinance to allow flexibility.
  • Members are encouraged by the willingness to move forward in a positive manner.
  • In this declining economy, we have to look at new things with a new attitude and approach.
  • Discussion regarding creating a district for Homeland Security Manufacturing.  We already have this type of business operating in Orion Township.
  • We must work to promote sustainable development in our community.  Determine the roll of the Planning Commission to examine economic development initiatives as part of the master planning process.  Brownfield redevelopment, LDFA to finance infrastructure.  Corridor Improvement Authority and pursuing State and Federal Grants. 
  • Stay current regarding the stimulus package coming in the next few months with the new administration.  Utilize highway enhancement grants and other programs that allow flexibility.  Time is of the essence if we are to take advantage of the funding coming from Washington.  We need to have a plan in place and get on the appropriate lists.  We need to get moving now if we are going to compete for funding.
  • Jordan Road extension would be a possible project for the funding.  The extension would open up the bowling alley lots for triplicate developments.  We need to acquire all the rights-of-way within 180 days.
  • Suggested text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding the processing order.  This amendment will allow action during the same meeting where appropriate.

Don Wortman will provide a summary for the Orion Township Board of Trustees’ meeting on January 5, 2009.

PUBLIC COMMENTS.  Roger Ingles commented on the cooperative effort to move forward, the property values and zoning issues along Brown Road. 

ADJOURNMENT.  Moved by Porter, supported by Trustee Van Tassel to adjourn the Board of Trustees’ special meeting at 9:07 p.m.  MOTION CARRIED.