Charter Township of Orion
Oakland County, Michigan


Planning Commission
w/Township Board & ZBA
Minutes, Special Joint Meeting, Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Charter Township of Orion Planning Commission held a special meeting with the Township Board of Trustees, and the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 7:05 p.m. at the Orion Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, Michigan 48360.

PC Members Present: Doug Zande, Brad Lare (ZBA), Sandra Dyl, Mark Crane, Dick Christie

OTB Members Present: Gerry Dywasuk, Jill Bastian, Alice Young, John Steimel(PC), Matt Gibb (ZBA), John Garlicki, Neal Porter

ZBA Members Present: Don Walker, Joe Geraci
ZBA Member Absent:   Loren Yaros

*NOTE: There is currently one vacant position on the Planning Commission.

OTHERS PRESENT: Charlotte Beiser, Thomas Berger,       Kristofer Enlow, Jim Stevens, R. Donald Wortman, Shannon Ozga, Betty McDowell, Forrest Jidas, Dan Myslakowski, Martin Scypinski, Eugene Scypinski, Phoebe Schutz

1. OPEN MEETING: Chairman Zande called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

2. ROLL CALL: Mrs. Jill Bastian, Township Clerk, took the roll call for the Township Board of Trustees Special Meeting.  All members were present.

Ms. Phoebe Schutz, OTPC Recording Secretary, took the roll call for the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals Special Meeting.  All Planning Commission members were present.  Mr. Loren Yaros was absent from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

3. AGENDA REVIEW AND APPROVAL: Moved by Commissioner Steimel, supported by Secretary Dyl to accept the agenda as presented.  Motion carried 6-0 (There is currently one vacant position on the Planning Commission).

4. PLANNING THE PLAN – AN APPROACH TO THE MASTER PLAN UPDATE:

Chairman Zande thanked members of the public and members of the boards for attending tonight to discuss the upcoming Master Plan 5-Year Update and noted the importance of obtaining their input for a good Master Plan for the Township that projects fully the goals and objectives of the Township.

Mr. R. Donald Wortman, of Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Inc., noted that tonight they are going to make a plan for planning the Master Plan Update according to which elements and areas of the Township the boards feel are a priority largely due to the changes in economic conditions here within Southeastern Michigan.  He noted that he sees this as an update and not a total rewrite.  He then gave a Power Point presentation regarding: 1)the purpose of the joint meeting; 2)background information; 3)proposed section updates; 4)citizen input/public review; 5)areas of transition or potential change; 6)Baldwin Road/Brown Road concept; and, 7)the summary*.  He also noted that we have a lot more information now on drainage, storm water issues, a recently completed historic survey, the updated Recreation Master Plan that all need to be incorporated into the Master Plan.  Also, the goals and policies need to be updated as well as the Future Land Use Map, especially commercial uses.  He suggested posting a Master Plan Update Questionnaire for the citizens to complete for submitting their input online on the Township's website as well as at the workshops.  He suggested eight areas of transition or potential change: a)the Lapeer Road/Clarkston Road area; b)the SW corner of Lapeer Road and Scripps Road; c)the SW corner of Lapeer Road and Silverbell Road; d)Brown Road; e)Baldwin Road/Brown Road area; f)Baldwin Road/Jordan Road area; g)Baldwin Road/Judah Road area; and, h)Baldwin Road/Maybee Road area.

Mr. Jerry Dywasuk, Township Supervisor, commented that the commercial planning and uses really need to be reviewed for the Township.  The residents of Orion Township have to be served first and foremost.  He does not want to see the Township overbuilt with commercial and residential.

Mr. John Garlicki, Township Board Trustee, suggested interacting more with the Oakland County Planning and Economic Development department regarding where we can make Lake Orion appealing, so we don't have to give up on the Brown Road overlay area and attempt to be ready when the economy does turn back around, we will be ready.  He would like their input on this and how Orion fits into their overall County plan.  He is also interested in discussing the future land uses that are north of Scripps Road on Lapeer Road and north up into the Village.  He would like to look at that area with the same idea as the Village Center classification for Gingellville.  He is also very interested in reviewing the green areas, such as, parks and recreation, trails, etc.

Mrs. Jill Bastian, Township Clerk, commented that she echoes the comments of Mr. Dywasuk and Mr. Garlicki.  She noted that this is a required review every five years, which is important for changing the areas where various circumstances have changed.  She also agreed that they do need to review all the new information that is now available to assist with the decision making for needed changes. 

Mr. Matt Gibb, Township Board Trustee, commented regarding the importance of obtaining public and developers' input for this process.  He would also like to take more effort in considering new kinds of developments for the Township.  He also noted the importance of bringing in businesses that would bring more benefit to the Township, such as good-paying employment and not just minimum-wage jobs.

Mr. Neal Porter, Township Board Trustee, commented regarding his concern that Brown Road needs to be reviewed thoroughly.  Some of the major problems in the Brown Road area are: 1)the pipeline; 2)several small parcels that need to be combined; 3)a deep hole; and, 4)limited frontage for the amount of acreage that we have there.  He also suggested that we may want to discuss medical uses for the Township as well.

Commissioner Steimel commented that he is very happy that all three of the boards are working together on the Master Plan since all three boards utilize it in their decision making and need to understand how the whole process works together.

Commissioner Christie concurred with Commissioner Steimel that it is key that all three boards work together on this.  He also agreed with Trustee Gibb's comments.  He would also like to obtain input from the surrounding municipalities regarding their master plans.  Also, he would like to review the area on Dutton Road east of M-24 and east of what has been already been approved there.

Secretary Dyl commented that the number one priority to her would be to support what we already have.  We should not do anything to detract from our current shopping areas by creating anything that's going to detract from those.  That is in the current Master Plan and she feels it is an important component.  She doesn't want this Master Plan to be only reactionary to the current economic conditions, she would like it to be proactive.  Michigan is hurting not only because of loss of businesses, but also because of loss of living-wage jobs and commercial does not create that.  If you're going to support your commercial areas, that means you've got to have disposable income and that means living wages.  Orion has a golden opportunity, because we're a Township with Township taxes, not city taxes, that also has infrastructure.  She doesn't want to see us lose the opportunities of attracting living wage industrial jobs.  She agreed with Trustee Porter's suggestion of looking at medical uses.  She also noted that Oakland University is about to open a medical school, so it would be a good opportunity to see if there is a piece of that for us.  Rochester would see the majority of the benefit, but Orion could see some benefit and we should be looking at that as well.

Commissioner Crane commented that he is very concerned about our having too much commercial that cannot be supported by the population base within a radius of eight or ten miles.  Regarding Brown Road, we can try to direct or suggest the direction that we would like to see develop in that area, but ultimately, unless and until there are developers and property owners willing to go down that road and make the investment necessary, he doesn't know that there is an easy solution.

Chairman Zande commented that he is very concerned about the existing and future drainage issues that need to be incorporated into the Master Plan.

Trustee Garlicki commented that he would like to know what other communities are doing in their Master Plans and whether they have new ideas or concepts that we may want to consider for our township.

Mr. Dan Myslakowski, of 2566 Browning Drive, commented that he appreciated Planner Wortman's presentation and that he agrees that it should be an update and not a total rewrite of the Master Plan.  He also agreed that we should look at surrounding communities' master plans as well.  He believes that the two greatest growth areas in business are going to be in health care and energy, so those are two areas that can be reviewed for the Township.  He also noted that he agrees that the storm drainage and traffic should be considered during this process as well.  He noted that SEMCOG is projecting that we will come out of this downturn in late 2009 and 2010.  He is not in favor of giving tax abatements to attract businesses.

Mrs. Betty McDowell, of 4615 Baldwin Road, commented that she has lived here since 1959.  She noted that she would like to sell her property to be used as a commercial use.

Chairman Zande inquired whether there were any other members of the public that would like to comment on the Master Plan Update.

No further comments were given by the public.

Planner Wortman suggested that if he were to develop a revised outline of the Planning the Plan for the Master Plan 5-Year Update and run it by the Planning Commission and then if that's acceptable, they'll submit a proposal with that outline to the Township Board of Trustees for funding for the update.

Secretary Dyl noted that survey questionnaires need to be carefully written to avoid influencing citizens' answers.  She also noted that she would like to have several smaller workshops for different areas of the Township to obtain more in-depth information from Township residents.

Moved by Commissioner Steimel, supported by Commissioner Christie to submit a budget proposal for Phase I, Planning the Plan for the Master Plan 5-Year Update to include the following: 1)compiling the background information; 2)prioritizing what we want to look at in the Master Plan; and, 3)determining the best ways to obtain citizen input.  When the proposal is completed, it should be reviewed by the Planning Commission and then would be forwarded to the Township Board of Trustees to obtain the funding for it.  Roll call vote was as follows: Crane, yes; Dyl, yes; Lare, yes; Christie, yes; Steimel, yes; Zande, yes.  Motion carried 6-0 (There is currently one vacant position on the Planning Commission).

Moved by Trustee Gibb, supported by Trustee Garlicki to adjourn the Township Board special meeting at 8:24 p.m.  Motion carried unanimously.

5. PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.

6. COMMUNICATIONS: None.

7. CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS: None.

8. BOARD MEMBERS' COMMENTS

Commissioner Christie commented that he is very glad that all three Township boards are working together on the Master Plan Update.

Vice-Chairman Lare commented that he agrees with Secretary Dyl's comments regarding the surveys and that he also likes the idea of the local workshops to obtain much wanted information from the public.

9. ADJOURNMENT: Moved by Secretary Dyl, supported by Commissioner Christie to adjourn at 8:25 p.m.  Motion carried 6-0 (There is currently one vacant position on the Planning Commission).

* On file in the Building Dept.