A long, tense township Board of Trustees meeting resulted in the term of Planning Commission member Don Jackson continuing at West Bloomfield .
“It looks like this board is going to vote lockstep as usual,” Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste said of a motion to not renew Jackson’s term, which ends this year, and appoint Woodland and Wetland Review Board member Lance Stokes to the commission. The motion failed, 4-3.
Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy as well as Trustees Gene Farber, Larry Brown, and Howard Rosenberg voted against the motion. Shaughnessy explained she was “not compelled to remove” Jackson from the commission as she said he had done well thanks to his experience on the commission.
Ureste said that Jackson "votes lockstep with (Nancy) Reed and (Steven) Budaj,” fellow commissioners, which Farber saw as a “philosophical difference” in how he views the commission’s role in the township with Ureste’s views.
"The appointment process is a political one, as you can see ... I've made reappointments that I did not want to make to appease my board members and I will not make another reappointment," Ureste said. "I heard of some criticism of how developers might be treated when they come to the Planning Commission."
Farber disagreed. "I don't believe that the planning commission should be a rubber stamp for developers," he said. "The reason West Bloomfield has been successful is because we have tight rules."
Treasurer Teri Weingarden said her vote was based on township state statutes explaining the supervisor must recommend a commissioner for appointment, which would then be voted on by the board. Ureste expressed disappointment that the board “tried to make nominations."
Jackson will continue for an unspecified amount of time until a successor is appointed. The next item was regarding Jackson’s role on the Zoning Board of Appeals, as the commission must provide one of its members to serve on the zoning board.
Trustee Steven Kaplan made a motion that Jackson be removed from the zoning board and that Planning Commission Chair Karmen Santourian replace him. That vote was shot down, 5-2, with Kaplan and Ureste voting in favor. Jackson was reappointed to the zoning board for an unspecified amount of time until a successor is appointed to the commission.
Township email system failure
Have you tried to reach Town Hall in the past two weeks? If so, you’ve probably realized that both elected officials and other employees have been severely hamstrung by a “catastrophic” server crash, as Shaughnessy put it, which resulted in data loss and continues to hamper email communications outgoing and within town hall.
"When the system failed Thursday, Sept. 29, there was nothing simple about getting it back online. In fact, as of this evening we are still having issues with email. We were originally told that email servers suffered from a hardware issues ... which became software issues," Shaughnessy said.
Police and fire service were unaffected by the server crash.
Township information technology director Mark Osinski answered questions regarding the server crash for about an hour Monday and attributed a delay in response in part due to a contract with hardware provider Hewlett-Packard not being fulfilled due to inefficiency, which will be reviewed. Ureste was asked to write a full, written evaluation of the situation.
Other highlights from the meeting:
- The board held closed session regarding attorney-client privileged communications pertaining to the , which remains in flux while the board negotiates with the Road Commission for Oakland County.
- The board unanimously approved an amendment to allow the Greater West Bloomfield Cable Communications Commission to to use as a base of operations.
- The board also remanded a recommendation from the planning commission for a site plan, a special land use, and stormwater management plan approval for a Montessori school back to the commission, given findings from township attorney Gary Dovre that two of seven reasons given for the commission voting against the plan could not be used per state statute. A public hearing will be part of the next commission meeting which will hear the topic,
- The board unanimously approved a recommendation from the commission for a site plan and special land use permit last discussed at its which will allow for 44 additional parking spaces at The Court at West Bloomfield, a nursing home facility that plans to expand from 120 beds to 140 beds.
- The board unanimously voted to approve ’s amended site plan, approved by the commission at its Sept. 27 meeting, which will allow Planterra to profit from the sale of alcoholic beverages.