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What's on the Township Board Meeting Agenda?

The West Bloomfield Township Board will meet at 6:45 p.m. in Town Hall Monday.

Township to consider drilling ban

The fears of West Bloomfield residents concerned about the recent purchase of oil and gas drilling rights in town are being heard by the Township Board, who are expected to vote on a ban of such drilling Monday.

According to a Detroit Free Press report, Jordan Development of Traverse City purchased much of the available 18,347 acres in Oakland County at a state auction May 9, including land surrounded by that which is currently owned by the township, private property owners, or other institutions. 

Local resident Kathy Chiaravalli, who opposes the purchase and attended the auction in protest, brought the matter to the attention of local government officials. "Oil and or gas companies can buy these rights and explore for oil or natural gas, which is right under our aquifers, meaning that lake water and drinking water could be polluted by the highly toxic water-intensive practice of hydraulic fracturing," she wrote in a May 3 letter.

Drilling and extraction operators are not allowed to condemn property, thus they can't force property owners out, according to a May 4 letter by township development services director Marshall Labadie. He continued that he could not imagine a business model succeeding if drillers were forced into small tracts of land. 

Update to lawsuit cost to township taxpayers

In response to "inquiries from several members of the Township Board," Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy wrote that she added an agenda item to update on the status and current cost of the lawsuit brought in Sept. 2010 by Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste, Trustee Steven Kaplan and Treasurer Teri Weingarden against Shaugnessy and Trustees Larry Brown, Gene Farber and Howard Rosenberg. Weingarden later withdrew as a plaintiff.

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The case challenged four actions by the board, including Brown's election to defer his meeting income to a benevolent fund he established, without paying taxes on it, and the selection of Police Chief Michael Patton to replaced the retired Ronald Cronin. The case was last in front of a judge in April 2011, when Rudy Nichols of Oakland County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the defendants on the issue involving Brown.

Currently, oral arguments on an appeal have yet to be scheduled. According to a May 8 letter by township attorney Gary Dovre, attorney fees billed to the township amount to more than $26,000, not including costs.

Agenda items include

Unfinished business

New business

For a print copy of the agenda, visit the township's website or view the attached PDF file.

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