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.
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
- Consideration and update of Economou Ureste & Kaplan v Charter Township of West Bloomfield, et al.
- Consideration of Adoption of “Super Drunk Driving” Ordinance No. C-759 to amend Chapter 22, Article II, Section 22-15 of the West Bloomfield Code of Ordinances
- Consideration of Treasurer’s Department First Quarterly report (postponed from 4-23-12)
- Consideration of Civic Center TV 15 First Quarterly Report (postponed from 4-23-12)
- Consideration of Request for Proposal to evaluate Employee Pension Plan performance (postponed from 4-23-12)
- Consideration of code enforcement complaints and the development of a code enforcement manual
- Consideration of Resolution opposing oil & natural gas drilling in West Bloomfield Township
- Consideration of directing Township Attorney to draft Ordinance prohibiting drilling/extraction operations in West Bloomfield Township
- Consideration of resolution authorizing the moving of Precincts 22 and 24 to B’Nai Moshe Synagogue, moving Precinct 6 from B’Nai Moshe Synagogue to Drake Sports Park, and moving Precinct 21 from Drake Sports Park to West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Main Offices in accordance with Michigan Election Law
- Consider Directing Preparation of Amendments to Massage Ordinance
For a print copy of the agenda, visit the township's website or view the attached PDF file.