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Monday, July 25, 2011

Master Plan Epilogue: Even in The City of Bloomfield Hills, this is America.

On May 12 2009  Item 070 -2009 simply titled"Master Plan" came up for a City Commission vote. The minutes of that meeting provide the following elaboration.

 " Motion by Commissioner Zambricki  and supported by Commissioner McCready, the City adopts the Master Plan as amended and adopted by the planning commission.

 The vote was five to to zero with all the commissioners Hardy, Mcready, Utley. and Zambricki, and newly appointed (that very evening in fact) Mayor Kellet ,voting to approve the Master Plan..

The Master Plan now  had received  it's final vote of approval and became the Official Master Plan of the City of Bloomfield Hills.

Chapter 4  of the Master Plan  titled How to get there provides three  pages of  line by line instructions on how the plan was to be implemented.  The instructions are graphically presented in terms of  what must be done, by whom, and  in what time frame. Even if  you have not read the plan the instructions are easy to read and follow.The Plan by itself is nothing . It has to be implemented by  a supporting government and a concerned citizenry. Per the State of Michigan,  the plan has to be updated and tuned at five year intervals. That would be in 2014. We are currently in our third  Mayor/City commission  administration since the plan's approval.  Each administration has implemented only what they liked, and more or less ignored the rest . The Chicken in Bucket syndrome.  Despite the extensive input  the  public provided in the plan's development,  no administration has sought the continued involvement of City residents. The Master Plan Task force suggested an annual Master Plan Town Hall Meeting.  The last two administrations (Mayor McCready and now Mayor Zambricki) while claiming to be busy changing city ordinances to reflect the Master Plan has not offered a detailed explain of exactly what ordinances are being changed or how this is of benefit. Instead it is just assumed that everyone knows which if past is prologue is a dangerous assumption.

The Plaza
When you exclude the public they tend, rightly or  wrongly to blame  you when things  go awry or not as planned. This is what happened to Mayor Kellet and the Projects. The Jonna/Plaza project  is now open  and seems to meet with the peoples approval. Mayor Zambricki may be right in claiming the City gave away everything and got nothing for that particular project. Robert Toohey called the Plaza a strip center and it is, albeit a nice one. The people  seems to like it  and talk about the  Plaza   The City  has three shopping strips and the Plaza is the only one which looks like a castle. That did not help the KeIlet  administration in  2010 however  when the public  anger over  the 3-2 majority's perceived refusal  to listen to the people  brought an end to that majority and replaced it with a 4-1 majority of Zambricki , McCready, McClure and Toohey. Pat Hardy remains  as the  last "3-2" hold over. At the last commission meeting when the new Fence/Gate ordinance  was changed commissioner Hardy what someone who didn't like the change could do. After all  The Master Plan did not mandate the change. It simply suggested it.  The Master Plan is not law and has no authority to mandate anything. When the ordnance was changed  however, that portion of the Master Plan became law.  It can however be  changed back or changed to anything the people want.  Even in the City of  Bloomfield Hills this is America. You could also sue the city but by the City Charter the  Commission has the right to change ordinances.You  however have the right on an annual basis to change the commission via  the City election.

 This concludes our series on the City's Master Plan. If you  are still reading , your patience is appreciated. In this series we have mentioned aspects of the Master Plan which at at times seemed to assume a persona beyond words on a printed page. "Demanding" or "easy going" were two of  of many.  The reason such references  are numerous is because there are so many of us. We are the Master Plan. Our current government tells us so when it calls it "your"master plan. That brings to mind the  words and art of  Walt Kelly the creator of the comic strip Pogo. Kelly's characters were animals living in Okefenokee swamp  who resembled  people, and one them  famously remarked, "we have met the enemy and he is us,".  While true that is only part of  it .William Faulkner  who also wrote about the South and whose Southern Gothic characters often resembled animals, said when accepting The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. "I believe Mankind will not only survive, it will triumph."

 So will the Master Plan.

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