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Friday, September 9, 2011

Cell Phone Tower, USPS boxes at City Hall, Yet to be decided by City Commission.

July 26, 2011 The special meeting of the City Commission was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by Mayor Zambricki,

 Commission Present:  Mayor Pro Tem Sarah H. McClure
 Commissioner Patricia Hardy
 Commissioner Michael McCready
 Commission Absent: Commissioner Connie Salloum
 Staff Present: City Manager Jay Cravens City
Clerk Amy Burton
 Finance Director/Treasurer Lisa Dolan
 Detective Lieutenant Terry McDonnell

 No residents with  the exception of this writer attended this meeting but two items were mentioned that will probably be on the agenda of future meetings, possibly next Tuesday's September 13th meeting. Official minutes are in blue. This writer's or other observations are in black.

American Tower Proposal 
 Ms. Patricia Coates, with Oakland County CLEMIS program spoke to the commission on the history of the communication signal in the city and the benefit the proposed tower would provide to the Public Safety Department.

 Detective Terry McDonnell, with the DPS, presented information on the need for improved communication capabilities for the Public Safety Department.

 Mr. Wally Haley, representative of American Tower, expressed the difficulty in working with DTE to locate on their existing towers. Mr. Haley noted the proposed tower is 140 ft. which is approximately 20 feet taller than the existing DTE lines on Kensington.

 Commissioner McCready suggested the applicant investigate opportunities to install a tower on the neighboring country club properties.

 Mayor Zambricki suggested the applicant return to a subsequent meeting with more information, especially pictures of the proposed tower and the view from surrounding properties.

The complete proposal is available on our July 26th post that can be found by on the left hand side of the page  just below this post. Just click on the arrow pointing sidways to July. The Arrow will then turn downward and all the posts for that month will appear.

We said then and we say now....

We think City of Bloomfield Hills residents should know 
what is being considered for their neighborhood.

At the July 26th  meeting a full presentation was not given because City Manager Jay Craven said told the  American Tower and County people the commission would be very busy with other matters like roads which wound up taking an hour and twenty minutes (See August 8th post). The department of public safety did give a slide show presentation which indicated the whole city was a dead zone. The lady from the county  studies had shown that City of Bloomfield Hills was the Bermuda Triangle of cell phone calls (analogy is the writer's) and the epicenter (writer's word) is right  at Long Lake and Woodward. The American Tower Man talked about existing towers at DPW public safety area and how the Tower proposed by the City would need to be 140 feet making it the tallest structure in town. Commissioner Sarah McClure, said  140 feet was as high has a 14 story building and said she couldn't get over it. That was the correct response for someone who was elected on her adherence to  the Master Plan's desire to maintain the city's natural features. Read on and you see that Commisioner McClure got over it rather quickly. Former Mayor McCready( also a Master Plan Fan ) had no such qualms, and did most of the talking about how the tower could be disguised or hidden on a golf course.  The most intelligent question on the topic came from Commissioner Hardy who asked the Public Safety speaker, if they had a problem why wait till now to bring it. The answer was that public safety heard that American Tower would be making a presentation so they decided to join in on it. Which prompts the age old ,"what came first question." Was it the problem or American Tower? Mayor Zambricki ended the topic with a request for more information to be provided  and discussed at a later date.

Two days later on July 28th  Mr. Cravens, speaking like an expert told Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield  Magazine that the problem was that we are in bowl and that the Tower "would alleviate the problem."
How so and how much wasn't asked or offered. Then a number of unidentified  "they" references enter the conversation. At first it is easy to follow, They  means City Commission as in Mr. Craven's assertion that they are open minded about the proposal from American Tower. Then the they changes to mean  American Tower as in "they are showing us three different locations. Then  it seems as though Mr. Cravens was talking  to someone  else in another conversation. Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield quotes the City Manager as saying," Last  I heard they were talking to Bloomfield Hills Country Club, but I don't know where they are with them. We haven't heard a thing  from them in a few weeks." Odd isn't it ?  After the  final they  comes  two thems which begs the question who dem ?  Since Mr. Cravens and City Commission met with Cell tower people  two days prior at the city commission  meeting it isn't either of them. It has to be the Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Perhaps there is a possibility we have overlooked. Maybe someone  stuck their head in the door to ask about a wedding and the reporter thought Mr. Cravens, when answering the visitor,was still talking about the cell phone tower. Maybe the interview was conducted over the phone and Mr. Cravens pushed the call waiting buttons in the wrong sequence terminating the incoming call while unknowingly continuing to talk to the reporter. Then again maybe we just don't want to to think the unthinkable .
Can it possibly be that someone or someones was tacky enough to approach the Bloomfield Hills Country Club about finding a spot for  a 14 story steel pole made to look like a pine tree. Mr. Cravens as a non resident is excused as are  our visitors They don't realize that in the City of Bloomfield Hills some things just aren't done and some things are sacrosanct. The Bloomfield Hills Country Club perhaps justifiably incensed was under no obligation to stay in touch. It's hardly on what one would call public safety land. The Country Club hasn't been bought by a chain has it ?

In the same article Commissioner Sarah McClure, in regards to the cell tower  said "we are still at the information gathering stage." She said she wants to work with the County to facilitate better communications. Well how about working with the residents and communicating  with  us in on the  options you will be considering. Residents who do not read this blog or Downtown  Birmingham Bloomfield have no idea what is going on. If  Mr Cravens was indeed talkling about the matter at hand, locations for the tower were being considered weeks before  the July 26th City Commision meeting which because of an unusual 5:30 pm  start was virtually unattended. See photo top of page. The on line article in Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield said the matter would be a topic of discussion at the August 9th City Commision  meeting. That was not the case. That meeting is currently available on video on the city's website. The actual written meetings minutes are withheld until the commssion approves them at the following meeting. That means that residents who missed the meeting are or who can't access the video via high speed internet, or don't have the time to watch it, don't know what happened at the last meeting until after the next meeting. We suggest the City, like the Baldwin Library publish "unapproved" minutes as soon  as possible after a meeting so residents at least have some idea what transpired. The when the minutes are officially approved they can replaced the "unapproved" ones.

 USPS Drop Boxes  at 300 Long Lake Taubman Center
Mail Boxes at 300 Long Lake Taubman Center. Driving  towards Kensington last turn right before the under pass. Driving toward Woodward first left after you go through the under pass. Either way boxes are on first left when you enter parking lot. Both flap and snorkel/car drop box shown. Only  pick up 3pm Monday through Friday. Easy to remember 300 Long Lake 3pm pick up. Always plenty of parking. Never a crowd,

USPS Mail Boxes Boxes at City Hall ?
 City Manager Cravens explained the United States Post Office approached the City to inquire if City Hall could be a possible location for a USPS mail drop box, due to the recent closure of the Long Lake Road location. Mr. Cravens provided two different styles of possible drop boxes. Commissioner McCready stated he is opposed to a mailbox at City Hall because the parking lot was not designed to handle the additional traffic flow. The commission agreed if any box was to be placed at City Hall, it should be the smaller, more traditional mail box.

Commissioner Hardy wants to try  a drop bx at City Hall. Mr Cravens joined Commissioner McCready  to opposing for esentially the same reasons.Mr . Cravens said South Boulevard  and Opdyke was not that far.Far enough to cost the city a $1,000 per year  not counting gasoline or car wear and tear.
The last clerical hire advertised for,  offered $16 an hour DOQ. Let's say mail drop is left to someone with limited qualifications who earns $8 an hour, Say trip to South Boulevard takes fifteen minutes each way. That's $4  a day times five times fifty or $1000. Commissioner McClure said she read somewhere that USPS might open post offices in retail stores. Maybe Mr. Jonna might be interested. Last but not least Mr. Cravens did very good job of researching all the boxes and presenting all the on site city hall possibilities.

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