This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Serendipity is the key to communicating with City Government in the City of Bloomfield Hills.

 In the City of Bloomfield Hills  questions are often regarded as impolite. Politeness is considered sacrosanct.  A polite response to an impolite question  is often no answer at all. Computers with  the exception of City's own web site are exempt, Are you following along ? Maybe a graphic illustration from real  life might  illuminate the matter

It was night. I am embarrassed to tell you what I was doing because I wasn't doing anything at all. While eating a bowl of Kellogg frosted flakes I typed, "City of Bloomfield Hills" in a search engine on our computer. on  a desk underneath the basement stairs. Usually that produces dentists, realtors, back issues of this publication, and a  whole lot of nothing. The announcement,  I saw was on page 17 or 24 of my query answers caught my eye and attention that night  because it pertained to a future event. Apparently it ran in the Eccentric Newspaper as Sunday the 23rd of  December. Then it went the Eccentric's on line edition called Home Town Life

(Editor's Note the meeting announced  below which did indeed appear in the Eccentric Newspaper and the On Line  version called Home Town Life has been subsequently cancelled. Since it was the only agenda item slated for the January Planning Commission  meeting, that meeting has been cancelled as well.  Agendas change  frequently  and meetings of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board are cancelled if no agenda items are available to be discussed . It is  is usually best to call ahead at 248-644-1520  if a particular agenda item is of interest)

Meeting of January 8, 2013
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 in the City Commission Room, 45 East Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304-2322, Phone (248) 644-1520, FAX (248) 644-4813.
• The Board will consider the request of the property owner at 161 Canterbury,
Tax Parcel No. 19-23-226-003. The petitioner is requesting the following:
• Approval for construction of accessory recreational structures in a front yard.
(Sec. 24-211)
• Approval for front yard fencing. (Sec. 24-242)
Complete copies of the proposal can be reviewed at City Hall during regular business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Amy L. Burton
City Clerk
Publish: December 23, 2012 OE08792676

That sounded so intriguing  I might have gone myself if the meeting had not been cancelled. Saying so aloud  would however be too straight forward and it would  beg the question  of what  my interest in the matter was

And   in keeping with etiquette of the City the polite answer would be a long one which would  be no answer at all.

If you assume to City of Bloomfield Hills be a cross formed by the intersection of Long Lake and Woodward , the  City's southeast quadrant. is is the newest section of the City with wildest topography. Homes are often the size of  high schools..Dust storms come  off secluded unpaved roads with a velocity  that would give the French Foreign Legion  and Mon Dieu pause.
Since the City is not really a perfect cross, the best way to see  this quadrant it is to drive down Kennsington (you can now) and turn at Conge Dr. Go over the bridge across the railroad tracks until the  road dead ends.. Turn Right and you are on Trowbridge and headed  towards Woodward
Halfway  down Trowbridge,  Eton Cross, (a picturesque street not to be missed)  is on your left.  Take it and you dead end   at Burnham   Remember that dead end when you came off the railway bridge ? We sent  you to the right which took you down  Upper Trowbridge ( which is just called Trowbridge). If  you had  gone to your left you would have come down Upper Burnham (which is just  called Burnham) .Burnham will take you to the Canterburys. There is more than one. I think there's a Road, a Circle and maybe even Court.which will  eventually take you back to Trowbridge and  Woodward Avenue.

The  Presentation and Discussion at the now cancelled  Planning Commission would have been be quite interesting. The Southeast quadrant is very different than that of any other in the city. It is too bad many residents never get there if only for a visit. Yards and property parcels are not what you find elsewhere.
Crossing on Eton. High ground

Unlike a rambling road , the mechanics of  posting legal newspaper notices in exotic locations where they will go unnoticed  is fairly straight forward process.

The City publishes official notices and notices of meetings in the Eccentric Newspaper. That is because very few residents read the Eccentric

You can  do the Math. The entire City of Bloomfield Hills is  located in zip code 48304, but the Zip code is  contains approximately five times population of the City . Competitive Newspapers are quick to highlight the Eccentric's anemic circulation in 48304 which is means only a small  fraction of the City's population. is reached. One in five would be a close approximate.

To make matters worse, for the last couple of  months  the The Birmingham Bloomfield Hills Eagle has been faithfully attending our commission meetings and had been delivering the best weekly municipal  government  news coverage of any area publication. Front page examples in the last month include....

  1. Bloomfield Township Archives now available on line back to 1827
  2. City of Bloomfield Hills appoints new Commissioner.
  3. Franklin changes Election date.
  4. Municipal Leaders in various neighboring communities discuss plans  for 2013.
The Eccentric in regards to news emphasizes Birmingham first and sometimes only.

All  City of Bloomfield  residents receive the Eagle free of charge in their mailbox on Wednesday or Thursday. That is called 100% coverage.With the Eccentric an assumption of 20% City  readership coverage would be about right.

One could ask the City Commission why it pursues such an odd  and  arcane course but that too would too straight forward and your answer would no answer.

For  example It could be stated that the odd and the arcane are good for you    If you go looking for announcements the city has stuck in seldom discovered places Serendipity may kick inn and you might find something  of value quite by accident.  Like Antique Road Show. Something you might  have missed if you stuck to the conventional means of exploration. What was it Carl Sandburg said about the road not taken ?

An example might be  a Zoning map of the City. That you  would  think would be be easy to find on the City's website. Actually that is not the case.  It is on the web sight but not easy to find, Asking the web site  search engine a  direct question  "city zoning map ?" works but with some hesitation and  two indirect answers.   Approximately two minutes are required if you are intuitive and patient. If not and you work by process of elimination ten minutes is more the norm.

Horsing around  on the computer with nothing particular in mind  can on occasion  produce something interesting like (speak of the devil) a City Zoning Map. Maybe even an out of date one. This one says 2004. What it would fetch on Antique Road Show ?. The map appears slightly crooked to the left. That is however  how the City actually appears on the plant Earth. Woodward Avenue runs  diagonally through the City not straight up and down. Do newer versions correct the lean ? Incidentally each little walled off section represents a lot or parcel of property.. Look carefully and you may be able to find yours ! Isn't serendipity
 fun ?

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