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, April 28, 2013

Bloomfield Historical Society hosts annual meeting today at Township Library. Bring your snapshots and memories !

Interested in the history of your community ? Join the Bloomfield Historical Society.Their annual meeting is today at the Bloomfield Township Library. From 2:30 to 2:45 you can attend the annual meeting.After that you can meet members and enjoy confections.The Snapshots and Memories program starts at  3 pm and runs to 4:30.

State Rep McCready Office Hours Tommorow at Bloomfield Township Library 9:30 am till 11:30am.

Monday, April 29 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in Meeting Room 3 at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, 1099 Lone Pine Road
No appointment is necessary to meet with the representative during these times.  If unable to attend office hours, constituents may still contact Rep. McCready’s office at (517) 373-8670, or via email at

McCready chaired sub committee on Michigan State Police approves budget.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Michigan State Police today approved the department’s fiscal year 2013-14 budget, committee chairman Rep. Mike McCready, announced.
“The Michigan State Police provide a vital service to the people of Michigan, keeping them safe and providing assistance whenever and however they can,” said McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills.  “Making responsible budgeting decisions gives citizens peace of mind knowing they have a reliable, able-bodied police force ready to tackle any situation that may arise.”
McCready worked with House leadership and the Snyder administration to develop a budget that will allow the Department of State Police to update its resources and run the department efficiently.
Funding within the budget is allocated for programs including a trooper recruit school, equipping trooper vehicles to serve as mobile offices, and setting aside more dollars for the Emergency Contingency Fund.  Updates to outdated forms of transportation such as police cruisers and tactical vehicles also will be made.
“I’m proud that we were able to create a budget that focuses on getting more feet on the street and partnering with local law enforcement in communities that need it the most,” McCready said.  “This budget gives our police force the tools it needs to provide Michigan residents with a safer place to live.”
The budget now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tonight at 7pm Autism Awareness Town Hall Meeting at West Bloomfield Public Library.- Sponsered by State Reps Mike McCready 40th District and Klinto Kesto 39th District.

State Reps, Klint Kesto and Mike McCready are hosting a town hall meeting to raise awareness of autism and the coverage that residents may be eligible for under a 2012 law.

The meeting will take place on Monday, April 22 at the West Bloomfield Public Library, located at 4600 Walnut Lake Road, beginning at 7 p.m.

Last year’s new autism coverage law opened up a lot of new options for Michigan families dealing with autism,” said Kesto, R-Commerce Township." I encourage everyone to attend and find out what resources and assistance is available to them.”

Attendees will hear presentations about the signs and symptoms of autism, treatment options and details of the 2012 law and its coverage options for Michigan families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50,000 Michigan residents are living with autism.

“Autism is so prevalent in our state making it important to raise awareness about the disorder and its treatment options,” said McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. "This event will have experts on this issue who can answer questions and teach us about autism and how to help those who are suffering from it.”

Residents with questions can contact Rep. Kesto at (517) 373-51799 or and Rep. McCready at (517) 373-8670 or

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Town and Gown: Bloomfield Hills Schools Provides Seniors 55+ with Gold Card for free admission to Athletic and Cultural Events.

In communities where the School, University, or  Learning Center is large and the town small  Town Gown relationships are fairly common.  The Gown represents what Academics and their students wear on graduation day . Thus the name and the Rhyme.

This writer's parents  graduates of The University of California and Oregon retired to Chapel Hill North Carolina home of the University of North Carolina.. As residents of the  town of Chapel Hill. they were able to use the. University's Library system.

Cranbrook and the City of Bloomfield Hills enjoy many Town Gown relationships.

Now (actually for the second time) The Bloomfield Hills School District is offering Senior 55+ Residents of the entire school district a most unique Town/Gown set of privileges.under the name of the Gold Card. The Card provides for free admission to Home athletic events such as Football and Basketball  Games Exceptions are State Play-Off games governed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

The Gold Card  also provides free admission to dramatic events and musical programs. This week Seniors who obtain a Gold Card  may use it for free admission to the Andover  Spring play The 25th Annual  Putnam County Spelling Bee. In May you are welcome to  use your Gold Card to attend  Lahser's Play The Boys Next Store a play made into a movie in 1996.

Times for the theatrical  presentations vary. For tickets Gold Card members should call 248-341 5625 for Andover's production scheduled for April 26th and 27th or 248-341-5700 for Lahser's scheduled for May 9th through 11th.

For Bloomfield Hills School district residents your gold card is available to you by phone by calling Barb Tegart, in Communications and Community Relations at 248-341-5451. If you prefer you can e-mail at

Monday, April 15, 2013

At April Meeting City Commission Affirms Ordinance Compliance and submits Charter Change Ballot Wording.

For one woman, a resident of almost 30 years, it was a day of discovery. She visited the City Web site which may or not been a first."I might have gone there to look something up but I can't remember," she decided. She found the icon for "Code of Ordinances" on the City' Home page, Left hand side of the page just below the word "Explore " and clicked on it.

That produced the following screen. On the left is the City Charter and the a listing of the various topics that the Charter consists of.  On the right is a the City's Code of Ordinances, often called just "codes" or just ordinances.  The date they were passed and a short description is also provided. Scrolling down you can review recent ordinances passed by this administration and more distant ones. The ordinances are  sometimes called muni-codes. Municode  is a  business  that provides charters and  ordinance for many communities.
 There are three search engines on the top of the page. The woman probably chose the "first one", the one on the upper right and  entered the word "noise" which produced the following

Clicking on that produced a surprisingly readable  two page explanation of  the ordinance and it's exceptions like the sirens on emergency vehicles. She read it, and copied it.  Then sent an e-mail to Commissioner Zambricki and Mayor McClure. That was not new. "They know me,' she admitted grimly.

Portrait ZambrickiPortrait McClure

Finding their email was little harder than finding the ordinance. You have to click on the About Bloomfield Hills icon on top of the page. then click on Government and the Mayor/City Commission on the drop down menus.

Then after  hemming and hawing and careful consideration she decided she would go the meeting and speak. While she had been to a Zoning Board  meeting and  spoken on a topic she never attended or spoke at City Commission meeting.

Curiously enough the first item on the agendas concerned 21 E  Long  Lake a building  right next to City Hall. It seems a  tenant had place a sign on the roof which violated a couple of ordinances.  Only the name of the Building owner may be posted on a building (The Wrigley Building is OK  but not the Wrigley Juicy Fruit Gum Building which also advertises a product) and roof signs are not permitted.

The City's  consultants were absent from the meeting and unable to be a assistance in the matter. After some initial hemming and hawing and brief consideration of  tabling the matter until the consultants were available, clear thinking won the day. The sign was in violation and needed to be removed from the roof immediately or sooner. Since part of the problem stemmed from of all things a misprint in muni codes "on line" which the printed version at City Hall did not have the City would waive fees related to that error. One commissioner thought the City should pay the cost  of the sign but that generosity was declined. Upon removable of the sign the business owner who was quite cooperative would work with the the City and it's building department to determine a suitable location meeting the City's ordinances.

The the next item on the agenda was the Country Club which through the City Manager requested an exception  to the noise ordinance which bans loud music with outdoor speakers or outdoor gatherings after 11pm. The thirty   year resident who had done her home work was ready to say her piece and some commissioners said they felt  outdoors  11pm was late enough. A similar request by the Hunt Club was met by moving the party and  speakers indoors after 11pm.  The lady was eloquent with the particulars pertaining to ordinance  and how unpleasant exceptions can be for nearby residents. Another resident  stated that acoustics were terrible. The Country sits on top a hill on Long Lake Road.  Geographically the Club  comprises almost a third of the City's northwest quadrant. The Sound travels over the flatland of the golf course into adjacent neighborhoods on streets aptly named East and West Valley.  The Club also abuts the Pine Ridge sub division by Lahser High School which is even  lower than the Valley/ Rathmor area. Prior to post World War II development the whole area (with the exception of the Country Club which dates back to 1910) was farm land. In fact City Platte maps still refer to Rathmor-Valley road  areas as Donnely Farms.
In the end the commission voted unanimously to deny the exception. The Country Club may host the party as late as it wants but indoors after 11pm which creates a win-win situation for both Club and Community.

The City Commission also unanimously approved the wording of the November Ballot on changes in the City's charter. This item did not seem to require a lenghthy discussion. We will discuss it in a future post..

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Public Participation, Enlivens Last Tuesday's Planning Commission Meeting.

At a recent Planning Commission there was but one Agenda Item.

If that sounds familiar to regular readers there is a reason. This publication  did an article  on January 6th based  on the following notice that appeared in the on line edition of the Eccentric Newspaper.  

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

Our article was entitled  Serendipity  is the key to communicating  with City Government in the City of Bloomfield Hills.  and our point was was that getting information about upcoming meetings, was hard to come by unless one prowled through seldom read publications. 
We also noted that the neighborhood in question was  the newest in the City, with large homes, and  acreage arranged in a wild topography that is unequaled elsewhere in the City.

As it so happened the request was not  heard at the January  Planning Commision meeting but was ready for the April 9th meeting. By then "the accessory recreation structure in a front yard, and front yard fencing" had become  "two accessory recreation structures (A pool and unclosed domed structure with outdoor fireplace) in the Burnham front yard per section 24-211 (10) and  "Fencing surrounding the  pool/ project area which is located in the Burham Road front yard and a small portion of the easterly side yard in accordance with section 24-242 (b) (3).

By the time the meeting started the unclosed domed structure had been ungraded to a "Pergola. "

A birds eye view a fairly basic Pergola. Not the one being discussed. "As Shakespeare wrote "Would a pergola by any other name.......

Planning Commissioner   Walter Cuetler who has at times been criticized  using eight words when three will do, in reality does a fine job articulating the issues being discussed  for particiapnts, as well as visitors and newcomers to the Planning commission meetings. 

The land parcel in question is what is called a through lot. It has a City address on one street and a "back yard" which is deemed a "front yard because goes all the way back to another City street.  Thus in City parlance it is a street with two "front yards." Structures like  a pool or a pergola which would not be allowed in  the front yard of your average lot become possibilities on a  lot  with  "two front" yards. 

If and how exactly are up to the Planning Commission. The Pergola is for  example   a "permanent structure other than a garage."  As such it requires  specific approval from the Planning Commission. The placement of those objects on the property is more the realm of the  Zoning Board of  Appeal which  regularly meets the the Tuesday following the Planning Commission at 4 pm. It is here the Pergola applicant  will go  for  approval of what is called a dimension variance.

Applicants to the Planning Commission or Zoning are often represented or appear with Architects or Lanscapers who  describe the project in detail.

The Public is also welcome  and the format of the meeting is that of a Public Hearing  which allows for public comment rarely seen elsewhere in City governing bodies. Attending last  Tuesday's Planning Commission was a lady from Eton Court who's property abuts on part of the property in question. a lady from the Trowbridge Homeowners Association and a  resident who lives on Burham Rd.

The Boards and Commissions are interested in the viewpoints of all residents. Who knows when one's better half  might  become interested in a Pergola.  

Once  one gets the hang of when the meetings are scheduled, you can find the agenda pack on the City web site.  That will tell you what is being discussed and provide you all documents pertinent to that discussion. 

You may be surprised to find that just showing  at the meetings works better than serendipity. You don't have to dress up  and it will only take a couple of meetings for you to become a Planning Commission insider.

Of note: Arial Photographs of the property discussed at the April 9th meeting shows it to be heavily wooded.  The placement of the Pergola and Pool will result in some tree removal. It was reported at the meeting that the Landscape Company, Great Oaks, has already met with Building Department and got approval for  tree removal and replacement that will be in  compliance with the  City's new tree ordinance.

The  whole point of an ordinance is benefit all concerned.
Here the property own can develop his lot the way he wants
and the City maintains it's greenness with (if necessary) replacement trees. There was never any question that the ordinance would work with iandscape developers. The question was would it be too draconian with individual home owners. So far that has not been the case.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tuesday City Commission meeting to determine Residents right to noise abatement versus County Club's desire to entertain.

There is a compromise. It is called an ordinance. The Bloomfield Hills Country Club may have an outdoor party with music of  an approved decibel volume between the hours of  7pm and 11pm on a Saturday night. The Bloomfield Hills Country Club is requesting that an exception be made for a June 1st wedding party which desires to play outdoor music until 1am.

The area selected for a yet to determined band is the club's east terrace which is the one closest residents on Rathmor road and  the two East and West Valley Roads.

Sound in the  City travels and the situation at the Country Club is made worse by its position atop a hill overlooking a large pond and houses which are literally  in a valley. The Pine Rdige subdivision directly adjacent to the Valley roads and the Club's golf course is even lower.

For this reason outdoor Bands at the Country Club have never been popular with residents living downhill.

There were a series of parties and complaints prior to to City Manager Cravens appointment. In recent years  for whatever reason the Country Club has been a quiet good neighbor. Now they are asking that an exception be made for the  June  1st event.

As stated there are a number of acoustic problems with the location In addition there are number of professionals in the area whose  job requires  late  work on Saturday night or going to work at dawn on Sunday. There are also residents who chose to reside in the City for peace quiet and whose wishes need to be respected.

Past efforts to of residents to be cooperative with noise have been met with even more excess. The most outrageous example involved a party  featuring front lawn motor bike races and a charity auction. A uniformed City public officer (hired presumably by the host)went door to door notifying the neighbors of the event and what to expect. That was the good news. Even better was that the motor bikes were no more noisy than a lawn mowers. The Charity auction did employ a loud speaker but was  for a good cause and concluded well before the 11pm ordinance deadline.. The bad news however followed with the arrival of an unannounced rock band which began blasting even though most all of the guests who attended the first two events had gone home.

Of  note is the fact the Country Club is not addressing or hearing the concerns of it's neighbors. Instead the Club writes the City Manager,  in order get an "exception" to the ordinance.

Is this  the one and only or the first of many ? It is both. Every month the City is asked to reconsider its ordinances in the face  perceived hardships. Having to end outdoor music at 11pm could be viewed as hardship. The point of an ordinances however is to make the City as livable and enjoyable as possible for all.
It has been asked on City Commission what is the point of having ordinances if nobody follows them.

It will be interesting to see what the City Commission decides. It will also be interesting to see what the voters decide this November when the City celebrates it's last City  Election for a good long time.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Be there if and when the Wolverines win the NCAA Basketball National Championship.

There is a big difference between going to the  Final Four in Atlanta  and being there in person should the Wolverines win it all for the first time in almost a quarter century. The difference while requiring a certain  amount of effort on your part, is money. Lots of it in terms of money you will save.

The Michigan Alumni Association has two tours going to the Final Four. The one that includes airfare on a chartered flight is approximately $3,000 dollars. The Land only version is around $2000. Tours do not include basketball tickets. All transfers are included  though, which is good because the the team and alumni will be staying at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel which is closer to Smyrna, Georgia than Atlanta. The hotel, on line however, looks very posh and seems to be one of those snazzy atrium  affairs.

Michigan fans arriving in Atlanta on Friday should be able to make the Michigan team practice at the Georgia Dome at 4pm Friday Afternoon. This event is free for all and will feature all four schools practicing  in hour intervals from one to four pm. Michigan is scheduled last. 
The Wolverine  practice will be  followed  by another free event which is the Reese's Candy  All Star Basketball Game  featuring East versus West  and manned by college seniors who's amateur eligibility has expired. In many cases these players come from schools eliminated earlier in the tournament. The Marta (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) subway is an easy connection  from the Atlanta airport to the Georgia Dome.

Attending the Final Four in all it's glory is wonderful experience that will be remembered for life time. There are just two things however. Hotels insist on a four day, no refund, stay and two teams will be eliminated on Saturday Night.
 If you are mature enough to handle the second possibility you will still have a memorable experience at the Final Four. On Sunday two smaller divisions of NCAA schools will also battle for the championship at free games played at Phillips Arena which is adjacent to Georgia Dome.  And of course there will be the National Championship on Monday to keep you occupied.

If you are short on time, on a budget or just a Michigan fan  who can't stomach the thought having to hang around through two days of incipient talk radio and fan hype about a Louisville/Wichita State vs Syracuse final this writer is happy to provide an scaled down alternative which will have you at the Big Dance when the band plays One Shining Moment.

First, let's consider the Economics of Scale. Today is Wednesday at approximately 8:45 am. The following is taken from Stubhub online.  In the past this writer has dealt with Stubhub, found them reasonably priced and efficient, and have thus been pleased with the results.

What is interesting  is the first and third entries.  Tickets to all three games (two semi final and one championship game )  are selling currently selling for $500 each with 520 tickets to sell (First entry). Tickets for only the two Saturday semi final games are are available for $500 with 210 left to sell (Third Entry). With Stub Fans set the price. Tickets  usually are sold in a strip for all three games. What is surprising is that the hot ticket is Saturday night only and priced on par with tickets to Saturday and  Monday.  You may thank the Universities of Michigan, Syracuse, and Wichita State and their Alumni for the above. Apparently all  want to see their team play (at least once) in the final four and realize that the Monday championship won't happen for two of the schools. Louisville which went to last year's Final Four has more jaded fans. With that in mind it is easy to see  how Championship tickets are a bargain and therein lies the opportunity for you the latecomer.

The above shows Monday night championship tickets starting at $198 with 844 to sell. More  will arrive  Saturday night.

Prime Sports is the official ticket re-seller of the NCAA. The Prime Sports  fan ticket exchange will be be buying Monday tickets after the semi final games and on Sunday to re-sell to people like you.This fact (omitting the mention of your imminent arrival) will be announced at the Georgia Dome frequently on during Saturday's  games.

The bad news is Michigan plays in the second game Saturday. The good news is the National Championship doesn't start until 9 pm Monday. That means that should Michigan win you have slightly more than 45 hours  to order tickets online and get to Atlanta.  You could even drive and still make tip off. Flying won't be for free but it will be cheaper than  flying round trip  for the the entire Final Four. On Sunday or Monday, for all the airlines know you could be coming for business. Staying at hotel will not require a four night stay and hotel rooms will be more plentiful.

Six years ago this writer gambled and used frequent flyer miles to secure a Detroit to Cincinnati to Lexington Kentucky to Nashville Tennessee to Atlanta ticket on Delta. Departure was around 10 am and arrival at 7 pm.
I stayed at the Airport Red Roof Inn (which I think is gone now), and rode the Marta subway back and forth to the Georgia Dome. I also managed to make it back to Detroit Metropolitan Airport at 10am Tuesday morning. Just in time to call  the office which gave me Monday off  and say that I was making sales calls, and  working my way in to the office.

 I got my tickets from a company called Premier Tickets of Atlanta. I found them online using an ancient text only cell phone while watching Ohio State blowout Georgetown in the first Saturday night game. As I remember they were one of the few companies answering the phone that late .

I picked my ticket up  at their office in Buckhead on Monday. When I first called, I asked if  they were near a Marta stop. They said they were but it was a hike. I asked how much of a hike and they said about a  mile which I took to be an opportunistic underestimate. When I checked on  my computer's  map program I discovered it was exactly .95 of a mile.

 This year Prime Sports offers convenient paperless tickets. The Credit card you use to pay for your tickets becomes your ticket. According to Prime Sports it is scanned but not charged when you enter and paper print out guides you to your seats.

The seat I purchased from Premier years ago was a reasonably priced, nicely placed,  nosebleed single. In my experience  that is where the most interesting and knowledgeable fans sit.

I looked for Premier Tickets this time around but couldn't find them online.  I hope they were not a casualty of the tough  economic times. Perhaps not realizing I was strictly seasonal, they sent me a Christmas card one year. It offered "best wishes " and reminded me that "Life is an event".

If you are a Michigan fan who is not going to the Final Four  don't despair. If  the Wolverines win on Saturday night you still have 45 hours to make it to Atlanta which is infinitely closer than Seattle (scene of Michigan's 1989 triumph),  Houston, or New Orleans (site of the last two final fours). Who knows when the opportunity will come again ? So don't just say "Go Blue."  Go for it yourself, because life is indeed an event.