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

Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

City Commission Meeting 8/13/13. Agenda Item # 8 An Appointment to the Zoning Board.

Ever thought of applying for a position on one of the City's Boards or Commissions ?  

With the exception of City Commission which is the only elected office in the City  and requires nominating  petitions signed by fellow citizens, anyone who has an interest in serving the City of Bloomfield Hills  starts by filling out a form. It doesn't matter if they are the heir apparent, the next best thing, or Joe/Jane Nobody. Everybody must fill out a form which starts with...
What happens to those applications ?  Shortly after the City election of 2011  (City Clerk Amy Burton wrote the following memo to then newly elected Mayor (and now State Representative) Michael McCready explaining just that.

Tonight  one of the applicants from this year, (who's application in part appears  in this article) is Will Hosler of Randal Lane  is expected to appointed as an alternate to the zoning board of appeals. 
As you can see  on Mr. Hosler's application, he checked each of the three  Commission/Boards as areas of interest.

Many residents when  confronted with the form don't know what box to check. They simply have a desire to serve the community and that is fine. The  City is always looking for a few good men and women and will know where to put them.

For would be applicants however  a short explanation of the Boards or Commissions due might be in order.

The Board of Review  meets every spring to review property assessments  with residents who feel theirs should be adjusted. It is very specific and short term. Specific real estate  assessment knowledge would seem to asset if not a requirement.

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets monthly on the third Tuesday  of every month at 4pm. It is the only Board allowed by state law to have alternates.  The Zoning Board's purpose is maintain adherence to the City's zoning ordinances and in some cases grants exceptions where circumstances warrant. Some knowledge of zoning and it's intent are helpful . At every meeting the particulars of each appeal are however detailed in virtually every aspect by the City's  various consulting firms and building department.  A written copy is also provided in the Agenda package.  ZBA members also benefit aerial photographs and sometimes further their understanding by drive bys. In short the ZBA is a Board where you can learn as you go. That is why many begin there and once there stay for years or decades. It has been described by many participants as enjoyable exercise in reason.

The Planning Commission meets monthly at 4pm on the second week of the month. As the warm up act for City Commission which meets at 7:30 pm on the second Tuesday of every month, some consider the Planning Commission the second most important board in the City and there is some truth to this. 

The Planning Commission is a mandate  of the State of Michigan which insists every community have on as an example of  forward thinking. Like the Zoning Board consultants provide all most all the necessary information but the Planning Commission is not learn as you go. You are supposed to know before you get there. In 2009 the a Planning Commission's subcommittee wrote the City's Master Plan. A Planning Commission's Committee the Ordinance Task Force reviews ordinance on a regular basis.

  • In summary The Zoning Board  interprets existing ordinances and decides on the relevance of enforcement in individual cases. 
  • The Planning Commision change ordinances or writes new ones but final approval of said rests with the elected by the people, City Commission.

It should also be noted that the Boards and Commissions are not mutually exclusive. Many agenda items require approval of both the Zoning Board and  Planning Commision. As always the City Commission is the court of last resort.

If you have an interest in serving on the City Commission, the City's only elected office, participation on an appointed board is an unofficial, unwritten, prerequisite.

Perhaps the hardest part of applying for a position on a City Board or Commission is the waiting which some may interpret as a rejection. You did not attend the Sorbonne. Your French isn't good enough. Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you.Guess you  should go eat worms.

Actually the exact opposite is true.If you are interested in serving the City, the City would like to know more about you. The best way for that to happen is to attend meetings. If you attend City Commission meetings you may very well be one of less than five in the audience. Let's see that would be you, the Police Chief, this reporter, maybe another reporter or another resident, and the TV camera man. Five.

Planning and Zoning meetings attract a larger audience  of those   who may have direct interest in the outcome of the matter being discussed. The planning and zoning meetings are structured like Public Hearings so public comment is not restricted. It is the City Commission however that makes the appointments.

Resident Hosler's application is date April 7th 2013. He will be appointed to the zoning board tonight August 13th 2007. In the interim a retirement by a 16 veteran of the planning commission, filled by a zoning board member created the vacancy he is expected to receive.

If you are interested in joining him on a City Board or Commission  fill out an application. Everyone must. It is your leave behind in the big stack Attending meetings will speed the process by showing your interest and telling people who you are. Name recognition helps. It is not really a case of who you know. It is however a case of who knows you.

No comments: