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, June 10, 2014

City of Bloomfield Hills City Commission Meeting. June 10th 2014. A preview.

City Commission meets tonight at 7:30 pm. The Agenda for the meeting is  below. Each  agenda item is numbered and appears  in blue. Our comments as interested observers, appear in follow in Black. Buzz words that allow the reader to cut to the chase are listed in red.

4. The commission will consider the request of the property owner at 21 E. Long Lake Road for a variance from the sign ordinance
 Key words  variance and ordinance. Much of City Government concerns them 

The ordinance says "permanent detached structures (other than garages) for one's property must be approved by the planning commission. The applicant in seeking such approval is seeking a variance from the ordinance.

If you wish place a generator or air conditioning unit closer to your neighbor's property that City Ordinances permit you seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeal. Key word Appeal because without the a variance the answer per City ordinances is no.
In all such matters  City commission is always the court  of last resort.

5. The commission will consider the request of the property owner at 150 Lone Pine Road for a grading variance
Grading  variances are serious business and usually start and end with the elected represented of the people, City Commission, making the call. That is because grading and drainage  can effect other properties especially in terms of flooding.

This item caused quite a stir at the May meeting  with Mayor  Hardy and Commissioner Dul  supporting the variance  along the lines of  "it will be a wonderful house." The problem  with that argument" is that enough wily-nilly wonderful structures and the City will look like a Hodgepodge. Houston Texas is just finding that out. Commissioners Sheer and McClure pushed for closer adherence to City's ordinances.  With a two to two split and commissioner Coakley  absent  the matter was tabled with suggestion that applicants come back with a plan more in keeping with ordinance of the City.

During the discussion however it became  evident just how weak City Commission has become,   Instead of a formidable  force  that represents the best interest of it's citizens  and City, the commission, it seems to this observer, to be a mere formality to be ignored or bypassed. 

 In that regard the t moment occurred when Commissioner McClure asked  about a "semi trailer"  that seemed to be parked permanently of the applicant's  the property which would be  in violation City Ordinances. City Manager Cravens said the trailer wasn't visible from the road. Commissioner McClure said she saw it from the road and asked City Manager Cravens knew of it.  After a moments hesitation, Cravens said he got "a verbal approval about the trailer from then building official  Larry Rospierski. The department Building Department is intended to enforce ordinance compliance and has no authority to waive ordinances ordained by City Commission the elected representatives of the people.

On  more than one occasion during the variance discussion. Attorney's for the property owners seeking the variance said they consulted with Hubbel Roth and Clark as though HCR, (a consultant firm hired by the City) was part of the  decision making process.

HCR  was hired by the City to advise both the City and applicant of matters at hand.  It not a decision maker. A one point, during the discussion  HCR representative  Jamie Burton felt obligated to make that clear. 

Unless it avoids or abdicates its authority, through lack of knowledge, or indifference, City Commission per our Charter makes all the decisions.

6. The commission will consider the request of the property owner at 598 Barrington  for a  grading variance

7. The commission will award the 2014 Road Improvement Program contract. 

8. The commission will discuss local road weight and vehicle restrictions. A popular topic of the day and one that  HCR consultant  Jamie Burton addresses with City Manger Jay Cravens. Scroll down to read.

9. The commission will discuss the MDOT Woodward Avenue Signalization. 
10. The commission will consider approval of water and sewer rates to be billed for actual consumption beginning July 1, 2014 and approve the resolutions authorizing new water and sewer rates.  

11. The commission will consider approval of budget amendments as presented by Finance Director Karen Ruddy. 
12. The commission will hear City Manager comments. 

13. The commission will hear an update on individual lead responsibilities. 

14. The commission will consider other business

As always the last three  items are the most interesting and will determine the future direction of the City Commission. 

No comments: