PENINSULA TOWNSHIP TOWN BOARD
April 12, 2016
Meeting called to order at 7:03 P.M
MOTION: Weatherholt/Avery to appoint Monica Hoffman as chair.
Present: Avery; Byron; Hoffman; Weatherholt; Witkop; Rosi. Also present were Michelle Reardon, Director of Planning and Zoning, Peter Wendling, Township Attorney and Mary Ann Abbott, Recording Secretary
Absent: Correia (excused)
Help Support Old Mission Gazette - Click Here
Hoffman There is a document from Kuhn Rogers Law Office and Byron has requested that it be this agenda for clarification of conflict of interest and to be discussed at next meeting. Added as Business item #10.
Hoffman Business #3 Leelanau County is not present tonight.
Motion: Witkop/Byron to accept the Agenda as amended.
Brief Citizen Comments – for items not on the Agenda
Conflict of Interest
Any member of the Board, staff, or the public may ask that any item on the Consent Agenda be removed and placed elsewhere on the agenda for full discussion.
1. Reports and Announcements (as provided in packet) A. Officers – Clerk, Supervisor, Treasurer B. Departmental – Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Attorney, Engineer, Library, Fire Board, Park Commission and Township Deputy.
2. Correspondence (as provided in packet)
3. Edit lists of invoices (recommend approval)
4, Meeting Minutes
March 7, 2016 Special Budget Meeting March 14, 2016 Special Meeting March 15, 2016 Regular Meeting March 22, 2016 Special Meeting March 28, 2016 Special Year End Budget Meeting (recommend approval)
5. March 2016 Payroll (recommend approval)
6. Log Cabin Days Sign Request
7. Additional Bills of $30,552.50
Margaret Achorn, 11284 Peninsula Drive requests that the Correspondence (Safe Boat) and the March 28, 2016 Minutes be pulled out.
Byron would like to ask about the money spent for tablets and all the service charges that go along with them. Everything that has been paid to date and the projected expenses.
Witkop Minutes of March 14, 2016 showed that she abstained. Prior to coming to the meeting she had made the decision to abstain and was absent from that meeting.
Wendling It would be appropriate that you be listed as absent and excused.
Byron Questioned about the March 7, 2016 minute’s reference to fee structure. Reardon will look at this and sit down with the Clerk.
MOTION: Weatherholt/Witkop to approve Consent Agenda as amended.
Township Board Business
1. Kahn Update – Memo Dated March 23, 2016 and Verbal
Wendling In the packet is a copy of an email to Bryan Graham from April 10. Basically Robert A Cooney stating that he is still investigating the matter and if he decides later to take some action he will. He is working with Andy Smits of Inland Seas and has been in discussions with both Inland Seas Engineering and the Khans. Wendling suggests that since Mr. Cooney has never talked to anyone at the office or FOIA’d any information that he is aware of. But if the Township wishes to know what Mr. Cooney is doing he suggests that the Township submits a FOIA to Cooney’s office to see what is going on.
Byron there have been questions from the public about what is going on. Now we know that we have not heard from him yet but will let the public know when we do.
2. Safe Boat Update
Hoffman There have been rumors that the Town Board will be making the decision on the Safe Boat tonight. Tonight is just for discussion.
Rosi Would like to have an explanation of the second paragraph of the Memo from Bryan E. Graham dated March 21, 2016 related to the authority of the Fire Board. Byron Would like to see the committee sit down and discuss the ALS service, staffing and buildings to come out with a plan that we are comfortable with. Safe Boat should be part of the discussion. Weatherholt We decided if we are able sell it and for how much money. The committee will move with this information. We may not have enough people to run the Safe Boat but we will not know until the committee makes some decisions. Rosi Who is on the committee? Weatherholt Wendy, I, Pete, John Sprenger and Sherm Atkinson. Not sure what will happen now. Witkop I still have not seen the figures on the safe boat.
Hoffman Could we schedule a meeting for next Monday (April 18th) at 9:00 am? This will be an open meeting. A discussion for the Township Board and people from the Fire Department
3. Leelanau County Request
Hoffman Leelanau Country could not be here tonight but wanted us to know that if we ever decide to sell the safe boat that they would be interested.
4. Fire Board – Verbal
Wendling this would be better for the meeting on Monday at 9:00 am. We will have a procedure for you that morning. Hoffman We need to decide if we have a Fire Board. Witkop if they resign at a public meeting is that enough or does it need to be in writing? Wendling This is part of what will be discussed at that meeting. Hoffman Three of the five resigned so at the moment we do not have a Fire Board. We as a Board need to decide if we want to continue with a Fire Board.
5. Bluff Road Speed Limit Reduction
Hoffman A speed study was done at the North End of Bluff Road and the residents are requesting us to support their request to reduce the speed limit in that area to 45 mph from 55 mph. This request is going to the Road Commission and the State Police Department.
Motion: Witkop/Byron to support the request of reducing the speed limit from 55mph to 45mph on Bluff Road.
6. School Board Resolution (Tabled from March 28, 2016)
MOTION: Byron/Weatherholt to untable School Board Resolution from March 28, 2016.
Hoffman At the March 28th meeting there was a resolution that Wendling had prepared. You might recall that at that time the Peninsula Community Library asked that they be removed from that Resolution. We have put the Green Lake resolution in your packet. Thought that the Board could work together to prepare the Resolution. Byron If there is a contributor offering $800,000.00 we need to find out what the conditions are. Avery read recent news report. Weatherholt to call School Board member Clark to get an update.
MOTION: Weatherholt/Witkop to Table Item #6 School Board Resolution to Monday April 18th (9:00am) meeting.
Byron asked that Wendling review this and give you something in writing on the 18th. Also asked board to pay attention to the patterns that appear in the School Board information which look as though they are heading towards regional schools.
7. Bonobo Update
Reardon three citations have been issued for conducting events without a permit. The owner has requested a meeting of their attorneys, which will take place this Thursday afternoon. There may be other citations coming. Wendling there will have to be some changes at Bonobo to avoid future tickets and there will need to be changes in order for Bonobo to have future guest activities permits
8. Fifarek ZBA Refund Request
Discussion on the events that lead to the ZBA refund request. Reardon provided the history.
MOTION: Avery/Witkop to refund Mr. Fifarek the total cost of the ZBA Request.
Roll Call Vote: Avery -Yes; Byron-Yes; Hoffman-Yes; Weatherholt-Yes; Witkop-Yes; Rosi-Yes
9. Large Event Fee
Reardon reviewed the current Large Event Fees and the discussion that led to the thought of beginning to publishing Large Events.
MOTION: Witkop/Byron to increase the Large Event Permit Fee to $250.00 as proposed.
10. Clarification of Conflict of Interest
Byron asked Clerk to make copies of the letter from August 10th to Peter Correia from Joe Quandt. She would like to have the board have it ahead of time so they can review and discuss. This letter was never distributed or made part of the public record tonight. She would like a conversation with Township Attorney on clarifying conflict of interest and when/how it applies. She would also like the Board to pay attention to what happened here and how to take another look at the Township Ethics statement. Witkop Seems to her that a Board member was singled out and she does not like it. This is a poor way of handling it. The board needs to have a discussion when something like this comes up and whether a board member should recuse themselves. Rosi Byron was not given the opportunity to respond as a member of the audience.
11. March 18, 2016 Minutes
Margaret Achorn, 11284 Peninsula Drive read a memo regarding notes she took at the March 28, 2016 regarding the discussion on recusing on the matter of “The 81”. A copy of that memo appears at the end of these minutes.*
Wendling The reason that Mr. Correia called to see if he should recuse himself is that subsequent to the August 11th meeting the Kahn issue came up. Mr. Correia then hired Joseph Quandt who is the same attorney who represented the developer on “The 81”. I informed Correia that if you were coming up on a vote on an administrative portion of the Ordinance it poses a conflict of interest. Goes back to Judges Rodgers ruling that even an image of impropriety is a problem. He was not aware that Mr. Quandt’s letter was not distributed to the board members until tonight. The reason you could vote on the other issue is that it did not involve the administration of your Zoning Ordinance.
Witkop was it discussed with the Supervisor what this selection of that attorney would mean to future votes on “The 81” Wendling he was told it was a problem. Wendling was surprised Board members did not have that letter. Hoffman stated that the letter was only sent to the supervisor.
MOTION: Witkop/Weatherholt to approve the minutes of March 28, 2016 as submitted.
MOTION PASSED (4/2 Byron & Rosi)
Rosi questioned how Margaret Acorn’s comments would be handled. Hoffman reviewed direction of minutes and would like to have a discussion with the board and will get direction from the MTA.
12. Correspondence on Safe Boat
Margaret Achorn, 11284 Peninsula Drive brought attention to the memos regarding the Safe Boat. Hoffman they would be added to the meeting where they discuss the Safe Boat.
Rick Schaffer, 999 Beautiful Shores questioned the advice given by the Township Attorney relative to the Kuhn situation. Would like the Township to evaluate the attorneys used. Also when was the last time the Assessor made a stamped Assessors map with an overlay. Hoffman you are welcome to stop into the office and talk to her.
Nancy Kahn, 14890 Shipman Road gave an update on the information that is with the prosecutor’s office. Believes the Township Attorney buried information. She then handed out packets to the Town Board including an Assessors map with an attached photo. States that the photo is incorrect and is actually a county tax map. Believes that someone fixed up photo to show additional land to capture an additional .8 acres at the end of Shipman road. Believes each board was stonewalled and disturbed that it was not looked into. You really have the responsibility to look into this.
Sally Ackerly, Township Assessor thinks this might be a good opportunity for the board to ask me any questions. It is unfortunate that the ZBA did not act on that matter because of the time frame. There was an opportunity for the petitioner to appeal the decision but that did not happen. The assessor map was never used in the processing of this land division. It was created for Mrs. Kahn. It was a courtesy map. Ackerly has been eager to share the information and no one has come in to inquire. Byron where does the acreage stand now? Ackerly she would calculate to the waters edge. Weatherholt The land changes all the time. This was done 4 years ago. Witkop was this computed to the waters edge. Ackerly Yes. Rosi Cannot understand using something that fluctuates by day as a standard for what a land division can look like. Ackerly This is a very unique property that flirts with the edge. If the public has questions or concerns she is always happy to make documents available.
Joann Westfall, 12414 Center Road would like to make comment about the sketchiness of the Township Board minutes. Feels that not including everything in the minutes seems to be more troublesome then ever before. Questions why we cannot afford to keep tapes and CDs and tapes of every meeting held. Should be part of the public record.
William Kahn, no address given, gave figures on additional land needed to capture additional acreage. The original survey was 19.2 acres. Ordinance indicates that easement not be taken into account. This Board has abdicated their responsibility to make a decision and now it is in the prosecutor’s hands.
Jim Komendera, 4168 Rocky Shore, Long before the 81 vote Mr. Correia and Mr. Quandt were in business together and does this not count as a conflict of interest. In Correia recused and Byron was not forced out of the vote “81” would not have passed. Also nothing was said about Fire Board resigning as a whole. Must be some issues that would cause them to quit as a whole. Appreciates all hard work done being done by the Town Board.
Dan Drew, 3833 Smokey Cove Drive resident and Sergeant with the State Police as a Fire Investigator. Concerned about the Federal Grant and the sale of the safe boat hindering future grant monies.
Cory Reamer, 3566 Thistledew Fire Department, Fire Board and Town Board all accepted the grant to purchase the Safe Boat. We need to work on manpower so we have the people to operate it
Witkop on 3/28 asked for videotaping meetings. Glad that packets are on line for citizens to review. There are reasons why we are careful what we put into the minutes. There can be different interpretations and because it is said at a public meeting does not make it true.
Hoffman Bob Wilkinson is getting a couple of foresters in to look at the tree in Bohemian Cemetery. Also some misinformation I have heard is that with the resignation of the Fire Board there is no one to watching over our department and our Township. According to the Standard Operating Procedures adopted by the fire department on October 1, 2008 our assistant chief assumes the duties of the Chief. We do not have a Fire Board but we do have a great Fire Department watching over us. Avery Rittenhouse has stepped up before. This is nothing new to him.
Wendling would like to clarify that the only correspondence from our office to Mr. Cooney was the one letter from Bryan Graham that Graham wrote after Mr. Cooney sent his letter out in the middle of January. There has been no additional materials or correspondence that he is aware of between his office and Mr. Cooney. And as he stated in a memo on 3/23 and on the record four months ago that the Township is free to get a second opinion if they would like to. Follow-ups were just two phone calls
Avery We all know that there is an election coming up and the politics that will play out in these meetings are interesting.
MOTION: Avery/Witkop to adjourn at 9:23 pm.
Mary Ann Abbott, Recording Secretary
*Copy of Margaret Achorn Memo: