MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – The Maple Valley Township Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday to finalize having its wind ordinance draft to go to a public hearing, as well as to likely cancel a planned sound engineer presentation.
Although the township website says the purpose of the meeting is to “vote to pass the current wind ordinance,” Planning Commission Chairman Roger Becker told the Daily News this will not be happening at the 7 p.m. Thursday meeting. He said the purpose of the meeting is only to plan a public hearing for the wind ordinance, as well as to request that the township board allow an attorney to be present at that public hearing. He said the Planning Commission will not vote to recommend the wind ordinance to the township board at Thursday’s meeting.
Although the Planning Commission voted on March 3 to have sound engineer Robert Rand give a presentation to the township on March 24, Becker said that will likely no longer be happening either.
“We’re going to cancel the sound engineers right out,” he said. “That’s something we’re bringing to the (township) board on Monday. We’ve basically been told no matter what we do, they’re going to put a referendum on it.”
During the March 3 meeting of the Planning Commission, township resident Robin Poulsen said of the wind ordinance, “We’re going to referendum it anyhow. Why don’t you save the $400 and just scratch it (the sound presentation) and send it to the board?”
The proposed wind ordinance as currently drafted can be viewed at www.maplevalleytownship.com/announcements online.
The March 3 Planning Commission was a chaotic one, with attendees repeatedly complaining they couldn’t hear the planners’ discussion. Poulsen brought a speaker and microphone for the planners to use, but planners didn’t want to hold the mic while they spoke, so it just lay on the table in front of them.
“I’m not going to sit here and hold the microphone all night,” Becker told attendees as they complained.
“We cannot hear!” audience members repeatedly declared throughout the meeting.
“Unless you are yelling, we back here cannot hear,” township resident Jeanne Thornhill said. “It is ridiculous! You’ve got a mic in front of you that someone donated and you refuse to use it. That’s pathetic.”
Adding to the chaotic nature of the meeting, the Planning Commission voted multiple times on the topic of public notifications for special meetings. First, they voted to change their current requirement of 18 hours notice for a special meeting to “a minimum of 18 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.”
Richelle Lentz of Montcalm Township pointed out that this means the township can’t post a meeting notice anywhere – online or on a building door – until 72 hours before a special meeting.
“I guess I’m not sure why you would put a maximum on there because now what you’re doing is making it illegal for your clerk to put it out there even though you just voted on it,” Lentz said. “There’s no reason to not put it out there.”
“You actually made it worse,” township resident Tyler Trierweiler added. “You guys need to understand things before you vote on them.”
The Planning Commission then took the word “maximum” out of their previous amendment. Township resident Vicki Douglass then asked if they could increase the 18 hour minimum to at least 24 hours.
“It’s not convenient for people who work,” Douglass noted. “If they put it out at 7 o’clock in the morning or 6 o’clock at night, we go to work or go home and we’ve missed it.”
Planning Commissioner Anne Petersen then made a motion to leave the matter as is. This new motion was voted on, but it was unclear how everyone voted as multiple people were talking over each other.
The Planning Commission then voted a fourth time to change meeting notification time to “24 to 72 hours” as proposed by Becker. The motion passed.
According to the Michigan Open Meetings Act, notice of regular meetings shall be posted within 10 days after the first meeting in each calendar or fiscal year, and notice of special meetings shall be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting.
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