Municipal leaders share their resolutions for 2018

By: Brendan Losinski, Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 10, 2018

Fixing infrastructure is hardly as glamorous as fitting into the same jeans you did back in high school.

But a resolution is a resolution nonetheless.

While the rest of us work on our personal goals in the new year, municipal leaders have their own hopes for 2018. We asked around to find out what those resolutions are, and what it’s going to take to keep them.


Birmingham
City Manager Joe Valentine

Valentine thinks there’s much to look forward to this year, including a plan to plan.

“We will initiate plans to update Birmingham’s citywide master plan,” he said. “(We’ll) begin a review of unimproved streets with a newly established ad hoc committee, review development proposals for the expansion of the North Old Woodward parking structure and Bates Street development, (and) finalize the city’s five-year parks and recreation master plan,” Valentine said.

There’s also the matter of updating the city’s logo to something more modern and, of course, planning one heck of a party for the city’s bicentennial this year.

We can’t escape the inevitable hassle of construction. But it’ll be worth it, Valentine said.

“We look forward to the complete reconstruction of Old Woodward from Oakland to Brown this spring, which will result in wider sidewalks, narrower streets, an enhanced streetscape, and entirely new and needed water and sewer infrastructure,” he said.

Valentine summarized that his resolution this year is to finally get to his resolutions from three years ago, since increased development has taken up plenty of city government’s time.

“It’s good to be busy, and that comes with a vibrant city like Birmingham,” he said.

 


Bloomfield Hills City Manager
David Hendrickson

During the recent race for City Commission, candidates all touted how they would preserve Bloomfield Hills’ signature “character.”

So when it comes to Hendrickson’s resolution for 2018, he said he’s happy to hop on that same train.

“Bloomfield Hills is a community of residents that strongly value the traditions of quiet, rural residential properties,” he said in an email. “Our community wishes little change from this relaxed and beautiful environment, other than making sure our public services are reliable and improving.”

To that end, Hendrickson said, the city will be replacing and rehabilitating the roadways in the southwest portion of the city as part of the accelerated replacement program the commission enacted last year. Tree replacement and city beautification will also be priorities in 2018.

As in Birmingham, Hendrickson said Bloomfield Hills is busy with permit requests to build. In Bloomfield Hills, the requests are largely residential, and he said he’s working with staff to improve the process for people who want to build their dream house in the city.

 


Bloomfield Township
Township Supervisor Leo Savoie

Each year is different, but Savoie knows his hometown — and one thing Bloomfield Township never is is boring.

“There’s a lot of big projects coming up, some of them controversial,” Savoie said.

One thing most can agree on is that the progress being made at the Village of Bloomfield, formerly the stalled Bloomfield Park, is expected to majorly ramp up come spring. Savoie said he’s looking forward to continuing to work with Pontiac to make sure the mixed-use site is something everyone can finally be proud of.

“They’re just about 100 percent sold out,” he said. “Nino Salvaggio is going in. You’ve already got Menard’s going in there. There are several residential components, and it hasn’t been confirmed, but there’s a rumor that there will be a major medical component.”

But not all of the development coming to Bloomfield Township this year is as highly anticipated as the Village of Bloomfield. The religious school Sterling Education South, located on Square Lake Road, near Squirrel Road, is looking to build a church on the existing campus. The neighbors are less than impressed, Savoie said.

“No matter how you feel or how individuals on different township boards feel, you have to let township process go through,” he said of the development plans for the church going to the Planning Board. “There was a variance for the school, but I’m not sure the (Zoning Board of Appeals) would’ve granted that if they knew they were going to build this kind of facility.”

Savoie said he’s heard from “hundreds” of residents who don’t want the church built in the residential area to accommodate the evangelical congregation of less than 100 families, for reasons ranging from concerns about disturbing the wetlands to not wanting to disrupt the neighborhood feel.

“I think we’re either going to get sued by the neighbors there or the church, and if we don’t let this go through the (planning) process, we will immediately lose that lawsuit,” Savoie said. “I just want to make sure everyone understands and realizes that everyone’s property rights are important. Just because I don’t like what my neighbor is doing doesn’t mean I have the right to completely stop them.”

Savoie also suspects a battle with large telecommunication companies could be on the horizon for the township and surrounding areas. He said a cell service carrier wants to install receptors called DAS, or distributed antenna systems, throughout residential neighborhoods where utility poles already exist.

“They’re the size of your standard refrigerator, and once you let one carrier do it, you have to let them all do it,” he said.

While he said the township could benefit from improved cell service, the DAS units could quickly become an eyesore, and at this point, municipalities have little control over where they’re placed.

“It’s not over, but at least we slowed them down so we can negotiate with them,” he said.

 

Franklin Village Administrator
Jim Creech

The keyword for 2017 in Franklin was roads. Now the village’s infrastructure overhaul has finally reached downtown’s main drag.
“After completing phase one of the villagewide road improvement project, we resolve to have a successful completion of phase two, which will be repaving the roads east of Franklin Road, including Franklin Road improvements in the downtown area and to the southern village limit,” Creech said.
He hopes the city of Southfield will pick up repaving on its end of Franklin Road through to Northwestern Highway, and that the Road Commission for Oakland County will follow up with preservation overlays of 14 Mile and 13 Mile roads to complete the village’s road rehab efforts.

 


Bingham Farms
Village Clerk and Administrator Kathryn Hagaman

Hagaman has two resolutions for 2018: Be good stewards of village tax dollars — something she believes they’ve already got down pat — and foster more community involvement.

“Last year, we sent out a resident survey. Most people were pleased with where we’re at, but there were some suggestions, so the Village Council will be putting some of those key topics from that survey (to action), such as beautification projects of the medians on Telegraph Road,” she said, noting that sidewalk maintenance is a priority, too. “(Those will be) on council agendas so we can talk with residents about how the village makes some suggestions and get more input.”

She added that the village is developing a new website that will be more compatible with mobile devices.

 


Beverly Hills
Village Manager Chris Wilson

More of the same is on Wilson’s to-do list in 2018, including picking up unsightly debris in all its forms.

“We’ve implemented the new recycling program through (the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority), and we’d like to see our recycling increase,” Wilson said. “We shouldn’t have much planned on the legislative side, but we will make improvements to Beverly Park by removing dead trees and vegetation and repairing walking paths.”