St. Clair Shores Council honors deceased planning commissioners

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 28, 2020

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — In a span of two months at the end of 2019, the St. Clair Shores Planning Commission lost two of its members, one of whom had been serving for 25 years.

The City Council took time at its Jan. 20 meeting to honor the memory of Michael Descamps, who had served on the commission for a quarter century, and Michael Bojalad, who began serving in 2015.

“A lot of the people who do the work are the people on the zoning commissions, the Planning Commission, like Mike,” Mayor Kip Walby said of Descamps. “If it wasn’t for people like them, we wouldn’t be moving the city forward.

“You know what you would get from him — a person who cared.”

Descamps, a congregant and minister at Bethel Lutheran Church in St. Clair Shores, was appointed to the Planning Commission in 1994 and also served for two years as its chairman.

His wife, Grace Descamps, said that “Mike would have loved all this stuff,” referring to the many proclamations for efforts and achievements that were issued during the Jan. 20 City Council meeting.

“He loved the city of St. Clair Shores,” she said. “We first started becoming active in government when we were opposing the five lanes on Little Mack in mid-’90s.”

Michael Descamps died Nov. 11. Grace Descamps said that he really enjoyed his decades on the Planning Commission.

“He enjoyed going to the meetings, he liked looking at the properties, and he just loved being a part of this community,” she said. “I’m really happy that he got to do the things he loved almost till the end of his life.”

The City Council also made a proclamation in memory of Bojalad, who served on the commission as an alternate beginning in 2015 and then on a permanent basis beginning in 2017. He died Dec. 23.

Walby said that Bojalad had a very successful career in St. Clair Shores.

“He loved the city; he wanted to be part of the city,” he said. “He had big pride in St. Clair Shores (and) we will miss him.”

There are 11 total members of the Planning Commission: nine permanents and two alternates. City Manager Matthew Coppler said that the commission still has enough members for a quorum while it accepts applications for new members.

Coppler said that applications are being accepted for those interested in joining the Planning Commission. They are available online at scsmi.net/163/Current-Board-Commission-Vacancies.

“Once those come in through the Clerk’s Office, we’ll give it to the Council Committee to review them and, hopefully, get appointments as soon as possible,” he said.

Coppler said that “you hate to lose anybody who has those credentials ... (with) how much they’ve done for the community,” but the work on the Planning Commission will continue even in their absence.

“I think anytime you lose the people that we did, that had such a long historical and institutional knowledge of what’s going on, it does have an impact, but overall, it’s a really good commission,” Coppler said. “Overall, the individuals that are on there, they’ve been on there for a while, so work goes on.”

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