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Lawsuit over Removal of Planning Members

 
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:26 am    Post subject: Lawsuit over Removal of Planning Members Reply with quote

I could call this Town Hall Volume II as it is a continuation of BBI Town Hall Volume I. I want everyone to know that there will be a special meeting tomorrow Thursday at 11 AM to discuss the issue of a pending lawsuit. They will probably go into a closed session but that is speculation by me. Do you want me to try and keep you informed about this or are you all sick of it by now?

I feel as though I'm working for the township because one of Lorens promises when running for office was to "communicate openly, honestly and often with all residents and keep them informed."

Here is what is on the cover letter:

Dear Bois Blanc Township Board:

My firm represents Fran Vallely and Bill Heinlen. Enclosed is a copy of the Complaint for a lawsuit concerning their removal from the Planning Commission.

We respectfully believe they were improperly removed from the Planning Commission in violation of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act and the federal and Michigan Constitutions. The reasons are set out in the Complaint.

If you agree, we would like to discuss how we can resolve this case and return Ms. Vallely and Mr. Heinlen to the Planning Commission.

Thank you for considering these thoughts. We look forward to your response.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am interested in hearing about it.

It is not clear from the letter whether they have actually filed suit yet, or whether they have simply drafted the complaint they intend to file if the Township doesn't put Fran and Bill back on the Commission.

This could now become an issue that all BBI's taxpayers have an interest in since I assume that if the BBI Township Board fights the lawsuit, it will hire legal counsel and use our tax dollars to pay them.

As a taxpayer, using tax dollars to fight a lawsuit that can almost certainly be avoided (by simply conceding they were wrong or by taking steps to remove Fran and Bill in accordance with the new law) seems pointless.

If I recall correctly, two new persons were appointed to the Commission. The question is, if Fran and Bill are put back on the Commission, what does the Board do about the members who replaced them?

This reminds me of that old saying about World Peace--you won't have it without peace in our country, which won't have peace without peace in our states, and so on. Bottom line--this is a perfect opportunity for the parties involved to swallow their pride, figure out what is in the best interests of the island and its community, then work out a compromise that does not involve lawyers and courts. If it has to be resolved in court, it will be expensive, further harm relations between people who must coexist in a small island community and, ultimately, just leave the same underlying problems that led to the dispute. I know, easier said than done.
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Rosemary
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike

I am interested in reading about it too. Please post as much as you can. Thank you for keeping us informed.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rosemary wrote:
Mike

I am interested in reading about it too. Please post as much as you can. Thank you for keeping us informed.


DITTO.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What they said...want to hear it all....
This could get very interesting!

Lisa
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: It may go to court. Reply with quote

I think it may go to court. Doug mentioned two solutions. 1. Concede they were wrong. 2. Remove them using the new law.

I feel that Loren is a proud man. It would be hard for him to concede they were wrong. The same goes for the other two. I could be wrong on this. Tomorrow will tell the tale. They can't use the new law to remove them because Loren admitted they have no proof that they did anything wrong.

It sure would be nice if the Attorney General would come through with the answer to my question of which law should the twp. have used to remove them. It would make the twp. decision easier to make if that question had been answered.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Thurs Mtng Reply with quote

Keep us posted, Mike.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:57 pm    Post subject: yes Reply with quote

Please do keep us up to date on all of this ..

Thanks
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject: Let others talk Reply with quote

I didn't go to the special meeting. There were a lot of people there though, that are on this site a lot. Maybe they could give a first hand account of what happened at that meeting.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: It is going to court Reply with quote

It has been three or four days since I gave others the chance to say it their way. I guess I will have to announce my way. The persecuted ones are, I hope, going to bring the the township to justice.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:40 am    Post subject: Respect Reply with quote

I want to clarify something. I think I have made myself clear about how I feel about Loren's actions on the township concerning how he has handled the "planning problem". That does not mean that I find everything that he or others do on the township to be wrong. This township is doing many things right. I have great respect for anyone who holds a public position. They expose themselves to controversy. They, on the other hand, should also respect the opinions of others. Opinions of others should be carefully considered.

I do believe that this township needs to go back and review the original promises made to the landowners. Take a look at themselves and ask themselves if the controversies they hear might have some merit.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the campaign promises should be read outloud at a township meeting.. That's doable, ya think? Smile
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject: IT IS DANGEROUS TO BE RIGHT WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS WRONG Reply with quote

IT IS DANGEROUS TO BE RIGHT WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS WRONG

The February 2007 Tatler is taking on the appearance of a tabloid with Loren Gibbons latest rendition of what happened to two of the planning members this winter. Loren leaves much detail out of his perception of what happened.

He gives three reasons for his actions to dismiss them.

1. The 3 members sued the Township Board to require a rezone issue to be put on the Nov. ballot.

Yes, they, as landowners, who also happen to be like-minded individuals, had to petition the court to force the township to put the issue before the voters, as all landowners have a right to do. It is not possible to re-petition because, when you petition, you are subject to a legal timetable. The VanVoorhees and the township attorney challenged the wording. Mitch Begle, who represented VanVoorhees as their realtor, originally submitted that exact wording, describing where the property was to the Planning Commission. Therefore, it appears, they were challenging their own wording. The people petitioned knew where the property was. The township had the legal right to word the ballot as they saw fit. Why challenge the description? Loren fails to inform the readers of the Tatler the outcome of the election that the township fought so hard to stop. The reason that Loren gives appears to be only an excuse.

2. The PC failed to act as promised to correct the new Zoning ordinance to (a) allow construction of a pole barn on property without requiring a permit to build a house and to (b) insert a statement that this Zoning ordinance supersedes the State requirement that a lot cannot be more than 4 times as long as it is wide.

2a. The wording was intentionally placed in the zoning ordinance to prevent people from building a garage and then living in it, a situation that has happened many times. Loren was never promised that it would be changed. There are no records to support Loren’s statement of a promise being made. The reason that Loren gives appears to be only an excuse.

2b. No promise was made and no records support Loren. It appears to be only an excuse.

3. The same 3 PC members sent a letter to voters campaigning against the rezone petition on the Nov. ballot. The problem with items (1) and (3) is that 3 members of the PC are a quorum and at least give the perception that they were speaking for the PC, especially since no one else signed the lawsuit or campaign letter (which included the phrase, “we, members of the Planning Commission).

You can only have a quorum when you are having a meeting. These three likeminded landowners, who also happened to be on the Planning Commission, never held a meeting to discuss that issue. The township has no evidence to support the claim that meetings were held by the three PC members on that subject. As a matter of fact, I could testify that at least one member was very concerned, and went out of her way to avoid any such thing. The township has no evidence to support their claim. This reason has the perception of being only an excuse.

As two former members of Planning have found, IT IS DANGEROUS TO BE RIGHT WHEN GOVERNMENT IS WRONG.

Michael J. White, Sunday, February 25, 2007
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Right and wrong Reply with quote

Mike, in your opinion, what's on the horizon concerning this issue?
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:42 pm    Post subject: What is on the horizon? Reply with quote

The township will go to court. The issue to be decided is - did the township use the proper law to dismiss the Planning people. If they did use the proper law, everything will stay as it is right now. If they did not use the right law, then they can reenact the dismissals using the correct law. That would mean that they would actually have to prove that the Planners had done something wrong and it would go back to court. As I have said, there is no proof. Or they could choose to allow the Planners to serve their term including lost time.

Also on the horizon would be an Attorney General Opinion on which law is the correct one to use.

I wrote my response to the Tatler article because there are two sides to this story and I don't want all the people that read the Tatler to get the same perception that Loren has, that these people have actually done something wrong. I believe that, on the contrary, the township is the wrongdoer and that should be the perception that people have.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a long costly mess that won't be decided until after the 2008 election. At that point new board members and a new planning commission will be in place, making a win or loss for either party worth little or nothing. Hope all involved have lots of time and cash flow!!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No one knows who is legally on the Twp board and who isn't until decided in court. So what about important pending issues and forward progress? Who can act on what and/or would it be considered it legally binding?

What a mess. Point has a point. The "recall" will be the next election to hopefully get a functional forward-looking twp government in place. Meanwhile, we got only transparent excuses. This is going nowhere until everyone is sick of it all.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:37 pm    Post subject: Tatler Reply with quote

I know this is off the subject ....

But who Do I contact if I want the Tatler again ..??

I know I have to pay dues to get it ..
Do I write Lorens wife for it ???
I can not remember ......

Thank you for any help ..

Fe-Fe-
~~Connie Faye ~~
The girl that lived at the ole dock all day long every day ....
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:27 am    Post subject: Become a Member Reply with quote

You become a member of the Bois Blanc Island Association by paying $10 to Loren Gibbons, Treasurer, Box 895, Pointe Aux Pins, MI 49775. When you become a member you get the Tatler.

You can call Loren for details at 231-634-7055. You could then give him updated information for a revised BBIA Directory, which has been a big hit in the past.

There is also a short article about the environment John Engel.
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theeislandgirl
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:48 am    Post subject: Tatler Reply with quote

Mike .. Thank you..

I was a menber for one year ... then when it ran out I did not recive any info on it ..
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