I wanted to thank everyone who showed up to the meeting. Great turn out! I also would like to thank everyone for keeping the discussion civil. I was probably the most exasperated person there, so that was good.
I was sitting in front, so I didn’t get a count, but there was probably 40 or more residents. Plus State Representative Gretchen Driskell, a Representative from the Farm Bureau (I didn’t catch his name), Dan Manning from Connect Michigan and I heard our County Commissioner Dan Smith was there as well.
Although the meeting was very frustrating at times, I think the end result was very positive. Here are some of my notes:
* The township was not receptive to my arguments for allowing Todd Gardner to provide service under the FCC OTARD rule. They didn’t directly comment on my proposals and interpretation of this point, but I take their silence as a “no”.
* I got the impression that the township wants to make spot zoning and putting the tower in under existing ordinance work for us. There are some important unanswered questions with this method, but in discussion after the meeting, Kingsley left me with the impression they could make it work. However, we do need to better understand the impact on the land owner.
* The Board was not receptive to the idea of modifying the ordinance to allow these types of towers on agricultural land. To most people involved except for the Board, this seems to be the right path to take. The Board expressed concern that this would open the door for lots of towers. An ordinance modification would be the longest path to take.
* Most importantly, I think the meting was a wake up call to the Board. After the meeting, Kingsley said no one on the Board opposes putting up the tower to provide internet service. Before the meeting the impression was that there was some opposition by the Board to putting up a tower at all.
* I pressed Kingsley during and after the meeting that the township needs to take an active part in leading this process. They can’t just sit back and wait for someone to try and figure it out. Unfortunately, they did not step up to the plate to champion this effort and help make it happen.
* Recognizing this lack of guidance, Rob Mitzel has agreed to take the lead and guide us through this process. Since Rob is on the Zoning Board, he will be limited in what he himself can do, but I believe he’ll be able to steer us in the right direction and keep us on track to make things happen as quick as possible.
The bottom line is, while the game has not changed and the township’s position seems the same, the tone of the conversation has changed significantly. I think the township now realizes that this has to happen and happen as quick as possible. We should have a much more constructive process moving forward with the township on this and things should happen more quickly.
There have already been some discussion on how to proceed. I’ll keep everyone posted. Thanks again for your support!