May 14, 2014 - A planning commission hearing to discuss zoning change of 148 N. Main was postponed again.
The meeting to discuss the property was scheduled, but postponed on two separate occasions and is now scheduled for Monday, May 19 at 7 p.m. at Clarkston City Hall.
The planning commission meeting is to include discussions on two conditional rezonings for the property, which is currently an auto repair shop.
Local restaurateurs Curt Catallo and Ann Stevenson would like to turn it into a coffee and deli shop with outdoor seating and a possible drive-through.
However, property owner Larry Trepek of GL Investments in Pontiac must ask the city and request rezoning of the property.
Clarkston News Assistant Publisher Don Rush insisted the meeting should be, and was, canceled because of Open Meetings Act requirements.
“The Open Meetings Act specifies when schedules are posted or meetings need to be posted for rescheduled or special meetings. Typically a public hearing is scheduled as part of the regular meetings, but if a special meeting is called, which is allowed, it must still meet the 15 day requirement,” Rush said.
According to the state of Michigan definition of the OMA, the act requires certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public and requires notice, the keeping of minutes of the meetings, provide enforcement and several other regulations. Zoning changes to the property, also set to be discussed and most likely changed, also require a 15-day period of notification to the public.
“The ZEA has a greater standard than the open meetings act regarding notice so if you meet the ZEA standards you will meet the OMA standards,” said Glenn Pape, Land Use and Public Policy Educator Michigan State University Extension on the Positively Clarkston Facebook page.
Rush reminded city officials they must follow state laws regarding the positing of meetings He cited the MSU Extention, and zoning act MCL 125.3103 which requires the publication of public hearings 15 days before the hearing.
In a response posted on the Positively Clarkston Facebook Page City Manager Carol Eberhardt admitted Rush was 100% correct.
“The confusion comes in the area of the special land use, which is also on the agenda. That a meeting requires no less than 5 days and no more than 15 days. I am, however, falling on my sword ... unfortunately we couldn’t meet the deadline by putting the notice in the Clarkston News. Appreciate Don being so persistent with this,” she said.
Although the property is being discussed for a proposed coffee shop and deli by Catallo and Stevenson, the building has yet to be purchased from Trepek.
Trepek said he still owns the building and negotiations are ongoing. In addition, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said there are still several requirements that must be met in regards to fix groundwater contamination that occurred from underground leaking gas tanks that were removed from the property in 1991.
– Andrea Beaudoin
Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.