Source: Sherman Publications

Letter to Editor: Carrots, donkeys and gravel pits

August 14, 2013

The way a donkey cart is supposed to work is the driver holds a long rod containing a carrot on a string, just out of the donkey’s reach.

The donkey (the male donkey is properly called a jackass) sees the carrot and starts walking toward the carrot.

Because the donkey is harnessed to the cart, the cart moves at the same pace and the carrot is always just out of reach. If the driver wants to go to the right or left, he/she just moves the carrot in that direction and the donkey follows.

The donkey never gets the carrot, but pulls the cart whereever the driver wants to go.

When the driver gets where he/she wants the donkey to take him/her, the driver puts the carrot out of site and the donkey has worked for nothing.

What does the working of a donkey cart matter here in Oxford Township?

It has been stated by Supervisor Dunn and reported in the Oxford Leader, that the gravel pit management have promised to donate land on the west side of Lapeer Rd. (M-24), north of Metamora Rd., for a future fire hall.

Because of this donation, Bill Dunn had suggested that the township trustees waive fees for rezoning another piece of property located on Ray Rd., that is owned by the same company.

At that meeting, I pointed out the obvious conflict of interest and the trustees voted down his request.

The size of the land promised (3.4 acres) to be donated is smaller than the master plan at the time (adopted 2005) called for as a build-able lot. In 2011, Oxford Township’s master plan was changed to a different zoning and allowed for smaller-size lots to be considered as buildable.

This way the township would not be violating its own requirements. However, it greatly increases the potential profits to the gravel company as land developers.

Months before the adoption of the current master plan in 2011, I wrote a letter to the editor pointing out such an offer should be viewed as a bribe. That did not stop the trustees from voting to approve the new plan that greatly benefits the gravel company.

The rezoning was in 2011. It is 2013 and as of Aug. 4, the township map on Oxford Township’s website showd the land is still not in the Township’s possession.

If the gravel pit management were philanthropic about the donation and not using it as a carrot, the transfer would not have take over five years and still not be completed. It appears to be put away until the gravel company management wants something else from township officials.

Comparing to the donkey cart, gravel company management seems to be the in the driver’s seat and Mr. Dunn and Oxford Township Trustees of 2011are following the carrot they may never get. 2013 Oxford Township trustees need to reverse the zoning back to the requirement of the master plan of 2005 and protect Oxford residents’ quality of life.

Ron Meyer

Oxford Township