OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Oakland Township requires a new EPA-mandated 45-foot high water storage facility. It is something everybody agrees on, but its placement of it is not.
The township started by considering nearly 20 potential locations and narrowed it down to two, and neighbors who live along the Kern Road option are fighting it.
The water storage facility wouldn’t be a tower but a puck-shaped ground facility. If placed on Kern Road, it will be the front door view of homes in an Oakland Township subdivision and the back door view of the neighbors across the street in Orion Township.
The whole reason people chose the area was because of the open spaces.
“It’s a little more rural,” said Andy Lauridsen. “We back up to the woods here. It’s just a nice, quiet place to raise kids.”
On Tuesday (Oct. 25) night, the Oakland Township board voted on the facility’s placement, and it ended in a tie. The Kern Road site has power lines and a community well on it and a far smaller footprint than the other possibility, which is an undeveloped 22-acre parcel near Adams and Gunn roads.
Neighbors along Kern Road feel like nobody in the township has their back.
“It just feels like they don’t value our neighborhood the way that they value other areas of the township,” said Beth Birkmire.
With the tie vote, neighbors near the Kern Road site hope the whole issue will get another look.
“The arguments for it being at a different location are pretty compelling,” said Jim Carter. “The arguments for it being here hold no water. If that message gets through to the township board, ultimately, they’ll put it at the other location, and I like our chances of making that happen.”
Local 4 reached out to the Oakland Township supervisor Wednesday but has yet to receive a response.