LAIA Board Journal
Lakes Treatment - Tuesday July 22, 2014
MINIMUM 24-hour NO-CONTACT WITH LAKES WATER ~ PEOPLE & PETS
Please be informed that the first of our 3 annual lakes treatments will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, July 22nd. Please see the notices posted around the lakes and on future mail-posts for important details.
If you have neighbors that don't use internet communication, kindly share this information with them.
Thank You, Loch Alpine Lakes Committee
NOTE: If weather is inclement, a notice will announce treatment is rescheduled.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Local Control Loses Out as Michigan DEQ Approves Permit for an Oil Well in Scio Township
ANN ARBOR --- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved a permit for an exploratory oil well less than two miles from the Huron River today, despite organized opposition from local governments and concerned citizens who want to keep Scio Township free from oil drilling. More than 200 citizens plotted their pledge to stand up to West Bay Exploration’s pursuit of mineral rights in Washtenaw County on Michigan LCV’s Mark Your Territory map (http://www.michiganlcv.org/markyourterritory). However, state law allows extraction projects to trump local control over natural resources protections and quality of life in communities across the state.
“Today’s decision is a direct repercussion of bad state policy that leaves townships and municipalities hamstrung to stop extraction projects from drilling down in citizens’ backyards,” said Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director for Michigan LCV. “Scio Township citizens sent a clear message to the DEQ that an oil well does not belong near a major source of drinking water and a vital natural resource. Unfortunately, the DEQ acted in the interest of the oil and gas company, rather than standing up for local citizens or Michigan’s natural resources.”
Community opposition to oil and gas drilling in Scio Township swelled since West Bay Exploration began circulating leases for mineral rights in Scio Township earlier this year. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, Ann Arbor City Council and Scio Township Board of Trustees all passed resolutions in opposition of the oil and gas company’s permit application to drill in the area, citing environmental concerns. Hundreds of Scio Township citizens packed public hearings on the issue and Michigan LCV launched the Mark Your Territory tool to give community members a way to organize to prevent the oil and gas company from gaining more ground.
“The concerns of Scio Township citizens should hold more weight in permitting decisions that put their natural resources and the character of their community at risk,” Schmitt said. “Michiganders need to come together to elect people to office who value Michigan’s lakes, rivers and streams and who value local control over projects that present an inherent threat to our natural resources.”
Michigan LCV scored the decision with a red mark on How Green is Your Governor? See the score here: http://michiganlcv.org/how-green-governor
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Michigan League of Conservation Voters is the leading non-partisan political voice for protecting Michigan’s land, air and water. Visit our website: http://www.michiganlcv.org.
July 1, 2014
Loch Alpine Improvement Association - Semiannual Letter from the President
As I become more deeply involved in the business of Loch Alpine, I am repeatedly struck by how many people work behind the scenes to make our neighborhood the friendly, orderly, natural, and beautiful place that we all enjoy residing in. While the board members are the most visible of these altruistic individuals, there are many more who are largely invisible to the community. People like former board presidents Peter Logan and Jeff Miller, who continue to carry out the necessary legwork to make the dam project happen and to ensure that it is done with the least disruption and maximal benefit to Loch Alpine. People like Mary Nickson who organized and implemented another highly successful 4th of July celebration. People like Roads Committee chair Harry Rolfes who works tirelessly to make sure that our 30-year-old roads are maintained at minimal cost. This is a very truncated set of examples, but you get the point. Please join me in thanking all the individuals and committees who work so passionately to maintain and improve our wonderful environs.
Update on the Dams Project
July 8, 2014 is the official construction start date. Construction activities may proceed from 7 AM to 7 PM and may occur 7 days a week, although 6 days a week will be the norm. Please mark your calendar and be prepared for the following:
- Clearing of trees on the south side of the lower lake dam (it will look very different, even stark). This is vegetation removal is required by the MDEQ Dams Safety program. We will make every effort to keep trees that are not part of the dam structure.
- Days-long lane and/or complete closures of Loch Alpine Drive East around the south side of the lower lake or of Midway Drive. We will make every effort to keep you apprised of road obstructions or detours.
- Some noise, dust, heavy equipment, temporary piles of material or debris;
- Safety First: please drive even more slowly than usual around all work areas or when one lane is closed. Your safety as well as the safety of construction personnel should be paramount during this time.
- Construction activities should be completed by October 6; major activities that necessitate lane and brief road closings should be completed by the end of August if all goes according to plan, but weather and unexpected delays may push the schedule back.
- Other roadwork in Loch Alpine (annual chipseal projects) will proceed in early July as well and may create especially tricky detours for some residents who are unfortunate enough to be affected by both sets of temporary road closures simultaneously. Please watch for the road maintenance schedule and neighborhood updates and be as patient as possible!
New Signs for AACC/Max and Bella’s
A number of new signs have appeared at Loch Alpine entrances and on internal roadways, directing drivers toward the Ann Arbor Country Club and Max and Bella’s restaurant. Most of these signs were placed after the AACC obtained a variance from the LAIA Board of Directors in 2013. Some residents have responded positively to these new signs, while others have expressed displeasure and have questioned whether or not the board’s action to grant the variance was an appropriate interpretation of the restriction agreement. These questions have been referred to the law firm of Zelmanski, Danner, and Fiorritto, PLLC for an opinion.
While we wait for a legal interpretation of the appropriateness of the variance, the sign at the entrance to Greenook Boulevard has been removed, as it was not part of the original variance and represented a misunderstanding between the AACC and LAIA.
Oil and Gas Drilling in Scio Township
Many of you attended our informational presentation at the AACC by the Michigan league of Conservation Voters. All of you should have received an email summary of the information presented. Please feel free to contact the board with questions, suggestions, or information as it emerges on this topic of concern.
Please show your thanks to the AACC for providing the venue to our association by visiting Max and Bella’s for a meal.
Planning for the Future
The Board of Directors will continue to discuss issues that require long-term planning. These include drainage and road maintenance, as well as a host of other issues that may not fit into the annual operational budget. It seems likely to me that the board will reach a consensus around a plan that uses budgeting schemes that have served us well in the past. If so, we will continue to use special assessments for major projects like the initial paving of the roads, the dredging of the lakes, and most recently the dams projects. At the same time, we will likely propose that we continue the tradition of maintaining some form of capital reserve, where a portion of the annual dues are set aside for unanticipated deviations from the regular operational budget. This tradition served us very well this past year as the capital reserves that previous boards had set aside were used to pay for a very unusual winter season of snow plowing, and to absorb an escalation in dam construction costs that resulted from rescheduling the project more than a year later than originally planned.
While no final decisions are imminent, it seems likely that regular dues will be increased substantially in 2015 to grow our capital reserve back to the health it enjoyed before the winter of 2013-14. It also is possible that in addition to increasing regular dues, we may recommend that within a few years that a special assessment be levied to deal with a number of neighborhood drainage issues that have recently become more pressing in association with the seemingly more extreme weather.
If you wish to weigh in on these future planning issues, please be encouraged to attend future board meetings and express your opinion, or better yet, get involved!
New Fitness Equipment in the Park
Thanks to Ryan McGinnis and his Boy Scout compatriots, you will soon see a new addition to the playground equipment in Loch Alpine Park. As part of his Eagle Scout project, Ryan and company will install a pull-up bar, a push-up bar, and a sit-up bench, near the location of the existing children’s play equipment. Soon you will be able to get fit while you (baby)sit.
Fourth of July Celebration and Fireworks
We hope that you enjoyed the celebration and the fireworks on June 28, 2014. Thanks to Mary Nickson, Katie Roycroft, Chad Reichert, Heidi Reichert, Bob Sendra, Peter Logan, and to all who contributed to the bake sale for all their efforts to prepare for a safe and enjoyable celebration. (I’m sure I have forgotten someone important here….)
The board will be asked at its next meeting on July 8 at 7 PM at the Webster Township Hall to set the date for the 2015 4th of July celebration. Most volunteers and most residents we have heard from favor June 27 with June 28 as the rain date. The rationale most folks cite is that this enables residents to use their official holiday vacation time to travel (many working people will likely have Friday July 3 designated as a paid holiday next year).
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On behalf of the LAIA Board of Directors,