2017-07-23 / Editorial

Stay connected, stay civically engaged

At any given time local boards and commissions, some whose members are elected by voters while others are appointed, are busy working on matters of public interest before them. Some on regular housekeeping matters you’ve likely never heard of, while others have risen to become high-profile stories you’ve read about in The County Press.

The Lapeer Planning Commission, for example, has the task of devising where and how the city of Lapeer will allow medical marijuana businesses to operate in the community. At this point, Lapeer is the only municipality in the county that has agreed to opt in to permit any one of five license applications now permitted by state law. The most coveted of the five, and where the big money lies according to experts, is a provision in the law that permits an entrepreneur to operate a retail store (provision center) provided the local municipality has agreed to allow it. The planning commission meets once a month, and has pledged to keep working toward identifying how many and where medical marijuana businesses will operate in the city.

Ultimately the planning commission’s work to devise policy to allow medical marijuana business will have to be approved by the Lapeer City Commission. At each step of the process there are opportunities for public input, but you have to know about them.

In Lapeer Township, its planning commission is dealing with plans by GFL Environmental USA to operate a large-scale compost facility on property that formerly operated as Newark Aggregate & Landscape Supply. GFL has applied for a special land use permit in accordance with Lapeer Township ordinance.

GFL is working with the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality to secure necessary water permits associated with the mining and composting operations that will protect both groundwater and surface waters, including wetlands and Hunters Creek.

While the GFL’s proposed change of use for the former Newark Aggregates site wasn’t on the Monday agenda of a regularly scheduled Lapeer Township meeting, that didn’t stop about 20 area residents who showed up seeking answers. Much of the concern Monday was over how people were or weren’t notified of a June 19 public hearing relevant to the project.

Whether it’s to keep up on what municipalities are doing to address medical marijuana businesses, or the compost operation in Lapeer Township, it’s another reason you read The County Press and the Lapeer Area View for stories and publication of legal and public notices. In case you missed them, published in the July 20 edition of the Lapeer Area View were condensed minutes from recent Arcadia Township and Lapeer City Commission meetings, as well as a Consumers Energy Gas Franchise ordinance agreement in Lapeer Township.

Municipalities have a legal obligation to publish notices of upcoming meetings and subsequent action that occurred. To provide a heads-up to residents regarding meetings and other matters, in both the Wednesday and Sunday edition of The County Press (on page 3A) we publish a regular index to public notices called “Today’s Public Notices.” In the Lapeer Area View, the same public notice directory can be found every week on the page that includes “The View from Here” and the popular “Where’s the View” photo feature.

We hope you find the public notices feature handy, and you turn to the indicated pages generally found within the Classifieds section of the paper. It may be your one and only opportunity to read about an upcoming meeting you may wish to attend.

Public officials frequently hear from citizens who say, “I never heard anything about it” related to a meeting, millage proposal discussion or a zoning change. Their response is likely that the notice was published in the local newspaper. They fulfilled their legal obligation — the rest is up to you.

It’s incumbent upon you to read public notices, or run the risk of missing a meeting where your voice may have made a difference on a matter that could forever change life as you know it in your community.

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