Dorr Township Board Trustee John Tuinstra Tuesday night offered an apology to the Dorr Township Planning Commission for audio tape recording its Oct. 17 meeting without letting them know.
Tuinstra said, “I apologize for offending anybody and not remembering to take it (the tape recorder) home… I did that totally by simply forgetting it.”
Tuinstra set up the tape recorder on a defibrillator device on a wall inside the meeting room inside the township hall. It was discovered still running after the meeting and the device contained Tuinstra’s name.
Planning Commission Chairman Bob Wagner and Vice Chairman Robert Traxler both said audio recording a Plan Commission meeting has never before occurred, and Tuinstra should have brought the device to the front table to beet pick up comments from members and from people in the audience expressing concerns about noise from trains at the Green Valley agribusiness in Moline.
Tuinstra, who said he set the tape on top of the defibrillator unit “where everyone could see it”, apologized for not letting members know he was taping. He said he wanted to accurately obtain comments from the Moline residents in the audience.
Townbroadcast and some Plan Commission members, however, contend that fellow Township Board Trustee Terri Rios twice has complained to Supervisor Jeff Miling that she believes commissioners have been chatting after meetings in violation of the Open Meetings Act. They maintain Tuinstra planted the tape device in a clandestine manner in an attempt to catch four members violating the OMA.
Tuinstra, Rios, and Township Clerk Debbie Sewers all have voted twice against the reappointment of Wagner, insisting it’s time for him to step down after more than 40 years as chairman. Townbroadcast has contended in editorials the taping is part of a long-standing feud fueled by former Trustee Patty Senneker and Bernie Schumaker, using Tuinstra, Sewers and Rios as politicial allies to discredit Wagner.
Senneker, Tuinstra and Schumaker were the ringleaders of a failed attempt to recall all seven Township Board members in 2011.
Wagner Tuesday night stated it will be the policy of the Planning Commission to permits audio and video recordings, but commissioners must be aware of it.
In other business at Tuesday night’s meeting, the commission:
• Was told by Wagner there have been inquiries about the parcel on the southwest corner of the intersection of 142nd Avenue and 14th Street. A potential developer has expressed interest in a 250-unit apartment complex.
The site, zoned medium density residential, is next to a new development for manufacture of business trailers.
• Was told by Wagner that Miling asked the township attorney about site plan review for the Green Valley agribusiness and was told the matter is out of the hands of the Planning Commission entirely.
• Decided against revising the master plan for now.
Traxler said, “It’s a good plan… the beauty of it is its simplicity.”
• Agreed to continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month during 2018.