Don’t Drill the Hills to Appeal Judge’s Ruling – Vows to Continue Fight for Voting Rights

Please Note: The content in this post was received as a press release from Don”t Drill the Hills, Inc (DDHI). It is posted solely as an update on this issue. No compensation was received by Rochester Media for posting it, nor should it be perceived as an endorsement of DDHI.

Don’t Drill the Hills, Inc (DDHI) will appeal the decision issued on November 4 by Judge James Alexander of the Oakland County Circuit Court. Ironically, the decision on the lawsuit, which asserts that the law requires a vote of the people for agreements affecting City parks, was delivered on Election Day. DDHI is very disappointed, but not surprised, by the Judge’s decision, which appears to be based on politics rather than the law. The Judge’s brief written opinion lacks legal explanations, and instead simply contains unsupported conclusions.

Most shockingly, the Judge’s opinion concludes:

  • Citizens have no right to vote on the issue and no right to legally challenge the City’s interpretation of Charter or state law. He states DDHI could not even ask to have the law analyzed and interpreted.
  • That State law and the City Charter language, “no buying, selling or leasing of park land property without a vote,” does not apply either to the park “lease” or easement agreement which states “sale.”
  • Citizens have no right to vote on the park lease and easement concluding that such issues don”t affect us.
  • That despite well-established real estate principles, “only the surface of the land may constitute a park.”

The ruling by Judge Alexander means citizens are denied access to the courts to challenge government overreach. It is absurd to think that citizens cannot ask the court to have the law analyzed and interpreted. DDHI maintains we have the right to sue, and citizens have the right to vote on these issues. Additionally, the citizen taxpayers of Rochester Hills purchased and own their City parks, from top to bottom.

DDHI members and other concerned area residents feel confident in an appeals win. DDHI is appealing in part to defend the right of its members, but also all citizens, who need access to the courts to enforce their rights and hold their elected officials accountable under the law.

A more detailed analysis, as well as the full opinion and pleadings in the case, is available on the DDHI website:

Don’t Drill the Hills, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots nonprofit corporation that is building awareness of the risks of horizontal drilling in high-density residential and K-12 School areas. Concerns include: property rights, property values, mortgage and insurance complications, as well as potential environmental and health risks.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at


  1. Rochester Hills Mayor (Barnette) and the City Council have simply ignored voter rights by by-passing the City Charter passed in 2011 that calls for a vote on any sort of development of the parks. They did it for the oil money. So what’s the big deal? This is America! Most people are not paying attention anyway…so why not give it a try.

  2. This ridiculous ruling must be overturned. Citizens can’t enforce their own Charter? Public officials get to decide which laws they like? Why do we have laws? This is an outrage! The City is NOT working in the best interests of its residents, and have acted WAY out of line.

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