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Peter Psarouthakis, who served as the Supervisor of Sharon Township from 2012 until recently, has been recognized with the Outstanding Community Administrator Award by the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). As the top elected official and de facto manager for Sharon Township, a rural community in western Washtenaw County with a population of less than 2,000, Psarouthakis functioned as the Township’s primary manager.

During his tenure, Psarouthakis was proactive in advocating for essential code updates in response to shifts in state and case law, even as similar municipalities hesitated. After the Reed v. Gilbert decision, he initiated updates to the sign regulations. Psarouthakis also spearheaded a challenging process to permit marijuana growing and processing facilities in the township.

Barb Fuller, chair of both the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force, commended Psarouthakis’ efforts, stating, “Among the many initiatives that Peter accomplished was having a split-phase traffic signal placed at the intersection of M-52 and Pleasant Lake Road. As a 2-way stop, that intersection was deadly. Peter latched on to MDOT and did not let go until the signal was deployed. It has saved an untold number of lives and prevented tragic traffic accidents.”

One of the most recent challenges Psarouthakis and the Sharon Twp Board faced was a multi-year gravel mine permit application from the international conglomerate Stoneco. The company aimed to transform 400 acres of farmland on Pleasant Lake Road into a gravel pit. The Sharon Twp Board, under Psarouthakis’ leadership, declined Stoneco’s permit on environmental concerns. Following the denial, Stoneco launched a lawsuit in an effort to reverse the decision.

Reflecting on the Stoneco situation, Psarouthakis remarked, “Unfortunately, Stoneco turned out to be just like any other corporate giant bullying the little guy. They were given all the opportunity in the world to work with the township, but instead, they refused to give needed information or compromise on anything. Instead, we were met with legal threats and arrogance.”

He continued with optimism about Sharon Township’s community, saying, “Fortunately, 99% of Sharon Township residents are good and honorable people. They will weather this storm, regardless of how the court cases turn out.”

Founded in 1945, the Michigan Association of Planning strives to enhance the quality of community planning through education, information, and statewide advocacy. With a current membership surpassing 4,000, MAP predominantly comprises citizens serving on planning commissions and zoning boards of appeals.

Reflecting on his time in office, Psarouthakis concluded, “We accomplished a lot over the years, and I feel the township is in a much better place than we inherited those many years ago. Sharon Township will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Photo: Peter Psarouthakis. Photo: MAP

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