City, Township Move Closer to Annexation Workgroup, Township Has Concerns About Monroe Street Sidewalk

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 11/13/2019 - 01:30

On a cold, snowy Monday evening the Saline Township Board listened to City of Saline Mayor Brian Marl and Washtenaw County District 3 Commissioner Shannon Beeman discuss two items of critical interest to the township.

Marl, who attended last month’s township meeting, told the board that he was going to request Saline City Council approve the formation of a group to work with representatives from Saline township to develop language for an overall annexation agreement to help with future development projects.

As he stated at last month’s meeting, Marl said the city is not interested in forcing anyone into the city that doesn’t want to be annexed into the city. 

“The City of Saline is not interested in forcing anyone into the city,” Marl said, “we are talking about someone wanting to sell 150 acres and a developer wanting to build two or three houses on each acre.”

That sentiment was echoed by township board members. 

“No one is going to force anyone to do anything against their wishes,” said Township Supervisor Jim Marion.  “We have never done that and we never will.”

Supervisor Marion asked if Andelina Farms would be included in the 425 language to be developed and Marl demurred, saying the City of Saline was still involved in litigation with the Andelina Farms development over the discharge of treated effluent into an unnamed tributary of the Saline River near the Huntington Woods development along Macon Road.

“It is important for the city to protect current and future residents of the city,” Marl said. 

Marl hinted that if the city and the Andelina Farms development can reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, the development located west of the city limits between Michigan Avenue and Austin Road could be included in the overall 425 agreement.

Marl indicated he would be discussing with the city council a plan to set aside money in the city budget in future years that could be used to support the annexation of properties to make developments more affordable by connecting to city public services.

The township board voiced their support to pursue a mutual annexation agreement with the City of Saline and will identify representatives to join the proposed workgroup.

Beeman Updates Board

County Commissioner Shannon Beeman introduced herself to the township board.  She said that she represents Saline Township and is interested in hearing any local concerns by residents or the board.

“The county is currently reviewing the structure of the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC).  A state law that allows the county to make adjustments to the WCRC sunsets on 12-31-2019 so the board of commissioners are doing due diligence with the WCRC,” Beeman said.

Beeman said there are four options under consideration:

  1.  Retain the current structure
  2. Change road commission members from appointed to elected, running every two years
  3. Expand the road commission board from three to five members
  4. Transfer road commission duties to the Board of Commissioners

Supervisor Marion said he preferred the governance structure remain the same but recommended the WCRC be expanded to five members, with members being appointed that represent all geographic areas of the county.

Huntington Woods Sidewalk

The board had a lengthy discussion about the Huntington Woods’ subdivision request for a sidewalk that connects the neighborhood to city sidewalks.  A local resident expressed her concerns about the proposal, citing maintenance and liability issues.

Township consulting attorney, Fred Lucas, stated similar concerns on behalf of the township.

“If the sidewalk gets built, state law shows that the township has some liability for those sidewalks.”  Lucas continued, “we need to try to have agreement with the developer and the homeowners’ association of all three phases of Huntington Woods that includes language stating that the developer and/or homeowners association will retain the responsibility for maintaining the sidewalk and will assume all liability.”

Mayor Marl said construction on the sidewalk project has been halted for the winter and that Washtenaw Engineering is revising the plan and will resubmit it in the future.  Marl said there was a stipulation in the agreement prior to Phase II being developed which included the construction of a sidewalk.  He said that was agreed to prior to his assuming the mayor’s office.

The next township meeting is scheduled for Monday, 12-09-19 at 7 p.m.  The Saline Township Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 12-03-19 at 7 p.m.

 

Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon