Workers will begin surveying the south and west sides of Saline Friday as the city investigates the feasibility of extending utilities to a proposed 280-home development adjacent to the city’s western border.
At Monday’s meeting, Saline City Council approved paying up to $62,800 to TetraTech to provide topographical mapping that would be used to extend utilities to Andelina Farms and other Saline Township land that might one day be annexed into the city.
Survey work will begin Friday near Monroe Street, Michigan Avenue and Huntington Woods. Workers will walk along water sewer lines and as they map utilities. Some entry in utility easements on private property may occur. The work is not expected to impact property owners although it is possible that soil over buried manholes may be removed and replaced to conduct the work, according to City of Saline Engineer Jeff Fordice. Questions about this project should be directed to [email protected].
The decision to approve the survey work was one of two agenda items related to west-side growth and Andelina Farms, a proposed 280-home development between Michigan Avenue and Austin Road west of the city. Council also approved the creation of a joint working group whose task will be to draft a broad annexation agreement with Saline Township. The City of Saline will be represented by Mayor Brian Marl, Councilors Dean Girbach and Janet Dillon, Planning Commissioner Bill Beardsley, City Manager Todd Campbell and the city attorney’s office. Marl said the joint workgroup should complete its work by the end of 2020.
Two weeks ago, Saline City Council voted to end its legal challenge to the state permit that would allow the Andelina Farms wastewater treatment system to dump effluent into a tributary of the Saline River within the city limits. The city reached an agreement with Saline Ventures and MI Homes LLC that ended the city’s challenge. The agreement provides for two options.
One option - preferred by Mayor Brian Marl - involves a very tight timeline. This option involves bringing the development into the city and extending utilities to the land. This will require considerable infrastructure improvement, an annexation agreement with Saline Township, a construction schedule, cooperation from state regulators and the solving of other issues. Annexing the land has always been preferred by the township, the city and developers - but the city wanted the developer to invest more in the city’s infrastructure upgrades. Mayor Marl said the developer is now willing to contribute up to $5 million to assist with utility upgrades.
Still, despite the deal, this option is far from certain because the developer is eager to begin selling and building. They hope to begin selling in the first quarter of 2020.
In option two the property would remain in Saline Township with a private wastewater treatment system. The developer has agreed to improve what it originally proposed, adding additional testing, nanotechnology to mitigate chloride and sulfate concerns, and other features.
An element of the utilities and topographical survey have already been completed. An aerial survey was completed last week. Fordice said the remainder of the work needed to be completed quickly - before the ground is covered with snow.