|SPECIAL CITY OF NOVI COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, JULY 22, 1996 AT 7:30 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford, Council Members Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid (arrived 9:10 PM)
ALSO PRESENT: City Manager Edward Kriewall, City Attorney David Fried, Director of Department of Public Services, Tony Nowicki, Deputy City Clerk, Nancy Reutter
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor McLallen said there were two amendments to the Agenda and they would be 1A and 1B. She said 1A is a request for approval to reject the bid for sidewalks on Grand River and permission to rebid the project and 1B would be to hold an Executive Session to immediately follow this meeting to discuss property acquisition.
CM-96-07-260: Moved by Clark, Seconded by Crawford, MOTION NOT VOTED ON: To add those items to the Agenda.
Mr. Kriewall also requested to add an Audience Participation at the start of the meeting and also at the end.
Councilman Mitzel asked if Councilman Schmid will be attending tonight because he questioned if they were authorized to change the Agenda of a Special Meeting. Mr. Fried replied technically they could not change the Agenda of a Special Meeting unless everyone is present and consents to it. Mayor McLallen then said they could not amend the Agenda unless Councilman Schmid arrives to the meeting.
PURPOSE OF MEETING - PROPOSED ROAD BONDING PROGRAM
APPROVAL OF MDOT CONTRACT NO. 96-5088 AND AUTHORIZING RESOLUTION FOR THIRTEEN MILE ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT.
Mayor McLallen indicated this item is a tri-party project and the Cityís portion of which is approximately $175,000 and it has to do with road improvements of approximately 1,000 feet east, west and south of the intersection of Meadowbrook and Thirteen and then other parties would be continuing the widening and relocation and paving of Thirteen on out to Haggerty Road. She said the Cityís financial commitment share is $175,215 and this is in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
CM-96-07-261: Moved by Cassis, Seconded by Clark, MOTION CARRIED: To approve MDOT Contract No. 96-5088 and the authorizing resolution for Thirteen Mile Road Improvement Project.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if this was a local fund share from the Federal Government that comes through the state. Mr. Kriewall said it is allocated through the County Point Scoring System and comes through the County processing of grants.
Vote on CM-96-07-261: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch
PRESENTATION BY ROAD COMMISSION FOR OAKLAND COUNTY
Mr. Bair from Oakland County said he would be discussing the status of projects, discussion of the required match, funding in general and the Category C rating system and how it all works.
Mr. Bair said the Grand River Road Bridge is currently four lanes and we are going to rebuild it to five and it is 95% State and Federal funded and will have to be closed for six months during construction. Total estimated cost is 2.6 million and the local share is $492,500 each over a two-year period and construction would be in 1997.
Mr. Bair said the Novi Road Widening, Ten Mile to Grand River, currently is two lanes, proposed five lanes, and it is a Category C and the estimated cost is 6 1/2 million dollars for construction and a million dollars for right-of-way, and the local share is $746,000 and it is in design and right-of-way right now into 1998 and construction in 1999.
Mr. Bair said Haggerty Road, Eight Mile to Orchard Hill, is a safety project and is 80% Federal funded up to a total of $125,000, and will be adding one southbound lane, and the local share each of $25,000, 1997 construction.
Mr. Bair said Novi Road from 12 1/2 Mile to Thirteen Mile, is a basic reconstruction pavement replacement and he anticipated it will occur in 1997.
Mr. Bair said Michigan for over 30 years has had under-funded roads and Michigan is at the bottom of all the states in the nation for spending per miles traveled. Because of this, our road conditions show the results.
Mr. Bair said for the Road Commission there is another problem and as development occurs, it generates new tax revenues, property taxes from all of the houses and businesses going up, income taxes from all the new jobs created and sales taxes from all of the commerce developed, but for the Road Commission, the problem is none of those revenues go to the Road Commission to address the traffic that comes with the development.
Mr. Bair said consequently over 20 years ago, the Road Commission decided that in order to stretch its revenues as best it could and meet the demands of that development and the traffic, we have been forced to ask the communities to assist in the match for Federal aid for major construction projects within the communities. He asked where do we go to get the funding to improve roads?
Mr. Bair said the first federal aid program is now called the Surface Transportation Program and the County in general receives about 7.6 million dollars a year and that does not come to the Road Commission and the Road Commission competes with the cities and villages for the use of those funds for road improvements. He said there is also a Critical Bridge Fund we are looking at for Grand River.
Mr. Bair said there are two major sources of funding for major road improvements, and they are Surface Transportation Program Urban, which generates 7.6 million a year but there are enough projects already in and approved to use up all of those monies through the year 2001 at this point.
Mr. Bair said the Category C funding level is about 7 million dollars a year and again there are enough projects in the pipeline to use up all the money through year 2001.
Mr. Bair explained who decides which project get funded and there is an Oakland County Task Force of which Novi is a member and from that Task Force a funding committee is created and that funding committee is made up of two people from the Road Commission, one from MDOT, one from SMART, three representatives from large cities, two from the medium cities, two from small cities, one from large, one from medium and one from small townships. He said the total membership on that committee is 14 people and of that, the Road Commission has two votes.
Mr. Bair explained the point system we follow in selecting projects is where credit is given for reduced accidents, improved physical conditions, improved traffic operation, improved socio-economic environmental conditions, importance of the project to the overall road network or system, coordination with local planning and coordination with transit. A total of 100 points is the maximum a project can get.
Mr. Bair explained the communities and Road Commission wishing to obtain funding submit forms with the points on it indicating what they think each project should get and it is reviewed by a committee and then basically the funding committee goes down the projects with the highest point first until the money runs out. It puts the money in the worst situation first and it is the best allocation of public funds he has seen.
Mr. Bair discussed various other programs and then said because the rating system that was used for the other Federal category was so trusted by the communities, we said if we create this Category C with funding coming to the five largest urban counties in the state, why not create a similar point system for the use and selecting of Category C projects for funding and that is what they did. He said you have to be doing quite a bit in terms of safety improvements and reducing congestion to rate high enough to get funding under this program. He then referred to the examples.
Mr. Bair said basically our revenues have not kept up with all of the development and growth and traffic we have had to accommodate and have had to go to the communities to assist.
Mr. Bair asked if he has addressed everyoneís questions.
Mayor McLallen asked what was his current spending on Oakland County Roads that are within the City of Novi for maintenance and general upkeep, and Mr. Bair said he had no idea and we cannot keep that by community because part of it is winter maintenance and that varies from year to year. He said he didnít allocate by community and in terms of maintenance we allocate by district and Novi is in a district that includes several surrounding communities. He said construction projects would jump around based on the points system and which project comes to the top of the list and we may get a critical bridge in Novi and next year a critical bridge in another community and it varies.
Mayor McLallen said within our community, Novi Road, Haggerty Road and Ten Mile Road are critical roads for transportation corridors that happen to bisect our community. She asked what investment does the County on a maintenance schedule, put in our community for those roads that are basically his responsibility. Mr. Bair replied as much as he can. He explained he goes to the northern part of Oakland County and the rural townships and they say, you donít spend enough money up here because you are spending it all down in the southern cities and then he goes to the southern cities including Southfield, and they say you donít spend enough money down here because you are spending it all in the rural areas where no one lives. He said it was the same with the east part of the county versus the west part.
Mr. Bair said he is not spending enough anywhere and the problem is he is stretching what he has over the entire system and it just isnít enough because of the basic problem we are all facing.
Mayor McLallen said do you have a specific road maintenance program and he replied yes. He said we have a payment management system where we have rated all of major paved roads and a computer program which tells us what we should do to individual road segments based on their condition and we have that for all roads in Oakland County, including those in Novi.
Mr. Bair said the problem is we canít do all what the computer says and this year, we realized a little additional revenue in the gas tax and frankly, we are resurfacing about 45 miles of road based on that rating system and the latest information from their maintenance districts. He didnít know at this point all what is occurring in Novi. He said we are spending all the money and we are spreading it around, but it is not enough.
Councilwoman Mutch said Mr. Bair had indicated a City our size is part of a group of cities that are represented on a task force by two individuals and Mr. Bair replied yes but he did not know who represents their size group at this point.
Mr. Nowicki said it was on a rotational basis right now and he served on it for about three years and his term was up. He thought possibly Oak Park or Ferndale may be involved but he wasnít sure. Mr. Bair indicated the task force is made up of all communities and the Mayor stated we are talking about individuals and Mr. Bair said that was up to the community to designate who goes.
Councilman Clark said we talked about the Grand River Bridge replacement scheduled for construction next year, and obviously it will create some serious detour problems for a time. He said one, do we know how long we are talking about in terms of the build-out for reconstruction after the old bridge and Mr. Bair said six months closure which means no traffic for six months on it. He talked to his design engineer this afternoon and asked if there was any way we could do it half-width and his answer was it was built by prison labor back in the 1920's and with the type of beam construction, they couldnít do it half-width and we have to tear it all out and do it all at once.
Mr. Bair said there would be some additional road work on either end of it but traffic will go through other than for the six month period.
Mayor McLallen said then for six months, east west traffic that needs to come into our community cannot use Grand River and Mr. Bair said correct and there is no way we can get around that as there is not enough right-of-way that we could build a temporary bridge to the side without impacting the businesses.
Mayor McLallen asked if the County would have an alternate route plan and Mr. Bair said we will have one and it will be clearly signed. He added we have to coordinate the work with the railroad because they have to be able to send a train through there on a regular schedule so that adds to the time delay to get it built.
Mayor McLallen then said Mr. Bair has highlighted four projects for the next year and she asked for comments.
Councilman Crawford referred to the Bridge and he assumed alternate routes would end up being on our City streets which will be Taft or Meadowbrook and he asked will the County provide any funding to improve those roads or will any of those roads or signals or anything be improved during that six month period. Mr. Bair said we will do all the signing as far as any wear and tear to the road, but we may not use your roads and we may send them down to our mile roads. He didnít know at this point but they would not divert the traffic through a residential area.
Councilman Crawford said going east on Grand River, the only way to do it would be probably to Taft Road unless you will route down to Beck Road which is really a long way away and Mr. Bair said their traffic engineers will look at that and Councilman Crawford said he wouldnít provide any relief for our streets and Mr. Bair said they might alter the signal timing.
Councilman Crawford asked him if he had any idea what the closing of Grand River would do to the City for six months without some relief in some of those unique situations and funds need to be found somewhere in the County to help the City. Mr. Bair said he would take that information to his people.
Councilwoman Cassis said regarding road improvements to Eight Mile to Orchard Hill Place, is there a future project to continue the Haggerty Road improvements north and he replied if she meant to improve Haggerty Road even with the construction of the Haggerty Connector, yes and it will be needed and funding will not be available after the year 2001. He said there are no specific plans at this point and we have simply met the communities since 1985 every two years and we will start it up this fall and that has been an identified need in this region.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if he saw that communities will have to complement funding in order to have this take place and Mr. Bair replied if she meant will we ask for participation on match for Federal funds if and when we can get Federal funds, yes, but above and beyond that, he just didnít know.
Councilwoman Cassis said she noticed that he indicated this improvement from Eight Mile to Orchard Hill Place is targeted for 1997 construction and you indicated possible payments from a commercial development so you are looking at that and Mr. Bair said he understood there was a developer out there who has committed funds to some sort of improvement and we are still looking for that contribution to make a part of this improvement. She asked if this program would live or die without it and Mr. Bair said they were counting on it for a part of the funding.
Councilman Crawford said Mr. Bair has pointed out some very limited funds to the County and Mr. Bair said they were limited to everyone. Councilman Crawford asked are there any proposals in the works to generate any funds within Oakland County that would stay in Oakland County and be allocated to Oakland County.
Mr. Bair explained they tried in 1989 for a local option gas tax and it went to the legislature. He explained it was a gas tax that they could raise here and keep here, 2 - 3 cents a gallon, but 100% of it would stay here. He said the legislature at that time said no, that they were not giving the large urban counties control of the gas tax and they would never vote for a state-wide gas tax again, so we will give them a $25.00 registration fee.
Mr. Bair said we didnít see that it was worthwhile trying it again so we didnít. He said there was a gas tax on the horizon and either in the lame duck session or early next year and it will address Oaklandís donor status a bit. He said they have gotten the County Road Association to agree to return a bit more to the urban counties especially Oakland if they get a gas tax increase and this is only an agreement among the 83 counties/ the road commissions and it doesnít effect how much MDOT spends here. He explained part of our donor status is because MDOT doesnít spend enough here and doesnít address what transit monies are spent here and it doesnít address the City and village share.
Mr. Bair said they are attempting to work on their donor status and they do that whenever there is a revenue increase because frankly if we were to get 100% of our monies back right now, we would shut down Northern Michigan. He said this winter there were Northern Road Commissions who did not plow snow on the weekends because they could not afford the overtime. He said they were going to continue to subsidize to a degree, the rural northern counties, but we are going to keep tweaking that and getting more and more back.
Mr. Bair said he has been advised that 35 years ago, we were getting back 36-37% on the dollar and now we are up to 63% and for awhile with the Economic Development Fund kicking in, we were getting over 70% back. We are continuing to work on it and we are improving, but it takes a long time.
Councilman Crawford said in addition to revising our donorís status, is there anything that is unique just to Oakland County and Mr. Bair said nothing is proposed at this time. He explained in Lansing, some have proposed doing a state-wide gas tax and giving it to MDOT and letting the Counties raise their own money on a local option. He said the problem is Oakland could not go for a large enough increase because if we went for a nickel, the surrounding counties would go with two cents and we would devastate our border gas stations and all commuters coming in who would buy their gas elsewhere and we would not realize the revenue we are after. He said they have to stick with the State-wide gas tax and get a larger share back.
Councilman Crawford asked if there has been anything done to regulate the trucking industry and he understood that Michigan allows rather large weight trucks and axles on the roads.
Mr. Bair said there are a couple of things and one is the elimination of the diesel discount and that is where they can buy a sticker and they donít have to pay 6 of the 15 cent diesel fuel tax. He said we have also talked about increasing the truck registration fees but that hasnít gone anywhere.
Mr. Bair indicated that Michigan has the heaviest trucks in the nation and the 18 wheeler is 80,000 pounds or 40 tons and there have been all kinds of studies done that document a standard semi does damage to the equivalent of 9,600 cars.
Mr. Bair said Michigan trucks have constant axles, 42 tires on the road, and they weigh 164,000 pounds and they do damage equivalent to 13,000-15,000 cars. He said if we eliminated these trucks, for example, it would take at least two of the standard 18 wheelers to haul that cargo, so we would have two trucks instead of one doing damage equivalent to 19,200 cars instead of 13,000-15,000 and so he questioned are we ahead.
Mr. Bair said this is the argument of the truckers and it has some merit. He was concerned, like it or not, that this is the weight that is on our bridges and not just the individual tire damage. and he didnít think that was quite totally built in here yet.
Mr. Bair said the truckers will argue that if you raise the cost for them to haul their commodities, they will pass it on to consumers, and he would rather pay that cost rather than continuing to subsidize the truckers. He said neither the standard semi or the big rigs of Michigan, are paying what they should at this point and in the next proposal, we will try to get them to pay more. He said in the last County Road Association proposal, we proposed an increase in the State gas tax of 12 cents and an increase in the diesel tax of 20 cents, plus a 50% increase in truck registration fees, but it didnít go anywhere.
Councilman Crawford asked what help can a City do and can they send letters or pass a Resolution and Mr. Bair said yes and they could pass a Resolution and send it to their Legislature saying it is time to do something and this City needs additional revenue to take care of its roads and also do something to address the trucks.
Mayor McLallen asked if the bureaucratic set-up is part of the problem. She said Oakland County has three to four key communities that serve as regional attractions so that they actually end up with a lot more activity in our communities, but the expense of those activities are borne particularly on our roads and by our people. She asked if there was any restructuring of this whole process that could be more beneficial because they had talked about this and the language stays the same, so how can we move from that non-productive situation to something that is potentially productive.
Mr. Bair said if we were to eliminate our donor status and get 100% of our monies back, we would be a little bit better off, but we would still be in a state that ranks at the bottom of the nation in spending on roads and our roads would still show it.
Mr. Bair said if we totally reorganized and had one single regional government and eliminated all the City Councils and everything else, we would still be an entity in a state that ranks at the bottom of the nation in spending for roads.
Mr. Bair said Michigan in total, ranked 42nd in the nation in number of state and local employees per capita and the state has done pretty well in keeping down the size of government. He said road agencies are probably the most privatized public activities anywhere because all of our major construction is contracted out.
Mr. Bair said we have privatized and we have tried to keep down the size of government, so what is the answer and we canít do it any cheaper than to hire the lowest bidding contractor and we canít do as much work as the communities want.
Mayor McLallen said the question is will the communities and individual citizens support further funding.
Councilman Mitzel said in other states once there is a municipality, there is no longer County roads in there and it is either one or the other, county or municipality. Here we overlay and duplicate geographic areas. He said they have a fleet covering 900 square feet overlaying cities that are covered in the same areas, and couldnít there be efficiencies in that area. He said he has been told that it doesnít work because of the funding mechanism being different and the County gets more money than the City would. He said it seems a City could respond to clearing the roads much faster than the County could.
Mr. Bair said sometimes they work out arrangements with many of the communities where we will reimburse them for doing some of our roads when they can get to them first.
Councilman Mitzel asked if it had been explored to eliminate the County maintenance within municipalities or getting rid of all municipalities maintenance and putting everything back to the County.
Mr. Bair said in some counties in Michigan when a township becomes a City, the Road Commission just turns over all the roads to the City. Mr. Bair said in Oakland County we have kept the more strategic mile roads which handle through traffic so that we serve a functional purpose.
Councilwoman Mutch asked about the roads being more efficiently maintained. Mr. Bair said we are very willing to discuss all of that with Administration and we have made arrangements with some communities.
Councilwoman Mutch asked how do we get his attention for those areas that are really important to Novi, especially when we hear from their residents about why isnít something being done.
Mr. Bair said if it is a spot location problem, they can contact our Director and get a spot corrected but if they are talking a major construction project, such as widening a road, whether it is our road or your road, we both go to the same place to get the funding and that is a Task Force and unless that segment of the road generates sufficient points, neither of us are going to fix that road in terms of reconstruction.
Councilwoman Mutch said it was a real challenge to explain that to the residents.
Councilwoman Cassis said there seems to be an implied relationship here that you have hinted at but maybe not directly addressed and that is if we are a state that is spending so little for road improvements and other states have elevated road funding to a higher level of priority, maybe that is something to consider seriously in the future.
Mr. Bair agreed and questioned how do we change priorities. He said the priorities in Michigan for many years have been predominantly in the area of health, education and welfare, and for whatever reason, we have chosen not to spend on roads. He said he hears from a lot of people about the roads and from 1964 on, we have not spent what we should on the roads. He said roads deteriorate gradually and we adjust until we see other states and realize our system is terrible.
Mr. Bair said there are two ways to get the Legislature to start spending more money on roads, and one is to take money away from health, education and welfare and put it into the roads but that isnít very popular and two, to raise new revenues for roads, which is what he has proposed. He said it may just take a crisis for something to be done.
Mayor McLallen thanked Mr. Bair for his presentation.
PROPOSED ROAD BONDING PROGRAM
Mr. Kriewall indicated Council has received several communications from the Staff regarding the proposed Road Bonding Program Three for the City of Novi. He said we historically have been fortunate enough to pass a one mill continuing funding for road improvements. He indicated this one mill charter amendment was designed to recognize that there would have to be a general fund burden on road improvements over and above the monies we received from the state from gasoline taxes and Act 51 monies.
Mr. Kriewall said historically all communities in the State of Michigan have not been able to fund and keep up with the road improvements through the monies we received from tax revenue, from the gasoline tax, and we recognized a long time ago back in our early days of City-hood, that it was obvious that we needed to have a continuing revenue source year after year just to plow the snow and fix the holes and do some minor improvements.
Mr. Kriewall said a Citizens Committee back then worked hard to pass a one mill road improvement so that they have the continuing revenue source designed to aid us in our charge of maintaining and constructing roads in the community. It also became very obvious in the 1970's that that was still not enough and we needed to actually go to the community and bond for road improvements periodically just to keep up with the demands of the community.
Mr. Kriewall said the first mile road to be paved in this community was Meadowbrook Road between 9 and 10 Mile followed by the paving of 9 Mile Road from Novi Road east to the CSX Tracks. He said it was very clear back in the 70's that road bonding over and above the one mill road improvement, over and above the gas and weight taxes, was necessary to keep up with our community obligation for providing adequate transportation corridors for this community and for providing maintenance.
Mr. Kriewall said at one time, we had a policy of special assessing for mile road improvements and for special assessing 80% of the costs of subdivision improvements. He said back in the 70's there was a citizen movement that felt it was unfair to special assess for mile road improvements and subdivision improvements. He said a gentleman by the name of Don Young was successful in passing two charter amendments to prohibit the City from special assessing for mile road improvements and for special assessing the normal 80% cost of subdivision resurfacing.
Mr. Kriewall said that action was approved by the voters and it shifted a greater responsibility for funding to the community-at-large approach. He stated even the proponent of those charter amendments, Don Young, came forward and assisted us in communicating and passing the Road Bonding Two Program to this community because he knew based on his analysis of funding, that the one mill road improvement charter amendment, coupled with the inability to special assess for subdivision resurfacing and mile road improvements, was a burden that we could not absorb with our gasoline tax receipts and our continuing one mill road improvement.
Mr. Kriewall advised the expenditure of funds in the Road Bonding Program 2 has been completed and all the projects were completed except for the extension of Taft Road from West Road to Twelve Mile Road and part of the reason that project was not completed was because road improvements are the most inflationary public improvement that can be made. Mr. Kriewall reported sewer improvements and water main improvements tend not to escalate in the fashion that road improvements do. In addition, Mr. Kriewall said there is a lot of unforeseen costs in road improvements that would impact any road bonding program. Mr. Kriewall reported there was a major impact on the Decker Road widening and was one million dollars over the projected estimate because of poor soils which Novi has a lot of.
Mr. Kriewall said they did accomplish some very critical right of way assemblage for the proposed Taft Road extension and they were fortunate to purchase the 116 acre Donovan parcel near West Road and the treatment plant for a very attractive price. This acquisition provides for most of the right of way that has to be acquired for the Taft Road extension and was paid for by the prior bond issue, but the bottom line is that the funds have been expended. Mr. Kriewall said they have to keep pace with the continuing demands for transportation corridors in Novi and they must move forward with Road Bonding Program 3.
Mr. Kriewall advised that Mr. Nowicki, the Director of Public Services, has compiled a report to City Council which shows that Novi has a total project cost, including some federally funded segments of road, of $28,384,000. Mr. Kriewall explained most of the federal aid programs move slower through the development, engineering, right of way acquisition process and in discussions, they felt it was too much for the community to deal with at one point in time. Therefore, Mr. Kriewall explained they thought they should bifurcate the program and bring forward a first phase of the road program that would deal primarily with City projects. Mr. Kriewall further explained the federally funded projects which normally trail the City projects in terms of timing, would be dealt with as a separate bond issue within the next year or two.
Mr. Kriewall said what they propose to City Council is that they deal with the proposed road way program in the amount of $16,384, 000 in the manner in which it is broken down in the report to Council, and the projects are listed as follows: (1) Taft Road extension in which Council has authorized final design for the road improvement. Mr. Kriewall advised the project could possibly be built in 1997 if it was approved by voters in November. Mr. Kriewall reported this project is considered a major traffic corridor and a traffic relief roadway for South Lake Drive. In addition, they realize that Novi is sorely lacking in north- south corridors in the northern portion of the City. Mr. Kriewall said there is only Beck Road and Novi Road and Haggerty Road and M-5. Mr. Kriewall said they always felt the Taft Road extension was a high priority for northern Novi and needs to be completed.
Mr. Kriewall said (2) Resurfacing of West Road to be completed at the same time as the Taft Road extension because the contractors will be in the same area. This project needs to be recycled into the normal maintenance program. (3) Two thirds of the Crescent Drive Phase III project will be funded by federal funds and would connect the Expo Center roadway with Grand River Avenue in the northwest quadrant.
Mr. Kriewall said the southbound truck traffic on Novi Road has a difficult time in making the right hand turn movement onto Grand River because it is greater than a 90ļ turn making this a critical project. Mr. Kriewall explained because of the number of employees from Progressive Tool and the Novi Expo Center, Novi has been able to capture federal funds. However, Mr. Kriewall said they would not receive funding for the final third which is the bridge over the drain and would connect the two segments that they already have funding for. Mr. Kriewall added Crescent Drive is also often used by Novi residents to get from I-96 from Novi Road to their homes near the Meadowbrook and Ten Mile Road area.
Mr. Kriewall said the grand plan was to extend Crescent Boulevard in front of the Wyndham Hotel and then connect with Grand River Avenue. They have assembled all the right-of-way from Grand River Avenue to Eleven Mile Road through the prior road bonding program. He said in addition, a portion of the right-of-way north of the area is on City owned DPW property and the only piece left to acquire is a small piece between the Wyndham Hotel and the public works property.
Mr. Kriewall said (4) Meadowbrook Road between Twelve and Thirteen Mile Roads is currently receiving an inordinate amount of traffic. Mr. Kriewall reported they were called to a special meeting with Michigan State/Tollgate Farmsí board members and administrative staff because it has become a major traffic corridor. Therefore, he recommends the paving of Meadowbrook Road even though there are significant curves, and environmental concerns and safety concerns.
Mr. Kriewall said (5) Delmont/Dinser Drive was known as the old Wixom Road and is a gravel roadway which services a nearby subdivision. The City has received input from the residents who were wondering if there is enough money from the present bond issue to fund the paving of these roads. Mr. Kriewall told the residents they would monitor the situation, but as of today, there is no funding available. After a survey, Mr. Kriewall reported the residents were supportive of the paving. (6) Nine Mile Road could be improved to handle traffic in a more efficient manner. For example, Mr. Kriewall advised there is no center left hand turn lane at Nine Mile and Novi Road for north and southbound traffic and the intersection not only needs a center left hand turn lane but additional lanes also need to be added to move traffic more efficiently.
Mr. Kriewall advised there are two signalization projects. One is the signalization of Beck and Nine Mile Road and the second is Taft and Nine Mile Road. Mr. Kriewall explained traffic has significantly increased on Beck Road since it has been discovered and it is one of the major paved through roads from Michigan Avenue to I-96 and now from M-14 and I-96. It is a major traffic corridor and it is predicted that it will be the major north/south traffic corridor other than M-5 and Haggerty Road by some traffic studies. There has also been discussion about signalizing Eleven Mile and Beck Road in the future, which could possibly be funded from the 1 Mil Road Bonding Program.
Mr. Kriewall advised the charter amendments for pavement rehabilitation that were passed years ago by Don Young have prohibited the City from special assessing for resurfacing in any subdivision and the City needs to maintain its roads out of the Road Bonding Program or 1 Mil Road Program. Mr. Kriewall believed they have presented what needs to be done over the next three to four years in terms of road improvements, and if they wait, based on the Road Commission Directorís presentation, the cost may become more because road improvements are one of the most inflationary public improvements that a City can have.
Councilman Crawford asked if Meadowbrook Road could be paved and still keep its Natural Beauty Road status Mr. Kriewall felt even with curb and gutter installation, a good job could be done to maintain that status.
Councilman Crawford asked if they still anticipate increased traffic on Meadowbrook once the other north/south roads are improved (Novi Road, West Road extension, M-5, Decker Road, etc.)? Tony Nowicki, Director of Public Services replied a lot of the traffic is a direct result of M-5 and the nearby construction. Mr. Nowicki believed that in the future, traffic will continue to increase along that road because of the significant amount of development along Thirteen Mile Road and Meadowbrook which will continue to generate traffic. Mr. Nowicki reported the primary route would be Novi Road, but he thinks people would exit from M-5 and drive from Twelve Mile Road to Meadowbrook because it is a direct route for a lot of people.
Councilman Crawford asked if Mr. Nowicki believed Meadowbrook could keep its Natural Beauty status more so than the normal 28 foot guttered road. Mr. Nowicki asked if Councilman Crawford meant with respect to design standards and Councilman Crawford asked if Novi could have roads like the designated Natural Beauty Roads which are found in other cities that are paved and are still very scenic. Mr. Nowicki replied that the City ordinance allows them to pave a Natural Beauty Road. Mr. Nowicki added Nine Mile Road, Eleven Mile Road, and Wixom Road were paved under the last bond program and are fairly decent examples of paved roads that maintained their attractiveness.
Councilman Crawford asked if it should be mentioned in the bond proposal that Meadowbrook is intended to remain as a Natural Beauty Road so that it can be constructed accordingly? Mr. Nowicki said he was not certain how that could be worded on the bonding proposal, but believed it could be done.
Mr. Kriewall stated, historically, a bonding attorney would advise not to add any specific restrictions to the language and would suggest that Council pass a side resolution or commit publicly to preserving the road.
Councilman Clark asked if the city roads are included in the $16,384,000 bonding program and Mr. Kriewall replied yes. Councilman Clark asked if the proposed roadway bond program which encompasses federal aid will be set aside for the time being and Councilman Clark asked why Ten Mile Road is still on the list and Mr. Kriewall advised that Ten Mile Road is still included in the federal aid program, but it was clearly based upon Council action that any redesign or considerations which would be a part of the future bond program would be the modifications that Council had asked for.
Mr. Kriewall added they do not know what that is at this point and in fact, it could turn out that there would be no funding available based upon the new design and reminded Council that program is not before them at this time. Councilman Clark said he wanted that to be clear in light of the fact it is included in the packet and is a public document. He also wanted everyone to be clear about Councilís action in regard to Ten Mile Road.
Councilwoman Mutch said she knows the proposed five lane design for Ten Mile Road was unanimously rejected by Council at a meeting which she was not present for. However, she understood this was sent on with the suggestion that if money were available for a modified design, that the road would still be improved. Furthermore, Councilwoman Mutch believed the thought was there would still be federal money for what the City wanted to do, but there would not be funds for the five lane improvement.
Mr. Kriewall said that is their understanding and that is how they are proceeding. Councilwoman Mutch asked if they would then keep it on. Mr. Kriewall replied they would. Mr. Kriewall said it would be their goal to capture federal funding for a modified design that would not be the five lane design. Councilwoman Mutch said they may not agree, but that is one reason to keep it on.
Councilman Clark understood that, but he wanted it to be made clear in light of their lengthy meeting and Councilís action and the outpouring of public support.
Councilwoman Cassis added she felt it would be helpful to clearly delineate exactly what is going to be proposed for the road bonding. Mr. Kriewall replied the first bond issue for $16,384,000 in November has not changed. Councilwoman Cassis said she is not clear about what is included and therefore, she is not comfortable enough to vote on this issue.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if everyone is clear about what projects are being proposed. Mayor McLallen said they are only referring to the nine projects on the page which says "City Tonight."
Councilwoman Cassis said she constantly gets feedback about Novi Road and asked if Novi Road has been considered from the standpoint of a major project from Eight Mile Road to Ten Mile Road that could be incorporated into this bond issue for overall relief.
Mr. Kriewall replied that they believe that particular road segment would be eligible for federal funding. Mr. Kriewall said they have held Administrative discussions over the past couple of months and will probably introduce it either through the Road Commission or in a separate initiative as a city project to start qualifying that roadway for federal funding. Mr. Kriewall said they will first have to compete for funding at a county level and if they can start to qualify Novi Road from Eight Mile Road to Ten Mile Road or at least from Nine to Ten Mile Road, they can start tracking the project through the federal funding stage right now.
Mr. Kriewall said it is Administrationís goal to maximize the local taxpayerís dollars and the City should try to capture federal funding for as many projects as they can. Mr. Kriewall said they believe Novi Road between Eight and Ten Mile Roads could qualify. However, in the whole scheme of things, Novi Road between Ten Mile and Grand River was a higher priority. Mr. Kriewall explained they take the most obvious roads that would qualify in order to garner federal funding and then add the other ones on. Mr. Kriewall said they can begin immediate action on the widening of Novi Road between Eight and Ten Mile Road that would hopefully qualify it for federal funding in the next three to five years.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if they would then earmark funding for the local match. Mr. Kriewall replied they would, but it would be in the second bond issue which would trail and it may be in a year or two down the road. Mr. Kriewall said Council has a listing before them which shows the federal aid projects for twelve million dollars. Mr. Kriewall said the list includes Ten Mile Road, Twelve Mile Road, the Novi Grade Separation, and the Beck/I-96 Intersection Local Share. Mr. Kriewall advised they would just add the Novi Road widening project from Eight to Ten Mile Road on that particular list and would include it when they vote on the second bond issue in a year or two.
Councilwoman Cassis felt what they are saying to Novi taxpayers is there are so many roads which need improvement, that the Administration is proposing a particular road bond for now and two years from now there will be another one. Councilwoman Cassis said these are important needs, but she is also concerned about taxpayers and their ability to continue to fund. Councilwoman Cassis questioned if they are prioritizing appropriately because she thinks they should highlight the most critical roads in Novi in case they can no longer ask people to dig deeper into their pockets.
Mr. Kriewall said Administration could prioritize the roads or Council could be a part of that process, but right now they are just saying these are the projects Council should consider by November. Mr. Kriewall added beyond that, they could prioritize or bring additional roadway projects onto the radar screen.
Mr. Kriewall said he believed what he has outlined for them needs to be voted on and moved along. We evaluated all of these projects and nothing there will qualify for federal funding, in other words, they wouldnít fund a new road route such as the Taft Road Extension. He said for Crescent Phase Three, we have received two road grants already and have been lucky with that project.
Mr. Kriewall said for Meadowbrook Road, there may be a possibility for some funding there but he doubted it but they could put it in the hopper and try to qualify that for federal funding because it is an existing roadway.
Mr. Kriewall said Delmont Drive and Dinser Drive will not qualify for funding and Novi and Nine Mile Road is an intersection improvement and that might qualify for some funding eventually, but we could see if we canít qualify that for funding. He said signalization would not qualify nor would pavement rehabilitation.
Mr. Kriewall said all he is saying is that 80-90% of what we are looking at is really a City responsibility and there is little hope for federal funding on most of these projects. He said Federal funding would run to projects of the magnitude of Novi Road between Ten Mile and Grand River and the Ten Mile improvements between Novi Road and Haggerty Road, and Twelve Mile Road will qualify through the length of Twelve Mile all the way from Haggerty Road to Beck Road and we will get federal funding in stages for that entire extension of roadway so that is really how it breaks down.
Councilwoman Cassis said she had considerable interest in Grand River and it seems to have a greater importance, not only because of the City of Novi and its major business corridor function, but the fact that it will require secondary improvements for the interchange at Wixom and Beck Road and nowhere does she see that as indicated in either Road Bond Programs. She asked Mr. Kriewall if it would be eligible for federal aid. Mr. Kriewall replied we could get in line, but as their traffic consultant has indicated, this roadway is actually carrying less traffic than Ten Mile Road, so he didnít know if it would qualify. He felt they could make an attempt either through the Road Commission or through their own initiative.
Mr. Kriewall said that would fall into the second category also of Federal Projects. He said in other words, we could certainly add the improvements to Novi Road from Eight to Ten Mile Road to the Federal Aid List and also the Grand River Corridor improvements and it might shed some light on what we intend to do with the ultimate improvements to Grand River, but we just commissioned that particular study and after that study is completed, you might look at programming Grand River for federal aid and improvements. He felt they were on the right track and they could put both those projects on their list of Proposed Projects for Federal Aid.
Councilwoman Cassis said she saw that as a truth in advertising with the citizens of the community so they have a sense of the Big Picture. She felt that would enhance the overall ability to increase not only public awareness but public support of where we are headed.
Councilwoman Cassis said if there are projects that are not really essential, perhaps they could be relooked in terms of being quite honest as to what we go to the taxpayers for. She questioned some projects such as Delmont/Dinser, the Meadowbrook paving and the Crescent Blvd Extension. She felt if they were prioritizing, we can say to the citizens these are the projects we are not going to include because they have raised the price tag, when in two more years, we will be back with more heavy duty projects.
Councilman Mitzel asked about Meadowbrook Road and he was curious that the funding listed here includes the amount that we recently agreed upon with the Vistas, and that they were going to pave the first 1,000 or 1,500 feet south of Thirteen Mile Road. Mr. Nowicki replied it does take that into consideration, but he cautioned that the dollars we have here are a very rough estimate.
Mr. Nowicki said what we are looking for that night was if Council wants to proceed further, then we would really have to narrow down and nail down some of these cost estimates. He added it does include stopping short of that 700 feet south of Thirteen Mile.
Councilman Mitzel questioned if these projects include the safety paths like we just included in the Thirteen Mile Road project that was approved that night and Mr. Nowicki replied no, they are just the basic paving.
Councilman Mitzel asked if there was any consideration given to including some street lighting and safety type improvements in addition to the signalization, in other words, actually having the street lights at main intersections and making sure all subdivision entrances have them.
Mr. Nowicki replied this package only covers roadway improvement projects and if Council would like additional amenities put into the project, he could come back and give them some additional cost amounts. He felt for approximately a mile of bikepaths/sidewalks, the cost would be about $110,000 for a typical good project. He said right now, he didnít have any idea as to the cost of street lights for a particular intersection but if desired, he could put that in an overall road program. Councilman Mitzel said he has heard concerns and felt this would be a logical step to take.
Councilman Mitzel said Councilman Crawford had mentioned a natural beauty road on Meadowbrook, and this Council considered that and also Nine Mile Road and it was voted down about a year or so ago and the only place it is mentioned is in the Master Plan but they were not officially designated by the Council as such.
Councilman Mitzel was glad the issues about priority and a cost benefit was brought up. He felt some of the projects will have great community benefit for the cost we are going to put in and others he questioned whether they would truly benefit the community as a whole. He agreed with two that Councilwoman Cassis named, the Dinser/Delmont Drive and also the Crescent Blvd Extension and those total five million dollars of estimated cost, and the five million dollars may be better spent possibly for railroad grade separations which are estimated at 2 1/2 million dollars each.
Councilman Mitzel said for the same amount of money, we could have Ten Mile and Novi Road grade separated, or possibly some other project in the community is more important that may not be on this list or perhaps we should consider lowering that amount as Councilwoman Cassis stated in light of the fact in a year or two, that will be coming for matching revenue for federal projects.
Councilman Mitzel felt Crescent Blvd could possibly be done with a Special Assessment District like Main Street is being done. He said another he has never seen mentioned is a Taft Road Extension over the expressway and he knows it has been dropped from the Master Plan but it would prevent everyone who lives west of Novi Road and everyone that lives at the north end from driving through the Mall area to get to the west central part of Novi. He felt they should look at that.
Councilman Mitzel felt they could go ahead and get some documentation together and some better costs and language for these projects, but he would still have concern about supporting it as presented in light of the comments he made.
Councilwoman Mutch said she wasnít sure this would be the best way to go but perhaps some of those things that we think of as being improvements that are more in the line of amenities such as the street lighting and the safety paths, are something that can be on the ballot as a second issue.
Councilwoman Mutch felt they have to be careful when they look at things like Dinser and Delmont and if there is need to do it at all, and then we have to address it at some point and the longer we put it off the more expensive it will be. She felt they have to be careful of those proposed road improvements that serve very small areas of the community, because otherwise those are areas that are going to be perpetually overlooked and we will end up with people being very upset and angry that they are always at the bottom of the list or not even making the list.
Councilwoman Mutch said we need to look at all of these roads in a way that looks at the whole system, much like the representative of the Road Commission who described the Countyís approach to looking at the County Road Program. You have to look at your whole transportation system and determine priorities as to what makes the most sense. She agreed with Councilman Mitzelís mention of what provides the most benefit to the community at large.
Councilwoman Mutch said this particular packaging of proposed road improvements deals with City responsibilities and these are the roads that the City has responsibility for and it is going to come out of City tax dollars. She said she understood what Mr. Kriewall is saying, that while there are a couple of these such as the Novi/Nine Mile Intersection that could possibly be eligible for some outside funding, chances are not very good because we are thrown into that big hopper with everyone else.
Councilwoman Mutch said if we take Novi Road for example, as much as we might want to see the full length of Novi Road improved, that is a road that is not a City road and as such, does qualify for outside funding. She said if we were to say this is the most important road project and it should take precedence over all others, we would also have to say we are willing to spend City tax dollars to do it and to put it ahead of all other projects.
Councilwoman Mutch said they should be very clear and not mislead the taxpayers in thinking Novi Road is something that we could be doing but we are setting aside and waiting for some outside decision, when we are waiting for outside dollars. She felt we have to be clear that the proposal we are looking at is addressing City responsibilities for City roads and those that are not addressed here are equally worthy and should have high priority in the overall scheme of things, and has to be considered in a different way.
Councilman Clark agreed that there hasnít been any mad rush into City Hall demanding that Dinser and Delmont be worked on. He said Meadowbrook Road has been presented time and time again as a natural beauty road and would be maintained as such. He felt the Crescent Extension should be looked at in terms of a SAD. He said if you took those three out, you are talking about 6.834 million dollars which brings the proposed bonding cost down to about 9.550 million dollars, which is substantially less and easier to sell to the taxpayers.
Councilman Clark said when talking about the improvements on Novi Road from 10 Mile to Grand River, eventually if you go back and took it from Eight to Ten Mile, you have residential and if you widen the road, you will have to move those utilities and those poles have been there for years and are ugly and have been a traffic hazard. He felt they should bury those lines along the major road especially if the road is going to be improved and widened anyway.
Councilman Clark asked if there has been any discussion with Detroit Edison about burying the utilities and getting rid of the poles and if not, it should be initiated.
Mr. Kriewall responded that they have already had that discussion with Detroit Edison with regard to Novi Road between Ten Mile and Grand River and they have politely told us if we want to bury those cables, we can pay for them, and he thought they had quoted a million dollars for that stretch.
Mr. Kriewall said we can bring them in here and ask them to talk to us again or we can add that into the cost, but either way we have had discussions with Detroit Edison, but would be glad to have that discussion with them again. Mayor McLallen said that would be a pertinent discussion to have and unfortunately it is not involved in the City Road Bond because it is on a road that is not being discussed that night so we can hold that thought and begin the discussion to bring them in but it was not in the group of roads that we are currently discussing.
Councilman Schmid said regarding Meadowbrook Road, he has always felt it was a beauty road, notwithstanding some of the decisions that have been made for rezoning in that area such as Maples and Vistas. He felt that road is going to be one of the more heavily traveled roads than it is now. He felt they need to give serious consideration to that road as it is a very busy north-south road.
Councilwoman Mutch also commented on Meadowbrook Road and when this came before the Council, as Councilman Mitzel referred to earlier, she happened to be in the audience that night and heard a lot of the comments that were made to the Council directly and all the people that were property owners along Nine Mile Road were most outspoken in their opposition to having Nine Mile specifically designated a natural beauty road because of a difference of interpretation and what that would mean for them.
Councilwoman Mutch said the people who had property on Meadowbrook Road said that they were very much interested in having that designation and what they were not interested in, was seeing it paved because they felt by not paving it, they would keep the traffic down. She said everyone has seen that the traffic volumes are so high that it truly is a safety problem for those who do not travel Meadowbrook Road and the roadís surface is right at the tree line. She felt if they did curbing there, some of those trees would have to come down just for safety. She felt that could be maintained as a very attractive stretch of roadway though. She said Nine Mile Road and Wixom Road would be other beauty roads.
Mr. Kriewall said being that we are segmenting the Road Program, we will probably be able to vote on it a year from now or two years from now as other projects materialize and based on the discussion that evening, the three roads that have been identified by Councilwoman Cassis for potential elimination, could be brought up a year from now and he would point that out.
Mr. Kriewall indicated that Councilman Schmid is correct in that Meadowbrook Road between Twelve and Thirteen Mile has horrendous traffic at this point in time. He remarked he was at a meeting with the Tollgate people in their conference room and the traffic was just thundering down the gravel road throwing up stones and dust. He felt if Council was thinking of eliminating anything, the Crescent Extension and Delmont and Dinser Drive, would be the two on the list. He did feel that Meadowbrook Road needs to be discussed further and the other projects have to be done and moved along.
CM-06-07-262: Moved by Mitzel, Seconded by Cassis, To ask Administration to prepare the needed documents and more details necessary to bring this Road Bond Proposal forward, with elimination of the Delmont/Dinser improvements and the Crescent Extension, consideration of alternative uses of those funds or elimination of those funds from the ballot proposal, and also to bring forward alternative methods of how to deal with other safety improvements related to those road improvements, such as the street lighting and the non-motorized pathways.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Councilman Mitzel said he made the motion especially for information about the non-motorized pathways because when you pave a lot of these roads, especially with curb and gutter, you basically trap the pedestrians between the traffic and the curb and if you have a shoulder road, at least you have a place to go if a car comes too close. He felt a lot of these roads are probably going to end up being curb and gutter and we need to consider providing a safe method for the children of the community to get around in these areas too.
Councilman Mitzel said he would concur with Councilman Schmid about Meadowbrook Road and he felt it would be paved. He felt it was important to leave that in this proposal. He said those are some of the reasons why he formatted the motion the way he did and of course we will have the chance to debate this and discuss it when more of the detailed cost estimates come forward. He would also hope it would include an estimate of the proposed millage amount to retire the debt. He said we have been just talking about an overall cost and not a millage.
Councilman Clark supported the motion, but was concerned about paving and preserving Meadowbrook Road to look like Nine Mile Road.
Councilwoman Mutch said on the west side of the road at one point it is behind and fully screened, because it is behind existing vegetation closer to Ten Mile than to Nine Mile. She felt it is very possible that we would find the cooperation of the Michigan State University people to do something on the west side of Meadowbrook Road because they encourage alternative forms of transportation and the preservation of the appearance of the road.
Councilman Clark pointed out that he was familiar with that area and that goes behind the bushes and shrubs with the homes that back up to it and when everyone is watering their lawns, we perennially have a mud-slide on that and if you try to use it as a walkway, which he does, we either have to go up on someoneís lawn or wade through the mud.
Councilwoman Cassis said she would encourage the Administration also to add on, as Mr. Kriewall mentioned, to the next phase of the City Federal Aid Road Bond Programming Novi Road, Eight to Ten Mile and to consider also Grand River.
Councilman Schmid said he would also support the motion however he felt there has to be a lot of discussion yet about bikepaths. He said there is probably a good reason for it, but he canít imagine why they would need an 8 foot bicycle path and it seems to him 5, 4 or 3 foot would be more than adequate and would cut the cost dramatically. Additionally, he felt at some point in time, we have to make a determination in this City as to what kind of transportation modes we are going to have and exactly how many bikepaths and sidewalks so we can get a plan and start acting. He felt they have to get realistic as to what kind of bikepaths we are going to have and what they will be made of and he is opposed to blacktop.
Councilman Schmid asked that Administration bring back alternatives to an 8 foot concrete path,
Mayor McLallen reminded the Council that the whole issue of bikepaths and City policy on bikepaths will be a discussion item at their next meeting and will be held in time to have language put onto the ballots.
Mayor McLallen restated the motion:
To direct Administration to move forward with the City Road proposal using the roads presented that night with the exception of Delmont and Dinser and the Crescent Extension, to investigate a re-allocation or elimination of the funds that would have been dedicated to those properties, and further, to consider funding and design issues related to safety paths and the natural beauty aspect. Councilman Mitzel added also the safety lighting and to look at alternatives to do all of those.
VOTE ON CM-96-07-262: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Mayor McLallen then stated since there is now a full Council present, they could amend the Agenda. She said there had been two items to be added and a request for Audience Participation.
CM-96-07-263: Moved by Clark, Seconded by Mutch, MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To amend the Agenda to include an immediate Audience Participation and to also add the two items for Council Action: Approval To Reject the Bid for Sidewalks on Grand River and Permission To Rebid the Project, and To Hold An Executive Session to immediately follow the meeting.
Harry Avagian of LARA indicated at their June 25th meeting, the Road Bond Proposal was received and the members asked him to communicate with the Council by way of a fax which he sent to City Hall on June 27th which revealed the Associationís position on the Road Bond Proposal.
Mr. Avagian said he worked hard about 5-6 years ago, to bring about the first Road Bond
which included Taft Road and their LARA president at that time came to Council and asked for a Resolution relative to some sort of guarantee whereby the residents would get what the Road Bond was advertising. He said unfortunately today, we donít have a Taft Road. He said he didnít think there was any other issue in the four years and 3 months that he has been LARA President, that brings more phone calls to his residence than from people on South Lake and on West Road who have concerns about the high volume of traffic, which continues to increase.
Mr. Avagian said in order for their people to support this Road Bond Proposal, it has to most certainly bring about some kind of relief for people who use and who live on South Lake Road and if that means the Taft Road Extension, so be it.
Gary Zach said South Lake Drive is getting much much worse. He presented some photographs that showed what happens in the morning when there is a rush. He said their biggest problem is the volume of traffic on that road. He said what really worries them is to see the apartments going in on Pontiac Trail which there must be hundreds of units. He felt they have to have something like Taft Road as an alternative and we also need Beck Road and the Interchange with an eastbound entrance to make the whole thing work. He felt they were in trouble now and if something isnít done, it will be even worse.
Mr. Zach said there was quite a bit of discussion about bikepaths that evening and the desire to put a bikepath on South Lake Drive. He felt a bikepath would be nice but he had a concern about it on South Lake Drive. He said for South Lake Drive, they want to widen the road by five feet and put in an additional shoulder after that, and to him that will make that road visually seem larger, which means the cars will travel even faster and there will be more passing on the road, which we already have a lot of. He felt if they have a path, they need a buffer. It also means that cars arenít likely to drive on bikepaths and if it is nothing but a glorified shoulder, he felt it could be very dangerous especially with the type of traffic we currently have on South Lake Drive. He added he was glad to hear that there hasnít been any discussion about robbing Taft Road and he would also like to see the Beck Road Interchange be pushed as he felt it was a key part.
Sarah Gray of 133 Maudlin said she was concerned about all these road bond issues coming back and coming back and personally she did not want to see anything done with Meadowbrook, because once the M-5 goes through up to Fourteen Mile and beyond, that is going to go back somewhat to the road it is today or maybe the road it was ten years ago. She said the only reason the traffic is using that road is because they are tired of fighting Novi Road and tired of fighting Decker and they donít want to deal with Thirteen Mile and Haggerty so they use that to get down to the new interchange to get on the expressway. She felt they should take that into consideration.
Ms. Gray said she wouldnít do anything with Meadowbrook Road until such time as the Haggerty Connector, M-5 gets done and opened at least north of Thirteen Mile and she felt a lot of that traffic is going to divert so they shouldnít forget that.
Ms. Gray said if you are going to pave it, then pave it and take the right-of-way that we have and if that means taking down some trees, then they will have to take them down and replant more. She felt part of the problem with that road the way it is today is that we are not utilizing the full right-of-way that we have and it is a wonderful road and a lot of people use it, but maybe those people should find another way to go.
Ms. Gray said her problem with the Taft Road Extension is if you are really going to help South Lake, then how come you are not going up to Pontiac Trail. She said it has been brought up over and over again and there is something seriously wrong with a City that plans in hindsight. She said she has argued since becoming politically active in this City well over ten years ago, how come we are putting all the apartment units up on Pontiac Trail when you know they are not going to go west to Wixom and they are not going to go around the lake and they are going to come down and use South Lake. She said the City is planning in hindsight.
Ms. Crawford spoke to Taft Road and said she would speak to it at each Council meeting until Election time because she still felt it was not the appropriate place to put Taft Road and it is less than a mile from Beck Road cut through a field. She said it might alleviate some problems for South Lake which she believed had 43 houses along that side of the lake, but to ask the citizens of Novi to pay almost 5 million dollars to put a road through a field that was the 23rd choice, was not a good choice. She said the good choice was to spend more money and bring it from the freeway as Councilman Mitzel said a few minutes ago and that would have been appropriate. She said it would have gotten the traffic out of Novi to the appropriate spot and it would have benefited the apartments in Novi and particularly Wixom and on into Commerce Township but it would not benefit about 90% of Novi. She felt it was fiscally foolish to ask the citizens to pay for a road that helps people in another community and not ours. She said this is not wise money spent on Taft Road where you have put it now and it could have been at a very appropriate spot, but the wrong place was chosen.
Martha Ferrier of 425 South Lake indicated we desperately need relief on South Lake Drive. She said this weekend she had a family picnic at her house and the first thing people said to her was how does she put up with the traffic. She would invite every one of them to come to a picnic at her house on a weekend just to visualize what happens on the weekend with the traffic that goes through there. She said Mr. Zack has a video and we also did some taping at West Road and South Lake just to see how much traffic turns at that corner and roughly 85% to 90% of the traffic is coming down West Road and turning onto South Lake Drive.
Ms. Ferrier also commented with the Bond Program, she would very much like to see Meadowbrook Road stay the way it is to try and retain some scenic routes within our City so that we have some appeal as we develop the City.
Mayor McLallen closed the Audience Participation.
APPROVAL TO REJECT THE BID FOR SIDEWALKS ON GRAND RIVER AND PERMISSION TO REBID THE PROJECT
Mayor McLallen explained it was requested through Mr. Nowicki and the City Administration to ask Councilís approval to reject the sole bid of Edward R. Wright Contractor on Grand River Avenue Sidewalk Improvements and to seek authorization to rebid the project. She explained the reason is that the bid is not adequate.
CM-96-07-264: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Clark, MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To reject the bid of Edward R. Wright Contractor on the Grand River Avenue Sidewalk Improvements and to seek authorization to rebid the project.
TO HOLD AN EXECUTIVE SESSION IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE MEETING
CM-96-07-265: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To hold an Executive Session to immediately follow this meeting for the discussion of property acquisition.
Councilwoman Cassis respectfully requested that the video that was provided here tonight, should be looked at during their next regularly scheduled meeting.
Councilwoman Mutch said she wasnít here when the Council adopted the policy, but she felt the policy was put in place so that Council has a chance to review the video reports presented since it goes out on Cable so while she agreed with the idea that the public should be able to see it, perhaps Mr. Zach could make the video available to us for review and if we feel it is appropriate to have that as part of the Council meeting.
Councilwoman Cassis said she was wondering if Mr. Kriewall has seen the video and Mr. Kriewall indicated it was previewed by staff and it was just of the traffic and it was all right. Councilman Cassis said she had no problem then with Council going forward with it.
Mayor McLallen said in the summer every year when everyone is out on the lake, the traffic issues become much more intense just because people are physically out trying to get around the lake area. She said the community did wonderful signage of their own out there and tried a lot of creative things but she asked would there be anything further that could be done based on the fact that it is apparently worsening.
Mr. Kriewall said we can review their notes but as he recalled, we had several staff meetings with the residents, and he felt they had just about exhausted everything, but they would review their notes again.
There being no further business before the City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 PM.
Mayor Deputy City Clerk
Date approved: September 9, 1996
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian