2009-09-13 / Front Page

Right-of-way woes prompts village to pass Martin Road resolution despite opposition

By Hillary Grigonis Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES – Allowing Saginaw County to abandon a section of Martin Road wasn’t considered a feasible option for the St. Charles Village Council Wednesday, as the group unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the road in order to continue right-of-way access to the water transmission main.

A Martin Road property owner questioned the council’s decision to adopt 913 feet of the road, a section beginning at the entrance to the Industrial Park and continuing north to the village limits. Dennis Wood, owner of the building housing Pinnacle Tool who would have a share in the property if the road was legally abandoned, expressed concern that the village hadn’t yet made plans for the road.

Wood asked, if the Village were to leave the road in its current inaccessible condition, why not just turn the property over to private property owners?

Village Manager Hal Mead explained that if the road became private property, the area would no longer be considered a right-of-way and the Village could not legally maintain the water main. The right-of-way houses the transmission main which pumps water from Saginaw, the village’s only water source. The area also includes phone, electrical and gas lines, including the gas lines that also feed Chesaning.

“It’s the umbilical cord to the village,” said President Pro Tem Doug Holem. “We have to have that property, I don’t see how that is going to change.”

Wood requested that the resolution be tabled for two months, allowing him to have time to find legal counsel.

Village President Ray Cornford explained that the village’s resolution was only a step in the process. Saginaw County had already resolved to transfer the road’s ownership to the village, but the two resolutions have to be sent to the state level before the ownership is final.

While the village is unsure if the entire stretch of road will be repaved, Mead said the road will be fixed to become accessible. The section of road currently sits about two feet higher than Entrepreneur Drive, blocking off access to the north.

Mead said he plans to hold off before sending the resolutions to the state level to allow Wood more time. He aims to have possession of the road before ‘paving season’ ends.

Martin Road originally came into the village’s discussion when an Industrial Park business owner suggested the road be used as a secondary entrance and exit, expressing concern over funeral processions blocking the current entrance once a new funeral home opens in the park.

At the time, Mead did not recommend taking the road over, because of its condition and cost to repair. However, when Mead discovered that the county was considering abandoning the road, he recommended that the village adopt the road to continue right-of-way access.

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