Gaines Township temporarily halts private road construction
Gaines Township officials have put a halt to the construction of any new private roads and driveways for the next several months while the township develops a set of standards addressing such roads.
The township board on Jan. 13 passed a moratorium on the issuance of permits, licenses and approvals for the creation of private roads and driveways in the township until May 1.
“This has been under discussion for years,” Gaines Supervisor Robert DeWard said. “I figured it was time to pull the trigger. It's a health and safety issue.”
Of greatest concern to township officials is making sure the trucks of local fire departments have enough space to adequately navigate private roads in order to fight fires. DeWard cited two recent instances where a lack of adequate space for fire crews to maneuver their trucks affected their ability to fight fires, resulting in loss to the structures.
Township planning staff has been working with area fire departments and planning consultants in creating a set of consistent standards governing the construction of private roads and driveways going forward.
“Our main issue is making sure the roads that we have can support the weight of our apparatus, and that we can enter (those roads) without damaging the apparatus,” said Paul Sheely, chief of the Dutton Fire Department, one of the two departments that serve the township. Cutlerville is the other department.
“We're trying to do what is in the best interest of the public,” Sheely added.
Dutton fire inspector Dave VanPutten has also been part of the discussions on the new road standards, Sheely said.
It's expected the new standards could be presented to the township board by April, DeWard said.
In other action at the Jan. 13 meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Angela Burnside, who had served as township clerk since December 2017, when she was appointed to the position after the resignation of longtime clerk Crystal Osterink. The board appointed Mike Brew, who has been a member of the township Zoning Board of Appeals, to take Burnside's place for the 32-hour-a-week position.