By Rosemary K. Otzman
The end of South Liberty Street by the tracks was vacated by the Belleville City Council by a unanimous vote during Monday’s regular meeting, making way for construction of a strip mall by Davenport Brothers.
During a two-minute public hearing before the decision, Steve Davenport said his company bought the Amerman Lumber Yard [and residence] property a few years back and to develop the property they need to tie the two parcels together through the street.
He said the strip mall they want to build will be constructed right across the present roadway.
Mary Jane Dawson said she lives across the street from “what I call the Davenport property” and she and her husband support the project.
Mike Renaud, a member of the planning commission, asked if there were costs to the city in vacating the roadway and Mayor Kerreen Conley said there were no costs.
“Is the city getting anything in return, other than the development?” Renaud asked and Mayor Conley said the city was getting the development.
Councilman Tom Smith made the motion seconded by Mayor Pro-Tem Jack Loria to vacate the portion of the public street between East Columbia Avenue and the rear lot lines of Lots 10 and 11 of Assessor’s Belleville Plat No. 2 subdivision (near the railroad tracks) and to file the resolution with the Wayne County Register of Deeds and State of Michigan Director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:
• Set a public hearing for 7:30 p.m., June 3 to consider the 2013-14 balanced general fund budget of $2,099,285, plus other city fund budgets. The council spent three hours on May 13 talking about the budget and making adjustments. Now, it’s ready for public comment and adoption. Raises in rates for water, sewer, and rubbish are under consideration;
• Opened four bids for sanitary sewer cleaning and closed circuit television investigation of all the city sanitary sewers except those in Harbour Pointe and Victoria Commons subdivisions and under Main Street. The bids were turned over to the city administration and engineers for a recommendation to come back to the council June 3. Bids were: Terra, $231,949.25; EQ, $151,786.15; Lake County Sewer Co., $190,211.55; and Metro Environmental Services, $104,183.75;
• Opened five bids for the sidewalk gap program. Because the project is time-sensitive, the council turned over the bids to the administration and engineer and directed them to select the lowest qualified bidder and proceed with the project. Bids were: A. Land Construction, $58,559.50; Audia Construction (Milford), $68,850.20; Blue Ribbon (Romulus), $45,255; Davenport (Belleville), $59,440.50; and Hartwell Cement Co. (Oak Park), $64,451. City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said, if applicable, the local bidder incentive will be applied. The project, due to run June 10-30, will be to extend the existing sidewalk on the east side of Edgemont Street from Edgemont Elementary School south towards Robbe Ave. and continuing west along Robbe, including installation of ADA-compliant sidewalk crossings. Mayor Pro Tem Loria was concerned that this project might be impacted by the upcoming demolition of the Edgemont ECDC building;
• Approved accounts payable of $79,402.66 including the following departmental purchases in excess of $500: Crawford Door Sales, $562.50, two repairs – municipal building and DPW, Police Dept.; GMS Seal Coating, restriping of parking lots, $2,700, DDA; PK Contracting, street striping including three left-turns, $1,671, DDA; McCiog, road repairs, $616, Local Street funds; Oakland County Treasurer, CLEMIS, $2,046.75, Police Dept.; Osborn, road repairs, $1,407, Local Street funds; and SLC, software/maintenance, $3,250, Water Dept.;
• As part of the accounts payable approval, an extra $45 was included for a left-turn arrow to be added to the straight arrow in place on N. Liberty Street at Main St., so drivers can get in that lane to drive straight onto Denton Road or turn left onto Main, freeing up the right lane for right turns onto the Bridge. A sign explaining the lanes (from another fund) will be placed at the curb, adding that no parking is allowed in the right lane at that point. DPW Director Keith Boc said the “traffic engineer” recommends that, so it should be done, referring to Police Chief Gene Taylor, who asked the council to consider the turn arrow;
• Heard Councilwoman Kim Tindall note that Saturday’s activities in the city brought into sharp focus the problem of having several things going on in the city at once. She said the poorly attended Coast Guard life vest event was at the same time as the BYC/City cleanup, which had an army of volunteers, and this was all on the same day as the cemetery flag placement; and
• Went into closed-door session to discuss information from the city attorney on the Downriver Sewer issue, which is considered “material exempt from discussion or disclosure” under the Open Meetings Act.”
By Rosemary K. Otzman