By Diane Madigan
Independent Special Writer
At the Sept. 24 meeting of the Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority, Executive Director Susan Ireland reported on progress on the fence replacement project along Belleville Road next to Belle Harbor subdivision.
Earlier that day, at a meeting with Wayne County Department of Public Works, Ireland learned it should take about two weeks to get the required right-of-way encroachment permit.
Also, Wade-Trim needs to submit the standard MDOT day-closure plans for Belleville Road, which will be necessary for the tree and fence removal.
VBT DDA also must submit a hold-harmless agreement that indemnifies the county of any liability relating to the fence. The township DDA also is liable for any maintenance or removal costs for the new fence.
The project is expected to cost the DDA some $80,000 and be completed this year. It will remove the blighted existing chain link fence along the east side of Belleville Road, beginning one lot north of Sunrise Lane, extending south to the west of Harmony Lane (Belle Harbor Estates) and replacing the existing fence with a natural grain, six-foot, wood-simulated colored vinyl fence.
Some of the neighbors have contacted Ireland with various complaints about the project.
Ireland said she has explained that the current fence is not on private property, but on county right of way.
Ireland said she spoke with Karen Mida, the president of the Belle Harbor association, and Ireland plans to attend the Oct. 3 association meeting.
Ireland said Belle Harbor would like to preserve the brick pillars with lights at the entrance to their subdivision. Ireland invited any other interested members of the DDA to attend the meeting with her.
Gere Dolph, chairman of the DDA, said residents of Belle Harbor want residents of Belle Harbor and Lake Crest Estates next door to join together to strengthen their position.
“If the county says go ahead and do it, then it’s our duty to improve the township as a whole,” Dolph said of the DDA project.
Dolph is a resident of Lake Crest Estates and said there is no association. It ended in 1999.
A wide-ranging conversation ensued.
DDA member Mark Laginess argued that yes, there is an association and exists in the deed restrictions that dues had to be paid for the time residents were there.
Laginess added that there is a piece of property in that subdivision that doesn’t have any frontage to build on, but is owned by the association and is on the lake.
According to the township tax website, they are paying taxes on the plot under the name Lake Crest Civic Assn.
Ecorse/Belleville Road Landscaping
Also discussed with the county at the Sept. 24 meeting was the landscaping at Ecorse and Belleville roads, Ireland said.
After discussing three options for dealing with easements and rights of way on the landscaping project, the DDA agreed to petition Wayne County to have the right of way surrounding a brick VBT entrance wall deemed as excess land.
If the County determines this 30×40’ area to be excess right of way, the land can be sold to the DDA, typically for $1. The DDA would then have ownership of the entry feature and be able to keep the feature in close proximity to the intersection.
Belleville Road Sidewalks
Ireland announced there has been a closing for the right of way at 8559 Belleville Road. Ireland said she is waiting for documents on two vacant parcels at Tyler Road to be returned from the property owner.
The DDA approved the sidewalk proposal from Wade Trim to complete design, permit, specifications, contract documents, advertising, bid opening and bid recommendation in an amount not to exceed $4,000.
Joint meeting with Belleville DDA
Ireland said Belleville’s DDA has asked to have a joint meeting with VBT DDA. Belleville suggested its meeting night on the third Wednesday, Oct. 16. The purpose is to share ideas. That date was not do-able for many VBT DDA members. DDA member Jim Richter asked that Ireland try to schedule the joint meeting during the VBT DDA’s next regular meeting on Oct. 29.
• Audience member Cathy Howard asked for reference documents for all items spoken about at the meeting. Ireland gave all locations for the topics mentioned.
• The Independent asked if there will be a pedestrian-crossing signal on the South I-94 Service Drive. It was reported there are people running across Belleville Road from the hotels heading to Dimitri’s. Ireland said she will get back with her.
• DDA member Laginess asked if part of the signalization project would be curb repair on Belleville Road south of the Service Drive. Ireland replied this will be an addition to the actual project.
By Diane Madigan