LaFontaine Voices Opposition to Powell Road Special Assessment District

LaFontaine Voices Opposition to Powell Road Special Assessment District

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - A representative from the LaFontaine Automotive Group voiced their opposition to the Powell Road Special Assessment District (SAD) to pay for a portion of paving the road during a public hearing at the Meridian Township Board meeting on Tuesday evening.

The public hearing was set to hear comments on the paving of Powell Road and on the SAD. The Township requires the circulation of a petition to the potentially impacted residents with more than 50% being in support of the project prior to the consideration of a SAD. The Township has received a petition for the paving of Powell Road with signatures representing 62.43% of the total frontage amongst sixteen (16) parcels. This frontage along Powell Road represents 1,576 feet from Grand River Avenue to the northern plat line of the Silverstone Subdivision. The total estimated cost of the project is $460,000. Township officials calculated the assessment cost will range from $8,849.40 to $81,815.65 depending on the road frontage of each parcel.

Gary Laundroche, a representative from LaFontaine Automotive Group from the Highland, MI location said, “Although our properties have Grand River Avenue addresses, we’d be forced to grunt over $100,000 of this cost and I just don’t understand what the process is. And it just makes me wonder what Mr. Straub has in a relation with the Township Board or somebody on the Board to be able to divert his responsibility for this original paving and have that spread out on to other. My understanding is residents who live on the road are not responsible when a resident would be benefitting from this the most. I just wanted to have it on public record that we are against this and we feel like there is something a little bit funny in this whole process.”

The Lafontaine Automotive Group has pulled their development project due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Straub is the Land Development Manager for Mayberry Homes, the development group for Silverstone Estates. With this project, the initial cost of constructing the road will be the responsibility of the developer, Mayberry Homes doing business as Powell Road Holdings LLC. Upon completion of the paving project, the developer will be able to receive a portion of the construction costs back to them for the 6 of the 16 parcels, that are used for commercial purposes or as rental property.

According to the memo in the February 23 Township Board packet, “In 2018, the developer of Silverstone Estates, Mayberry Homes, received approval for their Tentative Preliminary Plat. As part of that approval, a condition was placed that required the paving of Powell Road from the northern extent of the plat southward to Grand River. To facilitate this requirement, the developer has requested the implementation of a special assessment district (SAD).”

Township Treasurer Phil Deschaine stated, “I take exception to the comment earlier implying that there were some back door deal made with Mayberry Homes. That is an offensive statement and I’m offended by it. We're putting this forward because we think this is good public policy to provide a special assessment district for this road. It benefits all those who access it including LaFontaine.”

Treasurer Deschaine also added, “I would appreciate the commenter to do some more research before making baseless allegations toward this Board.”

Another resident wrote a letter to the Township Board in opposition to the SAD. That letter was not a part of the original packet available on the Meridian Township website, but was discussed by the Township Board and Township Clerk Deborah Guthrie stated the letter will be included in a future packet as part of the public record.

The Township Board is expected to take action on this item at their March 2 meeting.

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