Officials to meet with residents on poor roads

Brookfield trustees look for solution to unaccepted streets

BROOKFIELD — Township trustees want to meet with residents whose homes are on unaccepted roads to address how those dirt covered, pothole-ridden and unpaved streets are to be taken care of — including asking if residents would help cover costs.

Unaccepted roads have not been officially dedicated by a county or township for public use and have not been brought up to a certain standard, such as being 24 feet wide, paved and with ditches. Such roads have to be accepted by the county commissioners to be classified as dedicated.

Trustees at their recent monthly meeting voted 2-1 to make improvements to George, Gloria and Wheeler streets, which are all unaccepted roads, but a unanimous vote was needed for passage.

Trustees Dan Suttle and Gary Lees supported the motion while Trustee Ron Haun voted against it.

Officials had wanted to put down gravel to make the roads passable and so emergency service vehicles could more easily reach residents. Snow plows have also been damaged on the roads.

Road superintendent Jamie Fredenburg said state law requires a unanimous vote by trustees to change a road’s status, but residents can petition trustees to take over the roads, which requires a simple majority.

Haun explained his “no” vote, saying the road fund has $40,000, which he wants used on improving dedicated roads. He noted with limited funds, they shouldn’t be used on undedicated roads when the dedicated roads need work. He said if work is done now, it will need to be done again in a few years.

“We need to sit down and talk to the homeowners and come up with some options for a solution to this situation,” Haun said, noting he is concerned that safety vehicles are traveling the undedicated roads and tearing up the wheels of their vehicles.

Fredenburg said paving the undedicated roads could cost near $10,000.

Lees said he agreed a solution needs to be found because of safety concerns for vehicles on undedicated roads.

“We are trying to figure out the best solution to a problem that has been there for many, many years,” he said, indicating one solution is to send a letter to residents asking what they want and how they are willing to help — including paying for the needed improvements.

Officials said under the unaccepted status, no one is responsible for the road’s maintenance but if Brookfield took over the unaccepted roads, the township would handle it.

Officials said there are around 22 unaccepted roads in the township.

Fredenburg has said at past meetings while they do snow plow such roads when three or more inches of snow has fallen, they are concerned about the damage being done to township equipment. The unaccepted roads are plowed last.

“We can’t risk having the equipment damaged when we have many other paved roads in the township road system that are required to be done,” he said.

Also at the May 6 meeting trustees recognized fire department staff including retired firefighter Dave Coffey, who served as interim fire chief while the township was searching for a new chief.