Saugatuck Good Government

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's been some time, and all seems to be quiet on the bike path front. I haven't a clue as to what is going on right now.

We are busy packing, since we have sold our home here, and will be moving out on August 24th, and will come to Saugatuck on August 25th, to await completion of our new home in Macedonia, Ohio. We will then be within three miles of our daughter Chris, and that will be special.

So, we're looking forward to seeing all of our friends in Saugatuck.

Bye for now,

Bob

It's been some time, and all is quiet on the "not motorized pathway" front. I haven't a clue as to what is now going on.

We'll be in Saugatuck for a couple of months, beginning August 25th. We are awaiting the completion of a new home which will be withing three miles of our daughter Chris. That will be extra special!

So, we're looking forward to seeing our old friends in Saugatuck.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What is going on - update

Well, I'm beginning to wonder if anyone in the township reads the Commercial Record? Or is on the internet? It would seem to me that the red flags I've been flying should certainly trigger someone to make some observations - even that I'm way off base!

I don't care for government that attempts to push something through, apparently on the whim of one of it's functionaries. And without documentation for it's major feature! That has a bad stink to it in my experience.

Oh, well, we get what we ask for, or in this case, what we don't question. If you aren't upset by this flagrant misuse of administrative power; if you aren't bothered by so many tax dollars being spent on unnecessary construction; if you are so indolent and lazy that you can't even get up off your duff and do anything, so be it. But don't complain later that you were "taken in", that your taxes are too high, etc.

You have been placed on notice.

What is going on here?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Further intelligence! I have now learned that the proposed bike path through Saugatuck does NOT have to be separated from the road! It can be merely added to the already existing 4' path along Holland St. and Washington Rd! If that were to happen, it would solve a number of problems, complaints, etc. How about it, Township Board? Is that a good idea, or what?

The matter of ramming something like this through, without any notice to affected property owners, with no discussion in the planning commission, and no notice of any public discussion, is local government at its worst! It's very bad, and should be remedied at the earliest possible moment. And I mean the next election!

Let's get with it, township residents. Let's elect a board that is accountable, transparent, and will employ a manager who knows what he is doing, and doesn't try this sort of sleight of hand.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Well, I see that the township has now placed the proposed bike path on their website, under updated news. As of June 21! Isn't that a bit late to first make the public aware of this?

Also, I have learned that this project is called a CMAQ non motorized facility. The stated purpose is to redcuce harmful emissions by providing non motorized access to jobs and shopping. It is NOT for recreational purposes!

It seems to me that this proposed bike path would not serve the Saugatuck/Laketown area very well. How many residents will now use bicycles or walking, to get to work or shopping? Almost all of the walkers and bikers I have observed along Holland St./Washington Rd. are purely recreational. So how doess the township justify the expenditure of our tax dollars, Federal, State and local, for this project? I seriously doubt that it can!

This, added to the fact that to this date, I, as a property owner along this route, have recived no notification of the townships intent. No hearings, no requests for easements, etc. All I have been told is that it's been in the works for about two years, and that consstruction is scheduled for this fall. AND that the township has a 100 foot right of way along Holland St./Washington Rd. This I very much doubt, and question. I have asked the township manager, Phil Quade, for documentation to support this claim, and have received only the statement that "the township has a 10o' right of way"! This is documentation? Not in my book!

So, I repeat, what do you think? What is going on here?

Monday, June 26, 2006

More township board fumbling

Well, I think I've got all the problems regarding comments solved. I hope! I'm still learning.

I think you can now post a comment, and it will show up properly. No restrictions, no moderation, etc.

I'm still upset about the bike path program. This has all the earmarks of a poorly funded, poorly planned, secretive operation by the township board. Still no public hearings, no notificaation or information to affected property owners, no planning commission ruling, and no assurance of receipt of a state grant. It's all "pie in the sky" stuff, as far as I'm concerned.

What say You?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Here's part of a letter I'm preparing to file with the Saugatuck Township Board:

What documentary proof do you have of the alleged 100-foot right of way?

How will this proposed bike path impinge upon our wooded screen along the highway?

Why has there been no public discussion of this matter? Why has it not been entered in the Township Board minutes, as published in the Commercial Record?

Why has there been no notification to the affected property owners, nor a call for meetings with those owners?

Further, Mr. Scott, Schwochow has informed us that “the townships share of 20% is $92,000. Letters referring to this matter go back to December, 2004. I understand that the township does not have the funds to fulfill its obligation. And, that the township must prove sufficient use of the path to justify sufficient use of this path in order to qualify for the state grant.”

It has all the flavor of a secret agreement. Apparently the Township Board wants this to go through with no discussion or controversy.

The usually accepted procedure for anything like this is to have public notification of intent, followed by public hearings. When the plan passes the planning commission, the affected property owners are notified, and in a case like this, permission or easements are requested.

No secrecy, no silence - out in the open all the way! Not in this instance.

Mr. Schwochow, in reply to the remark "if people are so upset, where are they?", said "I'm here" The rest weren't there because they were just learning about this grand plan.

During our summers there, we have noticed lone bikers now and then. And on rare occasions, a bike tour comes through. The existing 4' bike path on each side of this road seems quite adequate. I have done my share of biking in the past, and under no circumstances would I get up to full speed on any path with turns, blind spots, road crossings, etc. And this proposed path has all of these.

I understood from Mr. Quade that Laketown Township was going to pick up the trail, but I am told that so far, Laketown has done nothing. Nothing!

I welcome comments on this matter by others who are either in favor or opposed to this plan.

And I repeat: What is going on here?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So, now it's semi-official. I read it in the Commercial Record. The bike path is going to go through. Still no notice of public hearings, notification to affected property owners, nothing in the township minutes.

Scott Schwachow's comments and objections were timely and well stated. He was asked "where the others who object", he replied "I'm here".

Well, here's another objector. We think the idea is great, but the path will be made at too much costly expenditure of outrage to have trees removed, affected property violated, etc.

None of us ever heard anything about a 100 foot right of way for Washington Rd. until now.

My father in law, the late Edwin House, may have given an easement for the construction of U.S. 31 when it was routed through town on part of the route of old Michigan M 11, but U.S. 31 was re-routed across the new bridge in 1936, and the old 31 ceased to be a federal highway.

Are we to assume that all easements given for 31 prior to 1936 are still in force? I have seen no documentation on this at all! All I have been told is that "we have a 100 foot right of way".

That's not documentation, by any stretch of the imagination!

So again I ask,

What's going on here? Where are the other property owners? How do we stop this?