by ANDREW NEAL
State Representative Peter Lucido of Shelby Township addressed a room of constituents last week at a Coffee and Conversation event. Among the many things discussed, including the impending costs caused by the sinkhole at 15 & Utica, residents voiced concerns over a potentially enormous sewer bill they are facing due to a special assessment district (SAD) zone between 25 and 26 Mile Road and Jewell and Hayes.
Developers own a large amount of land in the SAD and petitioned the township to construct a sanitary sewer system. Rough cost estimates put the project above $13 million and some residents fear they will be on the hook for a bill they can’t afford.
Most homeowners utilize septic and well systems for their sewer and water needs and say they don’t need a sewer system.
Township officials admit it is no secret that the large land developers within the SAD are driving the petition for the sewer construction.
Lucido says that local planning decisions like this should be left to local government. “The state should not ever be involved with local government planning because it’s up to the planners to put things in perspective of what the community needs, wants, and limit things it doesn’t need and doesn’t want. So this is not a state issue, it’s a local issue.”
With that said, he supports the development but says officials have to do a delicate balancing act between the development and the people it impacts.
“I don’t disagree that development needs to be had. Where I have a disconnect is if you make an imposition on somebody that’s just trying to get along in the community, and tell them and impose on them something they did not want or did not expect.”
“There should be a dedicated easement for city water and sewer, no doubt about it. But if they put that pipe in the ground it, it should only go to say ‘look the pipe is there but if I go to use the pipe, I’ll pay for what I use.’”
As it stands now, township officials are gathering exact costs for the project. From there, the township assessor will determine how much each landowner in the district has to pay. Then a Public Hearing on Cost will be scheduled, where residents will have a chance to express their approval or disapproval, after which the Board will schedule a final vote on the project. If approved, construction could begin as soon as May.