by BETH ALTENA Called “pure intimidation tactics” by Plainfield Township Manager Robert Homan, 140 residents, most angry, crowded Township’s meeting room Monday, March 15, and accused the board of a variety of violations. The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. with a public hearing and presentation by John Short on the township’s Five Year Master Plan for Parks and Recreation. Supervisor George Meek stated that comment was to be restricted to the parks and recreation plan and not on the proposed three-lane expansion of Belmont Road planned by the Kent County Road Commission. During the meeting the board was accused of a variety of illegal or unethical actions. Residents complained the board was violating the open meetings act in several different ways, they offered scathing comments on the lack of implementation of a background check policy, commented negatively about how Kent County Road Commission meetings were advertised and accused Homan of illegally using tax dollars to publish a political opinion in the township newsletter. The board attended open business from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. during which time they voted to approve the background check policy they had prepared. Meek made an announcement stating that all township employees and board members had been checked and none had any violation that would require their inclusion on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Treasurer Jim Stover suggested making the background check policy even more inclusive. “I suggest not just employees, but any arm of the township such as the Farm Market vendors be subject,” he said. Clerk Scott Harvey said why not make all Plainfield Avenue business people subject as well. “We aren’t in charge of the Plainfield businesses, but we are in charge of the farm market,” retorted Trustee Rebecca Borek. Meek said the board would take the issue to the township attorney. The board also approved expanding the farm market from one day a week to two, Tuesdays and Thursdays; approved a dance permit for Vitale’s of Comstock Park; and issued a medical marijuana moratorium. Meek also told the board and audience that a letter of reprimand was being prepared regarding the article in the township newsletter by Homan that was possibly an improper use of public funds. At 8:45 p.m. Meek opened the meeting for comments lasting […]
Kent County Road Commission
A small but vocal group of residents are disputing whether a decision to upgrade parts of Belmont Road was properly handled. They hope to stop the Kent County Road Commission project. On Friday, February 26, about 20 people met at Plainfield Township Hall to speak with Senator Mark Jansen, who was holding office hours there. The group, led by Belmont resident Tim Rau, also confronted the Plainfield Township Board on Monday, March 1 to state their complaints. The Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) received a federal grant to help cover the costs of road improvements on Belmont Road from Jupiter to Post drive, a 1.1 mile stretch. According to Jon Rice, managing director of the KCRC, that stretch of road will be widened into a narrow three-lane road, enclosed storm drains, curbs and gutters will be put in and some sidewalks will be added. Financing on the $1.4 million project will be covered with an 80-20 split, with the federal grant paying for 80 percent, KCRC paying $300,000 and Plainfield Township contributing $200,000. Opponents of the project insist they were not involved in the planning of the work, believe the addition of the third lane will increase traffic speed and endanger the students at the two elementary schools and one day care center located within the improvement boundaries. They also believe property values will decrease for residents on the road. The owner of Consolidated Controls, just north of Plainfield Township Hall, said the widening would be a hardship for his business and likely make him unable to park in front of his business. “This is a rural area. Are we trying to put an expressway in there? If anything, narrow the road and push traffic to Jupiter,” he stated. He stated that a residence north of him has a porch already practically on the road and the Belmont Grocery is also very close as it is. Robert Homan, Plainfield Township manager, told the audience that in some form, the project has been in the works for decades and at one point a four-lane road was planned. Those opposing the plan believe the process did not sufficiently allow public input as required. Rau said he believes planners of the project were unlawful in excluding public […]
By CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Do you have a stretch of county road that leads to the front door of your home, business, or community? Is it littered with a winter’s accumulation of road trash that harms the environment and diminishes the curb appeal of your property? The Kent County Road Commission has an answer for you. You can join the ranks of community minded citizens who have stepped forward to keep their roadsides clear of trash in volunteering their services by forming Adopt-A-Road teams. Adopt-A-Road groups are composed of service groups, fraternal organizations, employees of a company, property owners associations, and even groups of friends and families, to name a few of many. This fulfilling task is as simple as making application to the Kent County Road Commission for a permit to adopt a section of road. If accepted, your group will be assigned spring, summer, and fall pick-up dates. The Road Commission will then place signage naming your group at each end of your adopted stretch of road to recognize your group’s commitment. Each season’s pick-up window is eight days long. All that is required is to choose one day in each window to pick-up roadside trash. Blue trash bags and orange safety vests are required and provided by the Road Commission. In the Rockford vicinity Adopt-A-Road signs can be seen recognizing the efforts of the Rockford Police Department, Rockford Rotary, Rockford Jaycees, and Westdale Realty, among others. Sharon Schmuker, Permit Clerk for The Kent County Road Commission, tells the Squire that it takes more than just Adopt-A-Road groups. The Road Commission also greatly appreciates the individual citizens who take it upon themselves to pick-up trash along the roadside during their, oftentimes, daily walks. Schmuker tells us, “The Road Commission would love to add other civic minded groups to their roster of Adopt-A-Road teams.” So in your travels this week as you pass by roadside pick-up crews sporting orange vests be sure slow down, wave, and give a honk of appreciation. For further information contact The Kent County Road Commission at 616-242-6920.