Maarch 4 2010

Belmont plan puts residents in ‘road rage’

March 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

  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 […]