Commission okays abandoning a portion of roadway

LAPEER COUNTY — On December 16, the Lapeer County Road Commission voted to abandon the decertified portion of General Squier Road, between Lake George and Havens roads in Dryden Twp.

This mile segment was first certified in 1936, but 0.92 miles of this road were later decertified in 1955. When it was decertified, the county chose to keep the right-of-way under their jurisdiction. Until now, this section of the road has remained decertified and not maintained by the county. The homeowners on each side of the road have been maintaining the portion of the road involved in the petition. Homeowner James Novak filed the petition to abandon the portion along his property line.

In early December, the Dryden Township Board was asked to discuss the petition and make a recommendation to the Lapeer County Road Commission prior to the Road Commission’s next meeting on December 16. The Dryden Township Board met on December 8 and subsequently voted 4-1 to recommend that the Lapeer County Road Commission deny the petition made by James Novak.

At the road commission meeting, the board opened the meeting to public comment. A majority of commenters asked for the commission to deny the petition. However, homeowners along or near the right of way, were in favor of abandonment.

Members from Metamora Equestrian Conservation Alliance, (MECA) spoke regarding the abandonment, asking for the commission to allow the right of way to remain decommissioned. MECA said they would prefer to use the right of way as a safe alternative for riding horses, as opposed to riding on the surrounding 55 mile per hour roads. Many nearby residents agreed with the opinion of the MECA group members.

Novak, the petitioner, stated that his family has owned the farm for 42 years, and he has never known anyone that has ever gone through that easement because it was so “bound up.”

Commissioner Les Nichols made the motion to approve the abandonment and it was seconded by Commissioner Dale Duckert. The abandonment was unanimously approved 2-0. Novak abstained from the vote. Prior to discussion of the matter, Novak turned the meeting over to Duckert, the commission’s vice chair.

Public comment after the vote was mixed. Many residents questioned if the matter was handled fairly since Novak is the chairman of the road commission as well as the petitioner for abandonment.