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SG-W:/ Pittsfield land use in headlines again

Pittsfield land use issues in the AANews headlines again:


Here's the text:

 Residents, Saline schools oppose Pittsfield access road plan 
Group calls connector to campus a waste of money. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP - The schools don't want it. A group of residents doesn't 
want it. So why is Pittsfield Township requiring the Saline Area Schools to 
spend part of its $124.5 million bond issue on an access road?

"You can't build a 218-home subdivision with only two outlets on the same 
road," township clerk Christina Lirones said Monday.

A road connecting the Centennial Farms and Centennial Park subdivisions to 
the district's new school campus off Michigan Avenue will provide safety and 
convenience to township residents, Lirones said.

But at least 20 residents living in the subdivisions aren't convinced. At a 
meeting Monday at the Centennial Park model home, residents argued that the 
access road was an unnecessary waste of tax dollars and would make their 
roads unsafe.

"I'm not saying a teen-ager is going to intentionally drive through our 
subdivision and hit our kids, but that's a concern," resident Donna Omchinsky 

The group plans to attend Pittsfield's 7:30 p.m. board meeting today when the 
board will consider whether to allow the supervisor and attorney to sign an 
agreement that would settle a lawsuit between the schools and township by 
requiring the road construction.

The school board has already authorized the superintendent to sign the 
agreement, which is intended to clarify zoning and planning review processes 
for the new schools. Construction of two access roads, one to Centennial 
Farms/Centennial Park and one to Rolling Hills, is just one part of the 
agreement - but it's a component the school district would rather not do.

Nancy Brenton, the district's executive director of community relations and 
special projects, said the schools had budgeted for potential road projects 
but had hoped to spend money elsewhere.

The district estimates that the roads will cost $300,000, although Craig 
Welch, owner of Centennial Park builder Wexford Homes, said he estimated the 
cost at $500,000.

"Obviously we would choose not to build those connector roads," Brenton said. 
"We don't see a need for it."

The district understands residents' concerns, but it will do what the 
township and Washtenaw County Road Commission require without fighting, she 

Lirones - who organized a petition to stop the subdivision in 1997 - said the 
township always planned to require three outlets, especially with Textile 
Road becoming increasingly busy.

But residents point to a school traffic study that says the connector roads 
will make no significant difference to traffic on surrounding roads such as 
Textile. And Welch argued that asking the subdivision to connect to a school 
campus for an outlet was quite different from asking it to connect to another 
subdivision as was originally planned.

Of course, it won't really connect to the subdivision for quite a while. If 
built, the road would dead-end into a corn field, Welch said. Fewer than 30 
homes will be finished in the next year, and the subdivision won't be built 
out to the connector road for another four or five years. So, if tonight's 
initiative doesn't work, Welch said, the fight can go on.

"Just because they build the road," he said, "doesn't mean we have to connect 
to it."

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