Paving clarification

In response to a resident’s question, the deferring of the installation of storm drains on Clarkston Road when it is repaved this summer is attributable to the fact that MDOT restrictions will not currently allow for excavation deeper that 6-12 inches in the work area due to a years-old sub-surface contamination, according to Clarkston City Manager Jonathan Smith.
“Even if we could obtain MDOT’s approval to allow excavation, the road commission and the city currently do not have a solution on where to drain the storm water,” Smith said in his weekly communication. “So the conclusion reached in a January 10 meeting with the road commission was that the ideal solution of (1) widening Clarkston Road, (2) extending the right turn lane, (3) installing curbs and gutters with storm drains and (4) relocating the utility service boxes and poles must be deferred to a future date when excavation would be permitted.
“In the meantime, to buy some time until that ‘future date,’ Clarkston Road desperately needs to be capped with new asphalt. Is this the preferred conclusion? No. But it’s a realistic one given the circumstances.”

One Response to "Paving clarification"

  1. Don Rush   February 4, 2022 at 11:44 am

    This was from former City of the Village of Clarkston resident, Cory Johnston . . . for some reason his comments never show up. — DR.

    The January 19, 2022 Clarkston News article states, “At the last Clarkston City Council meeting on January 10, a public meeting was held…” This was not at a meeting of the city council but instead a meeting reportedly held earlier that day. The only information provided about this meeting is from the city manager versus any meeting minutes, engineering reports, or any kind of independent documentation. In the city manager’s weekly communication letter of January 13, 2022 he states, “For a few reasons, it is not feasible to install storm drains on Clarkston Road this year…” He does not state what those reasons are or why it hasn’t been feasible for the last 30+ years considering that’s how long this has been an issue.
    He then states, “If possible, the City will piggyback on the MDOT work…” making no mention of the MDOT work having anything to do with the long standing and well known problems on Clarkston Road including flooding of the street on the north and the flooding and drainage on to the sidewalk and residential property on the south. Also not mentioned is what will happen to any of this work if it is not possible to piggyback on MDOT. None of this is in the city council meeting information and minutes so all anyone has is what the city manager is willing to tell them.

    This was then “clarified” in the city manager’s January 27, 2022 weekly communication letter that you have now printed in the Clarkston News. This subject was on the agenda for the January 24, 2022 city council meeting but the meeting minutes only say there was discussion with no details. Other than a brief description of the overall street work included with the council meeting information, there is still no official current report or documentation of the problems, possible solutions, risk, and potential costs for the Clarkston Road work. In fact, the city manager states, “…the Road Commission and the City currently do not have a solution on where to drain the storm water.” He also states that “Clarkston Road desperately needs to be capped with new asphalt.” If it is so desperate, and no one knows what else to do, why wasn’t the paving done in 2021 with the rest of Clarkston Road?

    Oh yes, there is also the known soil contamination due to old fuel storage tanks. Previous development of the site at the northeast corner of this intersection was stopped due to that contamination, drainage problems, and non-compliance with zoning ordinance requirements, although the city was willing to ignore all of it. No one wants to talk about any of that.

    Meanwhile, the flooding on the north side of Clarkston Road and the drainage on the sidewalk and residential property to the south continues, as it has for many years. The sidewalk is dangerous and often unusable. The homeowner and city make no effort to maintain it, clear the water in the summer, or remove ice and snow during the winter on Clarkston Road and on the adjacent Main Street sidewalk. The city manager lives just off this corner and drives by every day but is apparently happy with doing nothing while promoting solutions that will help those who drive through the Village of Clarkston but little or nothing for those who live there.

    Based on the official city council meeting information and minutes, the council has nothing to say, demands nothing, doesn’t care that they only know what the city manager tells them, and are too lazy to find anything out for themselves. If no one has a solution, perhaps it is time to find people who do, or who are willing to find out and represent the residents and taxpayers of the Village of Clarkston versus the Road Commission and those who just want to drive through the Village as quickly as possible.

    Then we have the change to public comment rules at council meetings as of the first of the year. No discussion, no vote, and done in violation of the city charter section 4.2 and Michigan’s Open Meetings Act section 15.263(5) and (6), but that too is something no one wants to talk about. I’m sure the council, without discussion, will continue to approve paying the city attorney to defend the city government’s ongoing negligence and errors, because historically, that’s what they do.
    Cory Johnston
    Lake Orion, MI


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