Road Improvements

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Developer
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Road Improvements

Post by Developer » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:36 pm

I received this by email from JoAnn Miltner, Treasurer of the Rose Lake in the Woods Property Owners Association:

Rose Lake in the Woods Property Owners,

This is to inform you that the Rose Lake Township Board has passed a resolution to create a Special Assessment District under PA 246 to pave a portion of the roads in our subdivision and in Rose Lake Forrest subdivision (approximately 5.2 total miles). The cost of this project is estimated by the County Road Commission to be $814,000 and would be assessed against all subdivision property owners. The current proposal would assess each lot $95 annually for 10 years. This assessment would be applied to all lots equally independent of whether your lot gets paving along your frontage.

We will be notified by mail of special hearings that will be established to allow for public opinion and discussion on the proposed resolution. In addition this topic will be on the agenda of the Osceola County Road Commission meeting on June 11 (7:00pm Hersey, MI) and at future Rose Lake Township Board meetings that occur the first Wednesday of each month at Rose Lake Township Hall. We would suggest that all property owners that have strong opinions either for or against this action be present at future meetings and the “to be scheduled” public hearings.

Here are some things to consider as you develop your position on this action:
  • The developers of both subdivisions originally paved all roads to standards establish by the county as a condition of them being accepted as county roads and maintained as such. Due to lack of necessary maintenance our roads deteriorated to a point that the cost to repair them was deemed excessive and it was decided by the County Road Commission and Rose Lake Township to pulverize them returning them to dirt and maintain them accordingly. Some have suggested that even as dirt these roads are not appropriately or adequately maintained. What assurances do we have that if we adopt the proposed action that history won’t be repeated, finding ourselves in a similar situation in the future?
  • All lot owners do not benefit equally from this proposed action. Lot owners in Rose Lake in the Woods #1 receive no benefit as they are all located on 155th Avenue and have no reason to use the proposed pavement to access their properties. Lot owners on Oak Ridge Ct. and Deer Run east of Oak Ridge Dr. would not get their frontage paved but would receive some benefit from driving on less dirt to gain access to their properties. All lot owners regardless of benefit will pay the same assessment. This situation also occurs in Rose Lake Forrest where only the main loops would be paved with the proposed action.
  • The proposed paving will provide a “paved shortcut” between 16 Mile and 18 Mile Rd that will be used by many that are not residents of either subdivision. These individuals will receive benefit but will not share in the cost of the proposed action. Additionally, law enforcement of speed, traffic, and load limits must be considered.

As you develop your position on the proposed resolution we would encourage you to share your input at the future Road Commission, Township and “public hearing” meetings either in person or in writing. Whether you support or object to the restoration of some of our subdivision roads back to their original paved condition we should agree that the approach must be fair and sustainable.

We will try to keep our subdivision property owners current with information as it develops. Please forward your email address to JoAnn Miltner our treasurer at jomiltner@gmail.com if you haven’t done so previously to be on distribution.

Thanks in advance for your involvement,

Mike McGarry – President RLWPO Steve Gustafson – Vice President RLWPO


roads-proposal_2015.pdf
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I'm a little concerned that the latest newsletter from RLFPOA (http://rlfpoa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=19#p25)says the roads were "discussed" as to how much improving them "would cost", and then only the first page of the county's proposal was attached. It makes it appear that nothing will happen unless the property owners take action, whereas Mr. McGarry's letter makes it sound more like it's going to happen unless property owners take action to stop it.

Which is the truth? I don't know, but we'd all better find out.
======================
Gregory Wood
Trustee for PRTC Trust, Developer
developer@rlfpoa.org
931-452-4511

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Developer
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:11 am
Location: Tennessee
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I'm Against Paving the Roads

Post by Developer » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:30 pm

It was Pine River Timber Co. (PRTC) that paid to build all the roads in Rose Lake Forest (RLF). PRTC was really just my dad, Allan Wood, and his friend Charlie Rambeau.

Dad's original plan was to make all the roads gravel, not too much different than what they are now. Sure, gravel roads were a lot cheaper than paved, and I'm not going to kid you-- that was a big part of it. But not the only part. When dad conceived of RLF, he had an idea in his head of what kind of place he wanted to create. "People will drive slower on gravel roads," I remember him saying. It was that "back in the woods" feeling he wanted to create for folks, and paving the roads was not a part of that vision. "Besides," he said, "gravel roads are easier to maintain. All the county has to do is run down them with a grader, and the roads are good as new. Not nearly as expensive over time as patching and repairing pavement."

Unfortunately, Osceola county had other things in mind. I was only eleven and twelve years old at the time, but I remember Dad talking about it. The county fought him on every aspect of getting the plats approved. The roads were no different. Dad had the roads built better than county spec. The inspector came out and decided that wasn't good enough. "...I know the rules say six inches of gravel. Forget the rules. Forget the law. I'm not signing off on the plat unless you put in ten inches."

Dad, who had already put in eight instead of six, laid down another two.

Then the county reversed itself, and said ten inches of gravel wasn't good enough either. "We want you to pave all the roads in RLF. Chip and seal!", said the county. That, of course, would have bankrupted us, which I guess was what the county really wanted.

(By the way, I was too young to remember the exact number of inches of gravel. Specific descriptions of inches here are only to illuminate my point. I only know for sure that Dad built the roads way in excess of county spec.)

Dad got an attorney, and I guess he probably threatened to sue the county. He probably had a pretty good case, since the county's specs were actually written down, and Dad could prove he had already built better roads than the spec.

Finally they hammered out a compromise. Pave the main loop, Forest Trail. Pave Section Line Road to the edge of Shores Drive, and pave Shores Drive. Pave Osceola Ledge and South Plateau Circle. Leave the rest of the already-better-than-spec roads as they are, and the county agreed to approve the plats. The county probably figured it would bankrupt us anyway, and I guess it nearly did, especially since the county really dragged their feet approving the plats anyway.

The county also forced dad to allow a connecting county road which is now known as Deer Run. This is why they wanted him to pave Shores Drive. This allowed a paved path all the way through RLF and an exit through the south end. Dad was very much opposed. He knew this would create unwanted traffic through RLF, and it would become a speedway.

You've also got to remember, this was back in the seventies. There were scores of recreational land developments all over the country. Dad had been project manager for some of them, working for American Central Corp. There had to have been at least a dozen of them active in Michigan at the time, maybe more. The State of Michigan had decided to put them all out of business. Why? Who knows. But by the late seventies they had succeeded in closing all the developments except RLF, in the whole state. Anyway, I guess Osceola county got the memo, because it was like pulling hens' teeth to get the plats approved. That's one of the reasons places like Rose Lake Forest are so unique. Nothing else like this exists in Michigan. Rose Lake in the Woods comes close, but they don't have a dumping/flushing station for campers. Anyway...

Finally the roads were paved and the plats were approved. People came in and bought the lots, and everyone was happy. Really, I've known so many happy people in RLF over the years. I don't think their happiness had anything at all to do with the fact the roads were paved. In fact it was pretty common for people to complain that drivers through the Forest went too fast.

The speeding only lasted a few years, because the county rarely patched the roads. They didn't listen to Dad when he told them how much more expensive maintaining paved roads would be. But when it came time for the county to actually maintain them, well... they couldn't afford it.

Eventually the county came in at great expense, busted up all the pavement, and hauled it away. I think it's safe to say they took a lot of the gravel base with them at the same time. If you ask me, I say the county stole the pavement, and whatever gravel they took. They probably sold it, or used it in other places around the county, saving themselves the cost they'd otherwise have paid to purchase it. They destroyed paved roads that only needed to be repaired.

How are the roads now? Some people complain, but no matter how good a situation may be, some people will always complain. I think the roads are fine. I'm even glad the pavement is gone. People drive slower now. The whole place is more like Dad wanted it to be in the first place. Sure, I think the county could grade a little more often. And it would be nice if they'd brine the loop in June or July, instead of waiting until September like they did last year (What was the point of that?). But overall, the roads are really pretty good.

Now the county would like to pave the roads again. At the expense of your family and mine, of course. How much will this cost? Well, they want to charge every property owner in RLF, and every property owner in Rose Lake in the Woods sub too. They're only proposing to pave the loops, so most property owners won't get a paved road, but will have to pay for the paving anyway. $95 per lot, per year. How much money is that? There are 777 lots in RLF, and 90 lots in RLITW.

777 + 90 = 867, * $95 = $82,365 per year, * ten years = $823,650


I think their biggest mistake is in amortizing it out over ten years. You see, I'm sure the county won't maintain the new pavement any better than they did the old, which means the pavement will be cracked, broken, and full of potholes long before we finish paying for it.

It would be impolite for me to suggest that a large portion of that $824K would really be spent on other things, in other places, than the Forest. So I'll just leave that part to your imagination.

The only way this is a done deal is if YOU, and all the rest of us, fail to tell the county we don't want it.
======================
Gregory Wood
Trustee for PRTC Trust, Developer
developer@rlfpoa.org
931-452-4511

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