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July 31, 2013

City officials concerned with Troy FedEx expansion

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

CLAWSON — City officials are concerned that the possible expansion of a FedEx distribution center in Troy, at Livernois Road and Park Street, will increase large truck traffic through its downtown.

They say that several trucks take Interstate 75 to 14 Mile Road, and then take 14 Mile to Main Street to the distribution center.

The Review was unable to confirm the expansion with FedEx, and the Troy Planning Department has not received any official plans for the expansion of the facility. But Clawson City Council said at its July 16 meeting that FedEx is planning to expand after buying up the vacant properties adjacent to its current distribution center.

Council passed a resolution requesting its legal counsel to work with Troy to investigate the potential FedEx expansion and the potential impact it could have on truck traffic in downtown Clawson.

The vote was 4-0. Mayor Penny Luebs was absent from the meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Howie Airriess said the idea that even more trucks would be exiting from I-75 onto 14 Mile Road concerned him.

“My concern is not to ban trucks, obviously. I’ve been in trucking all my life.” he said. “The FedEx trucks come down at night, they make a lot of noise, and they tie up a lot of traffic, whether it’s in the middle of the afternoon or evening.”

He said the council should act pre-emptively before the expansion begins and be in touch with FedEx about its concerns.

Some council members wondered if it would be possible to limit truck traffic — an idea that City Attorney Jon Kingsepp said he would look into.

“I wouldn’t want to say that you are interfering with interstate commerce, but that’s not to say that legitimate concerns along those lines can always be the subject of a serious discussion with a serious conclusion,” Kingsepp said.

He added that in June, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a township in western Michigan to allow the municipality to ban heavy trucks from traveling along certain roads within its municipal borders.

The June ruling he was referring to was Oshtemo Township vs. Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

According to the ruling, the township adopted an ordinance in 2007 prohibiting heavy trucks from using several of the county roads within the township. After two neighboring townships complained that the route bans were increasing truck traffic inside their municipal boundaries, the Road Commission decided in 2009 that the prohibited routes were primary roads and voided the ordinance.

The state Court of Appeals said that the county Road Commission overriding the township’s truck routes was in conflict with the state Constitution.

“I want to read that opinion to see if there’s an application for cities, as well,” Kingsepp said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.