Residents speak on special assessment district

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published February 5, 2024


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The first public hearing for the North Blom Drive and Cloverleaf Street special assessment district was held at the Jan. 22 Harrison Township Board of Trustees meeting.

Out of all the affected residents for the road and drainage repair project, more than a dozen attended with most being against the project. Disparities between the two pavement parts of the project were a common complaint among residents. Asphalt sections at the entrance of the SAD will receive new asphalt while concrete sections further inside the subdivision will see a mix of replacement concrete and crack sealing. The 47 affected concrete lots will pay nearly $7,000 over the 10-year life of the assessment while the 23 asphalt lots pay nearly $14,000.

“(Asphalt lots are) getting a new road. We’re getting squiggles,” said Susan Watroba, an affected resident. “(It is) $7,000 for black squiggles, which is going to really devalue the sub. It’s going to look hideous. … If you’re going to do it, do the whole road. I’ll pay for concrete.”

Several residents questioned why the two pavement types were combined into one project. Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest, who lives on the concrete portion of North Blom, said combining them was an attempt to balance project costs.

“I’d rather pay nothing,” Verkest said. “I’d rather see the asphalt done and not pay a dime, but I recognize that the cost is so prohibitive that it will never get done, so we talked to the attorney to see if there’s some creative way (the concrete lots) could participate. … If anybody in our subdivision thinks that the concrete is so bad that it needs to be replaced, that’s silly. But if there’s no benefit to the folks that live in the concrete portion, it’s difficult to say that there’s going to be an SAD. We’re going to do as much concrete as we can, but the real need is for the asphalt.”

While some residents questioned the details of the project, everyone agreed there was a drainage issue with the roads. Verkest told residents the Macomb County Department of Roads will pay for drainage improvements in the asphalt section with a grant. The concrete portion will not have drain improvements.

Other complaints from speakers included the projected cost of the work and the state’s requirement of using frontage feet for determining the weight of petition signatures. The project cost is based on historical information and is subject to change once the county surveys the work zone. A 10% or higher increase to the costs after surveying will stop the project.

Two residents who signed the petition expressed their desire to remove their signatures, though Verkest said the township has not historically removed “binding signatures.”

The next public hearing for the project will take place on Thursday, Feb. 29.


Trustees appointed four residents to four boards on Jan. 22.

Tim Duncan, currently chief of the Clinton Township Fire Department, will join the Civil Service Commission alongside his Planning Commission role. Business owner Nathan Stemple is joining the Economic Development Corporation. Current Zoning Board of Appeals member Shayne Gleason was approved for reappointment. Danielle Devlin was reappointed to the Downtown Development Authority.

Duncan and Stemple have six-year terms ending in January 2030. Gleason has a three-year term ending in January 2027. Devlin has a four-year term ending in January 2028.