A car drives on Taft Road at Nine Mile Road Aug. 22 as construction for a new roundabout at that intersection is underway.

A car drives on Taft Road at Nine Mile Road Aug. 22 as construction for a new roundabout at that intersection is underway.

Photo by Charity Meier

Novi council approves lighting for new roundabout

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published August 25, 2022

NOVI — The City Council voted 4-2 during its regular meeting Aug. 8 to approve a purchase agreement for lighting to be placed around the area of Nine Mile and Taft roads where a roundabout is under construction.

The new lighting will consist of eight 58-watt LED streetlights in black housings on 30-foot fiberglass posts, which will be directly buried. The city’s Department of Public Works engineering staff worked with DTE Energy to determine the appropriate locations, style and wattage for the streetlights.   

The purchase agreement with DTE Energy requires the city to pay the total installation cost of $22,495 and an annual charge of $2,127 for operation and maintenance of the streetlights.

Councilman Brian Smith attempted to have the city postpone approval of the agreement in order to allow for staff to bring forth a selection of options to the council. However, his motion, which was seconded by Councilwoman Laura Marie Casey, failed with two votes for it and four against.

“My concern here is the 30-foot lighting, especially for the south and west residents, is going to effectively be 50 or 60 feet because of the drop-off there,” said Smith. “I would like to see some lower lighting options there, possibly motion-sensitive so that they’re not on all the time, such as 2 in the morning when there is no pedestrian traffic.”

Mayor Pro Tem David Staudt asked Megan Mikus, deputy director of the DPW, if there was a need to approve the agreement quickly in order for the project to continue at its current speed.

“This project seems to be moving fairly quickly,” said Staudt. “Will a delay of a few weeks have any effect?”

“To my knowledge this would not delay the project,” said Mikus. “Although in consulting with (the) DTE community street lighting group, this type of light, the pole and the low wattage of 58 watts was recommended by the DTE community street lighting group, because in their experience in other locations there have been complaints of glare from the teardrop or more decorative street lighting. So, this is what was recommended or proposed.”

Mikus said they did look at other options, but because it is a residential area, DTE felt that the low-wattage lights, along with poles that are similar to those that have been put up throughout the city, would be best.

Staudt said he would vote against the motion to postpone the approval of the agreement.

“I appreciate the sentiments, but I think similar to the mayor pro tem,” said Councilman Justin Fischer. “I get frustrated when people are out there to drum up some disappointment. It kind of takes away from staff and all of the hard work that they do, to act like they haven’t done their due diligence, that they haven’t considered all of the alternatives and haven’t made a good recommendation. So, I will be in support of moving this forward tonight as well.”

Casey said that she was in agreement with Smith regarding the pedestrian lights. She asked Mikus if they could look into the motion-sensitive lights for the pedestrian walkways. Mikus said that she could speak with DTE to see if that is an option.

“I think it’s a silly project,” stated Mayor Bob Gatt, who has opposed the roundabout. “I think it’s going to cause more accidents than we can imagine and I’m not in favor of any part of it. I will not be in favor of the motion.”

The motion to postpone failed by a vote of 2-4 with Councilwoman Ericka Thomas absent. The council then made a motion to approve the purchase agreement, which passed by a vote of 4-2.