Clinton-Macomb Public Library Director Larry Neal discusses plans for the new North Branch in Macomb Township. Recently, the library requested Macomb Township to pay for the cost of improvements within the Broughton Road right of way, a price tag of $800,030.

Clinton-Macomb Public Library Director Larry Neal discusses plans for the new North Branch in Macomb Township. Recently, the library requested Macomb Township to pay for the cost of improvements within the Broughton Road right of way, a price tag of $800,030.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Request postponed for right of way improvements in Macomb Township

$800,000 cost estimated

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published July 9, 2019

 Macomb Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin says he’s not comfortable with allowing road construction to begin at the new Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch site until the issue regarding right of way improvements is resolved.

Macomb Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin says he’s not comfortable with allowing road construction to begin at the new Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch site until the issue regarding right of way improvements is resolved.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Who’s responsible to pay for right of way improvements?

A request was made for Macomb Township to assume all responsibility for right of way improvements along Broughton Road in front of the new Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch, at a cost of over $800,000.

At a June 26 Board of Trustees meeting, the Engineering Department requested the board to approve or deny the CMPL Board of Trustees request for Macomb Township to pay for the Broughton Road right of way improvements.

Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin said the CMPL Board of Trustees submitted a request for Macomb Township to pay for the cost of improvements within the Broughton Road right of way adjacent to the new library site, south of 25 Mile Road on Brought Road. Improvements include road improvements, landscaping, sidewalk/pathway and lighting.

A total project cost estimate from Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc. indicates the township would pay $800,030.

A May 30 letter from CMPL Board of Trustees President Michael Lotito states the library contacted the Macomb County Executive’s Office and Macomb County Department of Roads, both of which declined to participate in Broughton Road improvements or the right of way, as it is not a requirement of either body.

“We therefore respectfully request the Macomb Township Board to assume all responsibility for all right of way improvements along Broughton Road in front of the new North Branch,” Lotito writes.

He cited five reasons why the township should assume full responsibility for all improvements, including: if done by the library, the improvements are a violation of state statute; improvements would violate public trust; it could be detrimental to the relationship between Macomb and Clinton townships; the center turn lane would primarily benefit northbound traffic access to the parks and recreation building and town hall; and the majority of new parallel parking spaces on Broughton Road will likely be used to access the parks and recreation building, rather than the library.

“With their center turn lane claim, there’s no factual basis to that. I found that to be misleading,” Clerk Kristi Pozzi said.    

Van Tiflin said it was decided to have a center turn lane and two through lanes.

Currently, Broughton Road, a county road, is two lanes. Van Tiflin said it would go to three with the improvements.

If the board approves the request, his recommendation was for the township to complete the improvements internally, not through the library.

Trustee Tim Bussineau had concerns with an $800,000 cost he said he didn’t see coming.

Van Tiflin said the library has expressed concerns about items that aren’t on the library’s property.

“Typically, this is what developers pay for,” he said. “If this was any place else in the township, our developers own it and pay for it. Now, we have another public entity that says they have an issue as far as paying for anything offsite.”

Pozzi said last summer a meeting was held with the library’s professional team where it was noted by the township that right of way expenses shouldn’t solely be the township’s responsibility.

“They indicate that with the library millage, they’re unable to use the money toward this project,” she said. “My concern is why, in the beginning of the project, didn’t we consider them using those dollars to purchase land from the township?”

No one from the CMPL was present at the meeting to answer board questions.

For this project, Macomb Township is not the developer. The library, which owns the property, is the developer.

Van Tiflin said he’s not comfortable with allowing road construction to begin until this issue is resolved.

The request was postponed and will be further discussed at the July 10 board meeting.

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