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Subdivison residents call lack of access road a crisis

By: Robert Guttersohn | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 26, 2012

 The lone access road to the Twin Rivers subdivision has never been completed. Despite this, Google Maps and GPS systems recognized the road as being finished, confusing emergency responders attempting to find a route into the subdivision.

The lone access road to the Twin Rivers subdivision has never been completed. Despite this, Google Maps and GPS systems recognized the road as being finished, confusing emergency responders attempting to find a route into the subdivision.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Annette Caruso called 911 after finding her 61-year-old husband, Sam, unconscious in their home last year.

The ambulance arrived. The EMS team placed her husband, who was by that time conscious, in the back of their vehicle. Annette Caruso, 60, sat in the front of the ambulance as it drove a GPS-led route to the hospital.

Instead of driving through the adjacent subdivision, then south to Hall Road, the driver proceeded south to the unfinished, pothole-ridden road leading directly to Hall Road.

She recalled asking the driver why he took the dirt road.

“That’s what GPS told us to do,” she recalled the driver saying.

The ambulance bumped along, as everything in the back, where her husband was lying, shifted around.

That incident is not the only time emergency responders trying to find Twin Rivers have run into such trouble. The road, which connects the north side of Hall Road to the south side of the subdivision, is unfinished, but it is the only direct entrance to the Twin Rivers subdivision.

Although it’s clearly not a finished road to human eyes, Google Maps and GPS systems recognize the road as being finished and will lead drivers there when they’re looking for directions to Twin Rivers.

The road has sat unfinished since development began in Twin Rivers seven years ago, despite repeated requests by residents for the developer to complete it.

“I really feel useless as residents,” Annette Caruso said.

But residents of the subdivision received some long-awaited news at the June 13 Board of Trustees meeting. A court date between the township, which wants the entrance completed, and the developers has been set for Sept. 24 in Macomb County Circuit Court, said Larry Dloski, the township’s legal counsel.

Originally, the plan was to build an access point from Romeo Plank Road into the subdivision. But because that access point would have disrupted wetlands, the township blocked the plan, said Clerk Michael Koehs.

Developers then bought the parcel of land along Hall Road to build the access point, but never finished it.

Dloski said the developer then defaulted on the small parcel of property containing the road, and a company in Texas subsequently bought it. He said he has been unable to make contact with the company, but filed a brief with the court that would automatically inform the owner of the land of the potential lawsuit.

“So, anybody that purchases that property knows that there’s this litigation pending,” Dloski said.

During the board meeting, Trustee Roger Krzeminski asked Dloski whether the township could legally build the road on its own. Dloski replied that the township would have to acquire the land through condemnation first. He said that he would look into whether that option was even possible for the township.

“The legal process is slow; it’s agonizing, but it grinds on eventually to a conclusion,” Dloski said. “And we hope the conclusion will come some time in the middle to the end of September.”

But Twin Rivers resident Juliana Sabatini said at the June 13 meeting that waiting could be fatal for the residents of the subdivision.

She called the lack of an actual access point to the subdivision a “health and safety crisis,” especially after having to call 911 for her own medical emergency last year.

“What I encountered was nothing short of devastating,” Sabatini told the trustees, clearly shaken by the memory of that day. “The problem is, we cannot wait. My fear is that, not only as a resident but as a parent, is that the next time someone faces an emergency situation in the subdivision, it’s not going to be a close call. It’s going to be a much more devastating situation.”

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