BROOKFIELD – Three private roads in Brookfield are going to remain so, at least for now, after trustees defeated a motion to improve them.
Trustee Dan Suttles made a motion Monday during the trustees regular meeting to improve Wheeler, Gloria and George Streets
“We’re not going to pave them,’’ Suttles said. “We’re maybe looking to put some gravel down just to make them passable. They’re dirt roads with huge potholes.’’
Suttles said he wanted to make the roads driveable to allow emergency services easier access to people living in those areas.
Jamie Fredenburg, the township’s road superintendent, said before the vote that state law required a unanimous vote by trustees to change the roads’ status. But if residents petitioned the trustees to take over the roads, the vote would require a simple majority
“But if a petition (from residents) is given then it only requires a simple majority,’’ Fredenburg said.
Suttles and fellow Trustee Gary Lees voted in favor of the motion while Trustee Ron Haun voted against it.
After the vote, Haun said he would like the township to annually redesignate one unaccepted road in the township to an accepted one.
He then made a motion to make Wheeler Street an accepted road. During the discussion, Fredenburg estimated the cost for doing that could run between $5,000 to $10,000, which would include paving.
His motion died for a lack of a second.
After the meeting, Haun said he wants the township to develop a long-term solution to the road problems.
He said said the unaccepted roads might, in some cases, have been the work of an individual who, without permission, used heavy equipment to make a road where none had been before. Under the unaccepted status, no one is responsible for the road’s maintenance.
If Brookfield took over an unaccepted road, maintenance would fall on the township.
“An accepted road becomes our responsibility. These unaccepted roads weren’t put in properly,’’ Haun said. “If we just put gravel on them in a few years we’re going to be right back where we started. It becomes a money pit. If you’re going in and spending money then let’s fix it the right way.’’
He added he wants to talk to residents living on or near the unaccepted roads to create a plan in making them accepted.
“The trustees for years have been kicking this down the road,’’ Haun said.
Suttles added he was still concerned about the unaccepted roads.
“If our police, fire department and medical people need to get in those areas it lengthen their response time,’’ he said.
Fredenburg estimated that there were 21 unaccepted roads in the township.
“Technically, we (the township) own them,’’ Fredenburg said. “But they aren’t accepted roads which means the township isn’t responsible for their maintenance.’’
All of the roads were created decades ago when regulations were far more relaxed, Lees said.
“This was a mistake made years ago that was never cleared up,’’ he said of the roads.
Lees promised trustees will continue to work in finding a solution.
“We’ll try to find some compromise,’’ he said. Further, Lees said that compromise may involve having homeowners living on those roads sharing in the costs for improvements.
“I think we need to go to them and say, “If you want a dedicated and accepted road this is how much it’s going to cost. But if you want a graded road with gravel this is how much it’s going to cost,’ ‘‘ he said.