Gravel and pavement controversy

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Sara Ventimiglia
Meridian Times staff writer

Controversy brought opinionated conversation at the Meridian Township Board of Appeals meeting Wednesday evening. A case that has been ongoing since 2008, the Delta Dental Case was finalized by the board members.

“This case was originally a request to build a service road connecting the parking lot to a remote data center without a curb and gutter at 4100 Okemos Road,” said Chairman Jim Hershiser.

That request was granted in 2008 and this year a new request was made. Delta Dental representative Ken Mason has overseen the project since summer 2009. His current request was to put in a curb and gutter because the road had been paved.

Board Member Carol Ohlrogge argued that her notes on this case put much emphasis on endeavors that weren’t even possible. The draining plans were made for a gravel road and not a paved one.

“How is the system that was supposed to work with gravel now going to work with pavement?” said Ohlrogge. “Are we going to do this traditionally or try and use the old system on the new design?”

What had been originally presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals made little sense after the recent request, according to Ohlrogge.

“I’m puzzled and confused about where we were and where we are now,” said Ohlrogge.

Board Member Matt Sloan argued that the water is going to drain the same way whether the road is gravel or pavement.

Planning Commission Representative Patricia Herring- Jackson assumed that the water would be naturally cleansed by the original design of a gravel road.

“It seems to me that one of the advantages of the original design is the water would flow to the basin more slowly and because of this grid, be cleaned,” said Herring- Jackson. “The water would not be going through this filtering system anymore with the new design.”

A paved road is required to have a curb and gutter, but the township originally allowed a gravel road to be put in.

The board approved the variance after much discussion. They agreed that there should not be a problem with the flow of water collecting or becoming dirty, but they could not agree on whether they had been scammed.

“Did we buy the first idea hook, line and sinker?” said Hershiser. “Or were they really trying to be sincere in Delta Dental’s first idea?”

One thought on “Gravel and pavement controversy

  1. Curb and gutter on a gravel road isn’t a good idea, as the gravel washes away from the gutter. Also more and more designs in Australia call for a kerb (curb) where the water washes over a curb flush with the road level, then filtering down a stabilised open drain. This acts a natural filter for water contaminated by oils from the road surface.