Niles Twp. road project moving forward

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2015

An effort to fix crumbling roads in a Niles Township neighborhood took a major step forward earlier this week.

On Monday, the Niles Township Board of Trustees voted to create a special assessment district in the Mission Hills Subdivision that would pay for approximately $300,000 worth or roadwork there.

The board also approved the plans and cost of the project, which is scheduled to begin next spring.

The township will pay for half of the cost for project, which will result in paved roads throughout the subdivision.

Supervisor Jim Stover said the remaining $150,000 would be split among the residents of the 84 parcels in the special assessment district.

The cost per parcel, he said, comes out to roughly $1,800, which can be paid off over a period of 10 years at 3 percent interest. Annual installments are just more than $180.

Stover said the first payment would likely be collected on the winter 2016 tax bill, which has a deadline of February 2017.

Only one resident said during a public hearing Monday that he was opposed to the special assessment. The board said it received one anonymous letter from a resident saying he or she was opposed to the road project, but the letter writer provided no name or address.

Fifty-one percent of residents needed to be in favor of the special assessment in order for it to proceed.

Several residents expressed concerns during the public hearing that paving the roads would result in more water flowing onto their driveways and property.

Louis Csokasy, director of the Berrien County Road Commission, said the project would not increase the amount of water on driveways.

He also said the road commission would complete ditching work and replace culverts as needed.

Township officials said residents in the assessment district would receive in the mail information on exactly how much they would have to contribute toward the road project.

The board set a public hearing for Feb. 1 to address any issues residents may have with their assessment value.

Also Monday, the board:

• Adopted an ordinance allowing residents to keep as many as six chickens in residential areas.

• Approved a new zoning ordinance.