REED CITY — Some development is at a standstill in the Reed City area because of an ongoing dispute over utilities.
Reed City and Richmond Township officials met Friday afternoon in a special joint meeting to try and resolve the issue and help spur development on 220 Avenue and U.S. 10 in Richmond Township.
The main issue that the township wanted to solve was their lack of ability to hook up water and sewer for development.
“As it is presently, we can’t do that,‘ said Richmond Township Supervisor Maynard Bluhm. “The only hook up we’re allowed to have at this time is north of the hospital.‘
This lack of connections comes from a 425 agreement that was made in 1986 and enforced by a circuit court judge, Bluhm said, that restricts the township’s ability to lay new mains. In this 425 it specifies that, while the township cannot create new mains that may connect up to larger infrastructure, the township can hook up one water line and one sewer line per business that decides to come into the area.
“But in looking at that, we realized that is not the way you do a utility system,‘ Reed City Manager Ron Howell said. “You try to have a main that runs parallel or loops around whatever it is so then you can have five or six different commercials connecting to that main and that connects.‘
But in trying to solve this issue, the city and township have been sitting at a stalemate for quite some time. Guiles and Bluhm even tried meeting in the summer to share ideas, but were not able to come to a compromise.
The dispute needs to end said owner of Gerber Construction Bill Terryn.
“I think for the city to grow, for the township to grow, you’re going to have to work together. At the end of the day, the township has the property and the city has the utilities and you can’t do one without the other. Nobody should leave this table with a good feeling that we got them,‘ he said. “(...) When you guys do come to a true compromise, everybody here should leave a little disappointed. (...) You know, if you are talking to your kids and you got one cookie left, you break the cookie in half and they each take one half of that cookie. Neither one is happy but it’s acceptable at the end of the day. I think you guys are going to have to get to that point.‘
Though nothing was decided on at the special meeting, Guiles said the conversations are not over.
“Tonight we started the much-needed process of figuring out what is going to work for Reed City and Richmond Township,‘ he said. “Now, we will each come up with a plan and come back together at a different date.‘
Guiles said the Reed City Council will be discussing a plan to present to the township at the next meeting on Monday, Feb. 17.