Request for drain extension with county tabled
By Lisa Brody
Bloomfield Township trustees tabled a possible petition for a Chapter 20 drainage project at their meeting on Monday, April 25, for the Maple and Lahser area which came about following a request from a Bloomfield Township homeowner for drainage relief after heavy rains last summer.
Township director of engineering and environmental services Olivia Olsztyn-Budry explained the Luz Relief Drain was established and constructed in the early 1970's as an intra-county drain. It starts at 14 Mile Road where it connects to the Nichols Drain, and runs north along Lahser Road, then behind the commercial development on the southeast comer of Maple Road and Lahser Road, and across Maple Road into Bloomfield Village along Tuckahoe Drive, ending at Bradway Boulevard and Roland Drive.
“The Luz Relief Drain is operated and maintained by the Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner's office as a Chapter 20 Drain,” she said.
Last summer, a resident living on Red Maple Lane contacted the township about a pipe discharging onto private property.
“A large land area on the north side of Maple Road and west side of Lahser Road drains through a pipe under Maple Road and discharges onto private property,” Olsztyn-Budry said, explaining an existing orphaned storm pipe that eventually connects to a storm drain in the right of way of Lahser Road where it connects to the Luz Relief Drain.
Her recommendation was for the township to petition Oakland County under the drain code to establish a Chapter 20 drain, designed and operated by the Oakland County Water Resources Commission, which would be partially paid for by Bloomfield Township. Preliminary costs were estimated at $447,407, with the township potentially responsible for up to 81 percent of it as that is the apportionment of responsibility.
Trustees felt they did not have enough information on the project to move forward, and it could potentially set a bad precedent.
“So many others had that experience, with water in the yards and in basements last year,” said trustee Michael Schostak. “Do we have a policy to prioritize these?”
“I'm not aware of a policy,” answered Olsztyn-Budry. “This had historically been the way we have handled things in the past,” while noting she has not seen a Chapter 20 drain in the township since 2010 or 2011.
“It was a bad year last year,” concurred trustee Neal Barnett.
“Are we setting a precedent?” asked trustee Val Murray.
“I agree with Val. I may agree with this, but not tonight,” said Barnett. “Has enough been done to mitigate the property when it rains? It's a lot of money if it only impacts one homeowner. I just need more information.”
Trustees voted 6-0, with supervisor Dani Walsh absent, to table the petition.