Jessica Mathews /

The Howell Township Board met Monday night to discuss drainage issues on Brewer Road.

Trustee Bob Wilson requested the issue be put on the agenda and says the situation involves property on Brewer Road where the owner has their rain gutters plumbed to a pipe that is directed at the road – resulting in various problems and safety concerns.

The owner in question did not appear to be in attendance at the meeting.

Wilson noted it’s an all-year issue with water on the road at the very top of a hill, resulting in very large and deep potholes. He said it’s causing damage to vehicles but also posing safety issues as drivers are often forced to drive on the wrong side of the road. Wilson has also referenced a rollover crash at the location but it was clarified during the meeting it happened around 20 years ago. He’s called for the township to take action against the property owner to move the drain pipe, redirect the discharge from the gutters, and resolve the issue.

Last night, Wilson made an initial motion that failed 6-1 to have the township draft an ordinance to prevent people from doing anything that could damage a roadway. He then made a second motion to enforce ordinances that are already on the books; if they can’t make a new one to prevent people from damaging roads. Wilson said something needs to be done and he was trying to cover a broad range of things as the pipe is directed at the road and runs year-round. That failed to gain any board support.

Wilson further raised issues about a report that was issued in regard to his complaint about the drainage problems last August by Treasurer Jonathan Hohenstein – which the board reviewed but never took any action on. That report is available in the board meeting packet. A link is provided.

It notes that the issue is not within the jurisdiction of the County Road or Drain Commission and the County Building Department says there is nothing in the building code that deals with the conditions. The memo states the Township could pass a maintenance code, but the downside to that approach is that everything in the maintenance code would have to be enforced by the Township.

It was stated at the board table that they can’t just craft an ordinance that’s too broad or too narrow, with some questioning how they could enforce something the township has no control or authority over.

Supervisor Mike Coddington commented that the suggested motion regarding “any damage” could cover anything such as a four-wheeler, a tractor, or anything going down the road.

A handful of residents spoke during call to the public, with some raising concerns about other complaints that Wilson has initiated.

One suggested that since the township is discussing potential road projects for the upcoming year it might make sense to make improvements on Brewer Road and put the situation to rest.

Another resident who lives on Brewer Road cautioned the board against passing an ordinance where anybody can complain about anything and then trying to enforce it – further raising allegations of ordinance violations against Wilson that he felt could be addressed including excessive noise.

Wilson later questioned if current ordinances would be enforced.

Coddington stated they would work with the nuisance ordinance and put it on the list of complaints to see if anything can be done but again noted it’s a personal drain issue and nothing can be done by the county as they don’t have control over the roads.

Complaints are handled by the township Zoning Administrator, who is currently Joe Daus. It was announced at the end of the meeting that he will be retiring effective March 1st.