Special to The Gardner News
During the June 15 Gardner City Council updates Michael Cramer, public works director, spoke over phone about a request from Gardner Lake residents for road maintenance.
Cramer said the roads at Gardner Lake are not city roads, but the county has always disagreed. Gardner has always treated them as private roadways except for an exemption from 2010-2016 when gravel was brought out to temporarily fix holes.
Most Gardner Lake homes are not taxed or city owned. Cramer said four homes on Lake Road 3 and the old beach house are within city limits. “It’s purpose is marked as a ‘private driveway,’ and the city doesn’t provide maintenance on private driveways,” Cramer said. “The property owners are responsible.”
Rich Melton, council member, said he wanted to know if the city was being asked to make it a driveway or street.
Cramer said they were being asked to provide maintenance. “It doesn’t cost a great deal of money,” he said. “It is different than other lake roads.”
Steve Shute, mayor, said it is a private road at this time, but every property on Lake Road 3 is paying property taxes since they are within city limits.
Mark Baldwin, council member, said it is no different than a private drive in the city, and the city doesn’t own it.
Cramer said it is owned by Gardner for the purpose of a driveway.
Randy Gregorcyk, council member, asked what the city had done historically.
Cramer said after the 2010 – 2016 minor road maintenance Gardner has done nothing and treated it like every private drive. “We are looking for a clear policy moving forward,” he said.
Baldwin said to dispose of rock when available, and Todd Winters, council president, said the sign says ‘private drive,’ so he doesn’t feel an obligation to maintain it.
Shute said it made sense from his perspective to maintain the drive as the homeowners pay city property taxes.
Gregorcyk said he wanted to know how much it would cost to dump some gravel and grade it.
Cramer said it is $250, and the homes are worth $300 in property taxes.
Baldwin said he’d like to have a conversation with the homeowners before making a decision.
Shute wanted to know if the Gardner Lake Association was a homeowners association Gardner could deed the land to.
Cramer said the Gardner Lake Association doesn’t maintain the Gardner Lake roads.
Shute asked if the maintenance was a pressing need, and if the road had big potholes.
Cramer said if they did a temporary maintenance it would make the residents happy for now.
Melton said he wished to know their options, if they could fix the road temporarily now, and if they took control of the road could the city turn it into a public street.
“Why fix it first,” Baldwin said.
“Just to be nice,” Melton said. “Let’s go on the assumption they want a public street. It might help us build a bridge with Gardner Lake.”
Shute said he suggested an incentive to annex Gardner Lake into the City of Gardner.
A consensus among council members was reached to talk to homeowners on Lake Road 3 at Gardner Lake before deciding to fix the drive.