Outcry at Nixon Roundabout DEQ Public Hearing
The MDEQ held a Public Hearing on Thursday, January 12 for the Roundabout being planned at the Nixon Green DhuVarren Intersection Re-Alignment and Roundabout on the state Water Resources permit application for the project. All commenters were opposed to the permit application and many attendees had critical questions in the informal discussion after the hearing comments.
John Katers, of OHM, spoke of the roundabout design and process and on the wetlands impact and that the expected watershed would be held under the road.
Kathy Griswold, a long time pedestrian safety advocate in Ann Arbor, spoke on roundabouts and how she likes them, but under these conditions, a roundabout is not a good solution for the traffic patterns, pedestrian safety, and wetlands impact
Jeff Hayner, a NextDoor lead, commented on concerns with the application including how the water carrying capacity will be replaced that will be lost by filling in wetland, that the wetlands mitigation (replacement) would not be on the site, and the wetland credits were being bought from a non-existent wetlands mitigation bank.
Jennifer Steiner, a Nixon Road resident downhill of the intersection spoke on the water problems she is already having from the ongoing development the roads and intersection cut through. She also asked the MDEQ to consider requiring the wetlands mitigation to replace the lost wetland to be nearby.
Usha Jindal, President of Arbor Hills, shared how she thought the DEQ needed to be more careful in protecting the wetlands that are ecologically valued in this area and that she would rather have signaling lights at the intersection to walk across safely than worry about if it is ugly
Jane Klingsten, President of the Nixon Alliance commented that the wetlands impact is avoidable by using an alternate design, and a species survey needs to be done to make sure the wetland does not support Trumpeter Swans like those breeding nearby. She stated that without signaled crossings, the designed roundabout is not considered accessible for disabled persons under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
During the discussion following comments, attendees questioned the DEQ accepting wetlands mitigation credits from a wetlands bank that doesn’t exist. Others asked about why the state wasn’t adding a bond for the permit and wanted the wetlands filled to be replaced nearby.