Planned subdivision raises ire
Safety concerns on Akron Road in Dayton
By James Card
Residents who live along Akron Road in Dayton voiced their concerns about traffic safety at the town board meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Work is underway for a planned subdivision of waterfront homes on Gooseneck and McLean Lakes and traffic has increased due to work trucks and heavy equipment.
Residents also argued about the future traffic that the subdivision would bring and why Akron Road was chosen as an egress instead of connecting a road to County Trunk E.
Akron Road runs near the east side of Bass Lake, then doglegs southwest into an isthmus formed by Bass Lake and Gooseneck Lake. It dead ends at the end of the isthmus on the west side of both lakes.
Akron Road is 18-feet wide. For context, 28 feet curb-to-curb is a widely accepted minimum for a neighborhood street.
One lane on an U.S. interstate is a standard 12 feet.
It may be difficult or legally impossible to widen the road because of the presence of wetlands, water buffers and two boat landings.
The two public boat landings on each lake are popular with anglers and kayakers.
Because the landings are right across from each other, there is cross-road traffic from people jumping from one lake to the other.
This is a popular destination because two small lakes can be easily explored in one trip because of the close proximity of the boat landings.
Besides the water recreation, common sights on the road are walkers, joggers, bicyclists and ATV riders, along with normal day-to-day traffic.
Akron Road resident Andrew Hunsick was the first to speak and he resubmitted a petition to the board that had more than 100 signatures.
The petition listed their concerns and the final statement declared: “Therefore, be it resolved that all construction traffic and other traffic for the new subdivision surrounding McLean and Gooseneck lakes be permitted to access said subdivision only by direct access to County Highway E.”
“Our main request is that when and if a preliminary plat or final plat is ever approved, that it contains some specification that instead of Akron Road being the egress and ingress to the subdivision, that it comes off of County Road E,” said Hunsick.
Don Richgels addressed the board and mentioned that he attended the previous land commission meeting via Zoom and he found two things of concern.
“The first one is one of the commissioners said at one point that, ‘Anyone can play the safety card,’ as if to dismiss the safety issue because one side can raise it and the other side can raise it,” Richgels said. “Well of course, that’s because safety always is an issue and that doesn’t mean it is any less an important issue. In this case, I urge you to weigh the importance of safety.”
Richgels continued: “At a certain point it the meeting last week, it seemed to me that some of the commissioners were concerned about protecting the developer’s investment. To me, especially now that we are at the level of elected officials, that is not a consideration that should be primary. A private person’s investment is not as important as the community’s concerns that are represented in this petition.”
Terrance Schmidt presented two exhibits to the board. They were enlarged images of construction equipment blocking the road and another that illustrated the narrowness of the road near the Bass Lake boat landing.
“As you can see, the width of this road is not acceptable, in my estimation, for anyone to travel as long as there is other equipment on it,” Schmidt said.
“I don’t know if you people think that Gooseneck Lake is like the rest of the lakes on the Chain. It’s not much of a lake. I think it’s sad that people are going to be buying over there. They’re not knowing what they’re buying and they are certainly making what we own, less. It’s a travesty that it all started out as 11 lots and now its 18 lots and we could never go off of E – but nobody knows why,” said Paul Haen, another Akron Road resident.
Robert Gurel, another Akron Road dweller, addressed the board: “We’ve come a long way since 2007 when the property was sold by the lodge which it became no longer a camp with pristine lakes but a property sold for private development. But that’s the way things go. When Mr. Gohlke first presented this in May of 2007 to the planning committee, it’s a far cry different from what we have now. The committee was thrilled that a conservation subdivision was planned in keeping with the nature of that area. It sounded good. 200 feet of frontage, two-acre lots, common spaces. It was beautiful and it received unanimous approval.
“Now, we’re down to 100-foot [waterfront] lots. It was proposed to have 11 lots, now it’s up to 18. Now I won’t dispute the use of that land but the lake is going to be terribly degraded and woods eliminated,” he said.
Richard Gohlke of Neshkoro is the owner and developer of the property. Jim Peglow, town supervisor, asked Gohlke if the construction traffic could be relocated off of Akron Road to a dirt access road off of County E for construction purposes and if that would be acceptable.
“It sure would,” said Gohlke. That was the only time he spoke during the meeting.
Access to subdivision
Then, Town Chair John Miller dwelled at length on what constitutes a private road versus a town-owned road.
If such a road were to exist, what specs are needed, would it be an access versus an access road, a private road versus a driveway, would turn-off lanes be needed on County E.
He finally came to the conclusion he would need to consult county highway experts.
Then, it was determined that the access road is actually in the town of Lind.