Citizens of Alma who live in the Country Meadows Estates neighborhood presented a petition to the city council on Nov. 19 in an effort to block off five dead-end streets after problems arose when construction was being held at Crawford County Storage.
The storage business is owned by Jim and Amy White. The facility sits behind the neighborhood and has been undergoing construction over the last month. Residents also appeared at the city council meeting in October to bring the issue to the city.
The reported problems involve the number of cement trucks that have been utilizing a dead-end to the road to gain access to the back of the storage facilities property. The property sits on 10 acres of land. More storage units are currently being added.
According to the residents, the trucks have left large amounts of dirt on the roads in the neighborhood, which subsequently turned to mud when it rained, as well as working as early as 4 a.m. which causes a disturbance. Residents also expressed concern for the safety of the children and people that live in the area with the increased amount of traffic that has arisen since the construction began.
"We have a safe neighborhood, and we plan to keep it that way," said one resident.
Alma Fire Chief Eddie Wakefield told the residents that one entrance on the dead-end road they were referring to needs to be open in case of emergencies. He stated that the entrance should only be used for emergencies and shouldn’t be seeing any other traffic. The closest fire hydrant is on that road, and Wakefield said that he isn’t sure if there is a waterline available in the event that a new fire hydrant could be placed closer to the storage facility.
Jim White was given permission to use the entrance for a short period of time so that the project could be finished, according to Alma Mayor Jerry Martin.
"The problem is that we don’t have anything on the books to stop this," said Martin.
Amy White addressed the residents at the meeting by saying that no one has approached her or contacted their office in regards to the resident’s problem.
She stated that Jim White had gone to the planning commission to get information on what he should do before construction started earlier this year. The planning commission informed him that he would need an entrance in the back for emergencies. White explained that he did not want to use that entrance for any other reason other than for its intended purpose.
"Our front gate is the only gate where tenants are allowed in or out," said White in response to the residents worried about tenets utilizing the back entrance.
White reassured the residents that the storage facility has very high security with 30 cameras and 20 more being installed in the future.
White stated that they are finished laying concrete and that problem the residents had is now over.
"We’re sorry it happened, but it is a construction site," said Jim White.
According to Amy White, a city council member went onto the construction site and questioned one of the workers. She expressed how this in and of itself was dangerous and shouldn’t have been done. She also added that a group of residents, including the city council member, blocked off the entrance so that a worker could not get through.
Alma City Council Member John Ware made a motion to send the petition to the planning commission. The planning commission will look over the petition and make a decision on what to do with the dead-end roads.