Several Chesterfield Township homeowners say their peace and privacy have been disrupted after the original buffer from their subdivision and I-94 was torn down.
The residents complained Monday night to the Board of Trustees that the fence and looming trees that were removed in 2010 during a construction project has led to loud freeway noises, debris and no privacy from the prying eyes of expressway motorists.
"This tree line was our only barrier," said Carole DeMara of the Winchester Village Subdivision near eastbound I-94 and Donner. "What they did was unacceptable."
The subdivision residents told the board, which hadn't heard of those complaints before, they believed the Michigan Department of Transportation tore down their trees while widening the 23 Mile expressway ramp. Smaller trees that do not obstruct freeway noise and views were installed as replacements, homeowners say.
But it was the Macomb County Drain Commission--not the Michigan Department of Transportation that tore down the trees, MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi told Patch.
The county requested permission from MDOT to access its property for a sewer project near the Winchester Village sub, Morosi said Tuesday.
"The Macomb County Drain Commission filed a permit with MDOT in order to work on the right of way. They needed to put in some sanitary sewer interceptors," he said of the newer, larger lines to help ease flow to the sewage plant. "They had removed mature trees in that area and they planted new trees.”
Macomb County Public Works Construction Manager Shane Slanec said the county did tear down the trees to access the lines, but it will replace some of the newly planted trees that have since died. There are no other plans to beef up a barrier between the sub and the freeway, he said.
"As of our project, that's 90 percent complete," Slanec said Wednesday. "We'll keep up on the restoration part of it."
Carole and Lenny DeMara said they have lived in the subdivision for 23 years and the replacement trees will take decades to grow to the size of the original trees. In the meantime, the views from their home have changed from greenery freeway cars or nearby businesses.
"My heart dropped as that bulldozer came and ripped out that fence and those trees," Lenny DeMara told the Board of Trustees. "It's terrible what they did and I'm shaken. Our neighbors are shaken."
Chesterfield Supervisor Michael Lovelock told the subdivision residents that he would look into the matter on their behalf and get back to them.