Resident Information

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The Ottawa County Road Commission accepts both online and in person for payment for your water/sewer bill. A 3% convenience fee will be automatically added to your order total for credit card payments.

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Resident FAQs

General

How does the Road Commission receive funding?

There seems to be a common misunderstanding that the Road Commission receives funding from property taxes. The Road Commission does not directly receive any property tax revenues other than funds that are authorized and paid by a Township for a specific project or service.

The Road Commission receives revenues from the State of Michigan through Public Act 51 of 1951 which guides the State in the collection and disbursement of the fuel tax, vehicle registration, and vehicle weight taxes that are to be deposited in the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) The funds the Road Commission receives from the MTF are primarily utilized to maintain the county certified road system.

Understanding Road Funding

How do I make a service request?

Service requests can be made by calling our main office during normal business hours at (616) 842-5400 or the online service request form can be utilized.
The online service request form is easy to use. Simply provide your name, email, telephone number, address, township, and the type of service requested with an approximate location. The Road Commission has received thousands of electronic requests.

Most of the requests are for pothole repair, but other maintenance items such as washouts, ditching, and tree removals are submitted as well. Traffic concerns and traffic control inquiries can be submitted online.

The online requests are opened each business day and then given to the appropriate department for a field review. Usually within a few days, a response is given to the requestor or the service has been performed.

Submit a Service Request

What do I do if my mailbox is damaged?

If a mailbox is damaged by Road Commission equipment or snow thrown from Road Commission equipment during winter maintenance operations, the property owner may receive a new standard mailbox and/or a single 4”x4” wood post at one of the garage locations.

The property owner is responsible to remove the damaged mailbox/post and to install the replacement mailbox/post.

The locations are open Monday through Friday, except on holidays or observed holidays established by the Board. Appointments are made between the hours of 7:30AM and 3:30PM. Please call (616) 842-5400 for an appointment.

The property owner shall provide either the actual damaged mailbox/post or a photo of the actual damaged mailbox/post before a new standard mailbox and/or a single 4”x4” wood post can be issued. Upon receipt of a new mailbox and/or post, the property owner shall sign a register and provide the property address.

Mailbox Damage & Replacement Policy

What should I keep in mind when shoveling/plowing driveways?

Homeowners should be aware that shoveling or plowing snow from driveways onto or across roads is illegal (Act 82 of 1978, vehicle code 257.677A) because it can present a serious traffic hazard to motorists.

Instead, pile the snow behind the curb or shoulder on your side of the road. Be sure to place snow to the right as you face the road, so plows will push it away from, rather back into, the driveway entrance. It is also important to avoid vision obstructions. Care should be taken not to impede the flow of stormwater from melting snow in the ditches or culverts.

Citizens should also make certain that their trash containers are not placed too close to the edge of the road before snow removal has taken place.

Traffic & Safety

Will a stop sign slow down traffic on my street?

Stop signs installed at the wrong place for the wrong purpose usually create more problems than they solve. One common misuse of stop signs is to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, either by causing it to stop or by causing such an inconvenience that motorists are forced to use other routes.

Traffic studies indicate that there is a high incidence of intentional violations where stop signs are installed as “nuisances” or “speed breakers.” The studies also show that drivers increase their speeds between unwarranted stop signs to make up for the lost time. Based on these studies and the increased speeds of drivers on streets with unwarranted stop signs, the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) clearly states that “Stop signs shall not be used for speed control.”

A stop sign placed at the right place and under the right conditions, tells drivers and pedestrians who has the right of way.

Can a speed bump be placed on my street?

A speed bump is a bump of asphalt about a foot wide, 3 to 4 inches high, and placed laterally across the traveled portion of the road. However, the speed bump poses as an increased hazard to motorists, the cause of an undesirable increase in noise, and a real problem for snow removal.

The purpose of a speed bump is to make the ride over it uncomfortable for the driver, encouraging him/her to reduce their speed. With the various vehicle suspensions and wheel bases, the speed bump has shown an inability to successfully control speeds.

Speed bumps can cause maintenance problems to any vehicle and increase response time for emergency services. Because speed bumps have considerable potential for liability suits, Michigan has officially rejected them as a standard traffic control device on public streets.

The control of speeding in neighborhoods is a widespread concern which requires compliance by residents, patience and persistent effort by law enforcement – not speed bumps.

Can I place Handicap, Deaf, Blind, Special Needs Child, or Pedestrian Area warning signs on my street?

The use of Handicap, Deaf, Blind, Special Needs Child, or Pedestrian Area warning signs is limited to situations and locations meeting approval of the Ottawa County Road Commission.

Requests for such signs shall be made in writing and include a physician’s certification/letter indicating extent of handicap. The requesting party will also need to advise the Road Commission on an annual basis as to the continued need of these warning signs.

The number and location of these warning signs will be determined by the Road Commission and generally will be limited to the roadway serving the handicap person’s residence.

The installation cost will be the responsibility of the requesting resident and all costs to maintain sign(s) will be paid by the Road Commission.

Can a Children at Play sign be placed on my street?

At first consideration, it might seem that a Children at Play sign would provide some safety for youngsters playing in a neighborhood. Unfortunately, this type of sign encourages parents to believe that children have an added degree of protection; which the signs do not and cannot provide.

Studies have shown that this type of sign provides no evidence of reducing pedestrian crashes or vehicles speeds. Obviously, children should not be encouraged to play in the roadway. The Children at Play sign is a direct and open suggestion that it is acceptable to do so.

Federal standards discourage the use of this sign and they are not even recognized in Michigan’s traffic sign manuals. As an alternative, the Road Commission strives to remove vision obstructions to provide a safe roadway for both pedestrians and motorists.

Can I get a Deer Crossing sign installed on my road?

Because deer crossing signs have shown to be of little or no value in reducing motor vehicle/deer crashes and the scattered nature of the problem, we do not inventory or install these signs nor do we allow the installation of these signs within the public right-of-way by others.

Permitting

What is a right-of-way encroachment?

Michigan law prohibits the placement of any object, except authorized mailbox mountings, within the county road right-of-way unless that object is permitted by the Road Commission.

In many instances, property owners or contractors place fences, rocks/boulders, trees/shrubs, earthwork (including berms), signs, or other objects within the road right-of-way as a measure of improving landscape. However, these fixed objects often become hazards to errant motorists, vision obstructions, or interfere with road and public utility improvements.

The Road Commission asks for everyone’s cooperation in keeping the road right-of-way free of all potential hazards and future road and public utility improvement conflicts.

Right-of-Way Encroachment Policy

Why are concrete drive approaches not permitted on non-curbed roads?

The Road Commission is no longer permitting the placement of concrete in the right-of-way for new or reconstructed driveways on non-curbed roads.

During summer or winter maintenance operations, such as plowing snow or grading the shoulder, the equipment may catch the edge of the concrete with the snow blade or grading devices. This could cause injury to the driver and damage to the equipment.

The restoration or replacement of concrete driveways for reconstruction, resurfacing, or other improvement projects, typically will increase project costs by delaying the progress of the work to allow for proper curing, as well the fixed cost of placing concrete instead of other approved materials.

When is a permit required for work within the right-of-way?

In accordance with Act 200 of the Public Acts of 1969, any activity or use of county road right-of-way other than for highway travel purposes does require a permit from the Road Commission.
A permit is required from the Road Commission for any and all work being conducted within the road right-of-way whether it is by a contractor or a property owner.

Some examples of work that typically require a permit are:

  • Adding or improving a driveway approach
  • Adding, improving, or maintaining a public or private utility
  • Adding or improving a sidewalk or non-motorized path
  • Adding storm water to or improving a roadside drainage system
  • Surveying and other engineering operations
  • Placing a banner, decoration, or similar object
  • Closing a section of road for a parade, celebration, festival, demonstration, or similar activity
  • Grading or excavation, landscaping, tree planting, tree trimming or tree removal
  • Any construction activity that impacts storm water runoff into or around county road right-of-way
  • Standard mailboxes are allowed without a permit in the road right-of-way.
Where and what type of mailbox can be installed in the right-of-way?

The location and construction of mailboxes shall conform to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Postal Service and the following Ottawa County Road Commission standards. These standards are based on guidelines established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

LOCATION

The roadside face of the mailbox shall be offset 8 inches from the outside edge of the road shoulder. On curbed streets, the roadside face of the mailbox shall be set back 8 inches from the face of the curb. On residential streets without curbs, or on all-weather shoulders which carry low-traffic volumes and which operate at low speeds, the roadside face of a mailbox shall be offset 24 inches behind the edge of the pavement. Where guardrail is present the mailbox shall be placed behind the guardrail with the face of the box even with the back of the rail. Where a mailbox is located at an intersecting road, it shall be located a minimum of 100 feet from the intersection.

STRUCTURE

Mailboxes shall be constructed of sheet metal, plastic or similar weight materials, with weight not to exceed 11 lbs. No more than two mailboxes may be mounted on a support structure unless the support structure and mailbox arrangement meet American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standards. However, lightweight newspaper boxes may be mounted below the mailbox on the side of the mailbox support or on a separate post alongside. A single 4-inch x 4-inch or 4-1/2-inch diameter wooden post or a metal post with strength no greater than a 2-inch diameter standard strength steel pipe and embedded no more than 24 inches into the ground will be acceptable as a mailbox support. Mailbox supports shall not be fitted with an anchor plate (metal post) nor shall they be set in concrete. The post-to-box attachment details should be of sufficient strength to prevent the box from separating from the top post if the installation is struck by a vehicle.

VIOLATIONS

Any mailbox that is in violation of these regulations shall be immediately removed by the owner upon notification by the road commission. If the owner has not removed the mailbox, the road commission, in accordance with M.S.A. 9.251, will issue the owner an Encroachment Removal Order, whereupon the owner will be granted 30 days to remove the unacceptable mailbox. Thereafter, the mailbox will be removed by the Road Commission at the owner’s expense.