Thomson Town Board to vote on new road ordinance

If approved by the board, the ordinance will affect residents looking to build or extend property along private roads and driveways.

File: Esko_1.JPG
The census-designated place of Esko in Thomson Township. (Katie Rohman / 2019 file / Pine Journal)

The Thomson Town Board will vote on a new road ordinance this summer, which, if passed, will require new private driveways and roads to abide by certain requirements such as a minimum width and approved drainage systems.

A draft of the ordinance came before the town board during a work session on Wednesday, June 30, and will likely see a public hearing in July. It did not meet much pushback from the board, with just a few minor adjustments made at the work session.

According to town attorney Dave Pritchett, pre-existing private driveways and roads will not be required to change under the ordinance, unless the property owner wishes to extend their roadway or applies for a new building permit through the township.

RELATED: Esko's Northridge Park stage will get an upgrade The stage will most likely need to be relocated onto a concrete slab, which will be poured within the park.

RELATED: Thomson Township to see highway lane reduction Planning for the highway project is still in very early stages, with construction tentatively scheduled for 2024.


Road policies within Thomson Township have been a topic of discussion for a number of years, Pritchett said, and the ordinance will serve as an official means of enforcement.

He and Thomson Township zoning official Dan Stangle both emphasized that the main purpose of the ordinance is to ensure safe and adequate access to private properties. By determining minimum standard requirements for private roads and driveways, they hope to eliminate safety hazards pertaining to traffic and emergency vehicle access.

“We’re not looking to control things; we’re looking to protect,” Stangle said.

Under the ordinance, private driveways will be required to have a width of at least 33 feet, with private roads required to be at least 66 feet wide. However, a town officer may require private driveways to meet the 66-foot minimum if it is “reasonably conceivable that a private driveway could in the future become a private road or a public road, or if concerns such as topography, sight distance or other issues will affect use of the private driveway,” according to the draft of the ordinance.

A private driveway is currently defined in the ordinance as any privately owned and maintained road or driveway used to access three or fewer parcels of property, residences or places of business. Anything more would be considered a private road.

In addition to the minimum width requirements, private driveways and roads will also be required to have signage and drainage systems approved by the township.

Each private road and driveway will be required to have a written, recorded agreement for maintenance and use obligations for all affected owners and users. In instances where an agreement cannot be reached, a supplemental agreement detailed through the ordinance may be used. The agreement includes things such as snow removal standards and financial responsibilities of the involved parties.

Property owners found in violation of the road ordinance will be subject to fines up to $500, and violations will need to be corrected within 10 days of citation.


Pritchett said he hopes to bring the ordinance to a public hearing in July, at which time the board will listen to input from the community and adjust the ordinance as they see fit.

What To Read Next
Get Local