Gills Pier area Fiber to the Home project page
Over View of the Project - click on the PDF. The project started on Gills Pier. This roadway has many challenges that create conflicts between what is possible and what the Leelanau County road Commission (LCRC) will allow. The commission has been very responsive to our concerns. Your neighborhood champion Mike M. has been in attendance at each of the three onsite meetings to ensure that your needs are expressed. This is a difficult process but one everyone wants a solution. Sunday Oct 4, 2020 through Oct 7, 2020 you will see a number of flags being placed along Gills Pier Natural Beauty road. Pink flags will reflect the LCRC 28 foot from center line desire for utilities. White flags will reflect where CCC wants to plow and the other flags will reflect current utilities.
We encourage remote participation.
The township hall has limited space for social distancing.
Natural Beauty Road (NBR)
Natural Beauty Road - the segment of Gills Pier that is dirt is a register Natural Beauty road. For CCC to improve the roadway (install fiber) we must conduct a public meeting and receive township approval. Once the approval is obtained we can be issued a permit. Click on PDF for an overview of the improvements. The meeting will be Oct 13, 2020 at 7:00pm at the Leelanau Township hall. It is critical that you attend this meeting and express your support.
If you live on a private road we will require easement access. If you have not received your easement request please e-mail and request we re-send the easement. If you live on a county road or state road we do not require an easement agreement. However, if you want to be connected we will request an easement. Private road as part of this project are:
N Onominese Trail
Old Farm Rd
Sample easement for Leelanau Township
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LCRC commissioners - Oct 6, 2020 meeting - CCC request to the commission
E-mail to LCRC (with minor edits):
Cherry Capital Connection, LLC has launch a plan to bring Fiber to the Home that will affect over 350 households.
This project started at the corner of M-22 and Gills Pier road. Our staking sheets submitted placed our conduit and vaults at 25 foot from center line of the road ROW. When the permit was issued there were a number of restrictions that have been discussed and reviewed. We have met with LCRC, Neighborhood champions, Team Fick Underground, the LC drain commission, EGLE, and a number of neighbors along the route. Each of these meetings addressed challenges and resulted in defining priorities and establishing variations to allow the project to move forward. These discussion points have been documented and published.
We were pleased to see that the Leelanau County Road Commission, EGLE, Leelanau County Commissioners, Leelanau Township, MDOT, FCC, and the current federal administration all have documents published since 2017 in support of expanding communication services and delivering cost effective high speed internet and telephone service through fiber to all households. 2017 LCRCC published a resolution that created a framework that outlined the unique needs in addressing Communication deployments in the ROW. These aspects created a unique path for Communications verses other utilities. Paragraph 3.1 is a key point of this resolution.
There are always barriers that need to be addressed with any construction project and LCRC has been very responsive to discussing the many natural, political and regulatory barriers that exist in today’s environment. The goal in our discussions has been and remains "how to create solutions" for a very complicated and broad reaching project with many components.
There is a section of Gills Pier road that has been designated a Natural Beauty Road (NBR) section. This area is defined as the unpaved section of road at the north end of Gills Pier road. Approximately 5,000 feet. At the core of this designation there is an intent to create a process that provides public input on all changes that may affect this section of road and to ensure that any changes to the road minimize the characteristics or character of the roadway.
Unfortunately we have been unable to find any published documents regarding how the LCRC staff should address this unique designation. However, based on the designation and the state legislation that created this designation it is clear that any ROW access or maintenance along this section of road would require special treatment, special practices and additional guidance be given to the administrative team to respond to this unique road way. This may require a separate set of rules or authority be granted to the LCRC administration staff to full-fill the needs of those impacted by the NBR.
Our original plan was to bore at 25 feet along the west side of the ROW. This would require approximately 16 sections of the ROW to be cleared of trees so we could position our equipment. Each clearing would require a minimum area 9 feet deep and 20 feet wide. Over the past two weeks, during multiple meetings, it is clear that removing trees or changing the grade to position our equipment is unacceptable. We agree. Additionally, to meet the 28 foot to 33 foot utility easement would cause even more disruption including in many cases, relocating property owner landscaping.
To minimize and possibly eliminate the negative impact on the NBR, we suggest plowing (knifing) along the road way to provide an acceptable solution. We would compact the blade cut which would aid in restoration. The exact measurement or distance from the center line of the road and what side of the road is not yet known. On Monday 10-5-2020 we will be meeting with the regional director of USIC Ron to walk the route, review their maps and attempt to identify the exact path based on the discovery of existing utilities. USIC no longer marks for engineering efforts so the process has been a bit more challenging. Ideally we would plow using a west side path, at an estimated 14-16 feet from center line of ROW (edge of tree line), at 36”-48” depth and minimize the number road crossings. The vaults would be on the backside of this path. The road crossing would take advantage of driveways to position our equipment (eliminating tree removal). We suspect there are existing utilities (phone and electric) on both sides of the road. We would ask that as we enter the Natural Beauty Road (NBR) area that we have the ability to start on the east side for crossing under the small stream (we will first try to bore at 10 below feet under the stream). We will apply for an EGLE review / permit if any variation of the 10 feet is needed. At the earliest point in the route we would transition to the west side taking care to avoid the stream along the west edge of the road. The stream closely parallels the NBR as you enter from the south so transitioning back to the west side would be past the big curve.
Once we walk the route Monday Oct 5, 2020 we will provide LCRC staff notes from this meeting. We anticipate flagging the route through Oct 7, 2020. Additionally we will encourage all residents to review the flag positions.
There is a meeting Oct 13, 2020 at the Leelanau County township hall at 7:00pm to discuss the NBR. Currently we have 166 consumers signed up for this project and 30+ appear to be on the NBR stretch of road. We ask that you authorize flexibility for this unique situation, allow the administration to approve the changes agreed to at the Leelanau Township public meeting and issue a permit is issued shortly after the meeting using similar timeframes used for other NBR requests. Everyone has made it clear that getting fiber is an extremely important factor for the economic success of the region and delays may put this at risk.
Thank You for your consideration and I look forward to listening to your discussion on Oct 6, 2020.
Timeline newest on top
Plow arrived on site
Easements for private roads prepared for sending
Meeting schedule for NBR with Leelanau Township
Letter for Oct 6, 2020 meeting of LCRC - introduction of NBR sent to LCRC commissioners
Application to EGLE for on site meeting submitted
Review of plans with LCRC for transitioning from boring to plowing
Conduit Installed from 7583 N GILLS PIER RD to 7681 N GILLS PIER RD
Crossing second creek is an issue - permit required with EGLE 7562 N GILLS PIER RD
Conduit in road way to 7485 N GILLS PIER RD
Metro act application sent to Leelanau Township
Consumers Energy plans to bring electrical service to Shed approved
Received LCRC ROW permit
Middle mile fiber installed Gills Pier
Middle mile fiber installed Elk Rapids primary path to WWW
Lease and easement for 7217 Gills Pier Rd signed