Home News RECAP: Town Board Meeting, May 10, 2016 – The 81, Conflict of...

RECAP: Town Board Meeting, May 10, 2016 – The 81, Conflict of Interest

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Peninsula Township Board Meeting | Jane Boursaw Photo
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I’ll publish the minutes for the Township Board meeting that took place last night, May 10, 2016, when they’re available. But here’s a brief recap of the meeting.

Conflict of Interest/Recusals – A somewhat lengthy discussion took place regarding board members’ possible conflicts of interest and recusals. Trustee Penny Rosi expressed dismay that Trustee Jill Byron was forced to recuse herself from any discussions or action regarding “The 81” development because Byron “liked” a Facebook page, Save the 81/Preserve Old Mission, organized by adjacent property owner Jim Komendera to bring awareness to the development. The group has since brought legal action against the developer. Of Byron’s recusal and Facebook “like,” which was ruled on by 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers as an “endorsement” of the group, Rosi said, “I think this thing went way over the top. It was not necessary.” She noted that township residents talk with board members all the time, and wondered if this constitutes a recusal, as well. Byron also does not feel the recusal is necessary, and has asked for a hearing on the matter.

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The 81 Public Hearing – Attorney Philip Settles, who has taken over “The 81” case from attorney Joseph Quandt (due to Quandt’s association with Township Supervisor Pete Correia), asked for an adjournment of the public hearing. He requested a special meeting on The 81 at a later date and larger venue, able to hold more township residents. This was voted on and approved.

During the “citizen comments” time, someone asked for a moratorium on developments the size of “The 81,” citing the fact that Peninsula Township currently has no Fire Board or fire chief and limited fire/rescue services at any given time. Not only is the entire Old Mission Peninsula community at risk, but adding large developments exacerbates the problem and might even cause homeowners’ insurance to go up, lacking adequate fire protection. A show of hands indicated that many in the audience agreed with this. “I pray that no one loses their home or burns up in a fire,” said township resident and park commissioner Anne Griffiths.

Kahn 2nd Opinion – This item centers on the land split of Township Supervisor Pete Correia. At a previous meeting, Peninsula Township Assessor Sally Akerley noted that the land was measured to the water’s edge, prompting questions from the board and audience about land being measured to the high water line. At last night’s meeting, Township Clerk Monica Hoffman said she has reached out to the Michigan Townships Association, as well as the supervisor in Saugatuck regarding the issue. They are waiting to hear back on findings.

Fire Board Resignations – The Township Board accepted the resignations of Fire Board members Sprenger, Atkinson, Andrus and Goode, submitted on April 4 and 5.

National Cherry Festival Race 2016 – The Board approved a Large Event Permit, and also approved Chateau Grand Traverse to host the start of the race.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

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  1. Thanks Jane for following this story. It’s great to have someone like you who understands how journalism can hold a spotlight on responsible government.


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