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Re: E-M:/ Meridian Twp UPDATE



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Enviro-Mich message from Terry Lodge <tjlodge50@yahoo.com>
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  Anne, it sounds as though this lawsuit is patently
ridiculous and will waste a court's time en route to
the foregone conclusion that the referendum must be
abided.

  I would encourage Meridian Township opponents of
this developer to demand that the township legal
counsel immediately notify the developer's lawyers
that this lawsuit has been commenced in bad faith and
that when it is dismissed, sanctions will be sought
against, not just the developer for attorneys' fees,
but against the developers' legal counsel.

   Time to SLAPP back.

     Terry Lodge

--- anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org wrote:
>
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> Enviro-Mich message from
> anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
>
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> 
> 
> Yes, I know you have all missed the soap opera
> updates from Meridian 
> Township.  It is not that things have been quiet, it
> is just that the most 
> outrageous stuff has had little to do with
> environmental issues recently, 
> so have not been appropriate for posting on
> Enviro-Mich.  But, not 
> surprisingly, that has been remedied!
> 
> Developer sues to overturn referendum
> 
> On January 19, the owner/developer of a parcel whose
> rezoning to commercial 
> from residential was overturned by a vote of the
> people in Meridian Twp., 
> filed suit in Igham County Court to have the
> referendum thrown out.  
> Reading the complaint is quite an experience.  Aside
> from 
> misrepresentations of fact (including maps that
> inaccurately show the 
> parcel on the Twp's Master Plan) the complaint
> ignores entirely that state 
> law allows the voters of a community to bring a
> referendum on a rezoning to 
> to act as the appeal body for decisions of the
> elected officials.  In fact, 
> it is abundantly clear that the underlying intent of
> this and similar 
> litigation is to get rid of this critical right of
> citizens in Michigan to 
> revisit on the ballot controversial decisions on
> zoning in their 
> communities.
> 
> Even more outrageous, however, is the quote from the
> atty. for the 
> developer which appears in the Community News today.
>  Howard Soifer of 
> Loomis, Ewert et al. is quoted as saying about the
> overturning of the 
> zoning by the voters that "it would be synonymous to
> the voters of Meridian 
> Township  passing a law that no blacks or Jews can
> live in Meridian 
> Township."  Soifer argues that the rezoning deprived
> the developer of its 
> rightful use of its land, even though there was and
> is nothing preventing 
> the property from being developed consistent with
> its current zoning (a 
> portion commercial, a portion multi-family
> residential, a portion single 
> family residential). In fact, it becomes clear that
> the logical progression 
> of the position of this developer through their
> attorney is that virtually 
> any zoning would be illegal and a violation of the
> rights of the landowner. 
>  This seems to reflect the increasingly aggressive
> attitudes of some 
> developers who chafe at the idea that they are
> required to meet any 
> standards that protect the community's interest and
> provide balance between 
> the interests of the developer and the community.  
> 
> One of the dilemmas of this kind of case, however,
> is also clear.  The 
> voters had to act in order to overturn an action of
> their Township Board 
> that was in conflict with community values, as well
> as with the 
> Comprehensive Plan for the township in this case. 
> Yet, the defendant is 
> the very Township Board that spurned the concerns of
> the community in 
> approving the zoning in the first place.  And this
> Board has already been 
> the losing party on a lawsuit brought by another
> developer challenging a 
> previous referendum.  There is an inherent conflict
> of interest for the 
> defendant in such lawsuits which puts the developer
> and the elected 
> officials on the same side versus the voters of the
> community, who are not 
> automatically party to such a case. 
> 
> Since this case has just been filed, it is not clear
> when this issue will 
> be argued in court.
> 
> Meridian Issues Committee calls Town Hall Meeting
> 
> In reaction what is by unanimous consent the most
> contentious community in 
> the state of Michigan on land use and virtually
> every other issue, a group 
> of Meridian Township residents have joined together
> to try to reinject 
> civility and common sense into our community, and to
> restore the community 
> values and spirit that we all once shared.  To that
> end, the Meridian 
> Issues Committee has called a Town Hall Meeting on
> Thursday, February 3, at 
> the Township Hall building.  This Town Hall Meeting
> will provide a chance 
> for residents who have become increasingly
> disillusioned with our township 
> government to share their ideas, visions and
> concerns for the community, 
> including on issues such a traffic, preservation of
> green space and other 
> issues the influence our quality of life.  The Town
> Hall Meeting starts at 
> 7 p.m., and will be televised on the HOM-TV cable
> channel in Meridian 
> Township.  All Meridian Twp. residents are welcome!
> 
> 
> Anne Woiwode
> 
> 
> 
>
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