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E-M:/ A loss for Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from "Liz Godfrey" <lizgodfrey@prodigy.net>

The Detroit Free Press

Bid to save shoreline appears over  

April 6, 2001  


NORTHPORT -- An attempt to save a half-mile tract of pristine Lake 
Michigan shoreline -- considered an ecological jewel by local and 
national conservationists -- appears to have failed.  

The privately held land is a potential nesting ground for the piping 
plover, a sparrow-sized shoreline bird on the federal endangered-
species list.  

Representatives of the Grand Rapids-based Wege Foundation had 
submitted a $13-million offer to buy the parcel adjacent to Leelanau 
State Park, but owners of the property rejected the offer and will 
proceed with development plans.  

Wege Foundation trustee Jonathan Wege said he was disappointed but 
not ready to give up.  

"I actually went up and walked around and apologized to the land for 
not coming through with what I wanted to do," Wege said.  

Foundation officials will meet next week to consider what Wege called 
"a more aggressive offer."  

The parcel of land is owned by Traverse City resident Frank Petty and 
several family members. Their attorney, Idaho-based Murray Feldman, 
said the family will continue with plans to subdivide the lakefront 
into 13 parcels and offer most of them for sale. He said family 
members plan to keep five lots for themselves.  

The lots are part of a condominium development called Magic Carpet 
Woods. The lots are for sale at more than $1 million each. In a 
letter faxed to a representative for Wege, Feldman said the "offer 
conflicts with the owners' own plans for their property."  

"Those goals are for that private property to be used for single-
family residences, while at the same time protecting the beach 
portion of the property for potential use by the piping plover," 
Feldman wrote.  

In a statement released through Feldman, Petty said: "In pursuing our 
family's land-use goals, we have complied with every township, state 
and federal requirement applicable. We have also volunteered with 
some programs that were not required. We have taken many measures to 
conserve the natural values on the property."  

Local environmentalists said they are disappointed by the family's 

"I think it's a real missed opportunity," said Brian Price, executive 
director of the Leelanau Conservancy, a Leland-based nonprofit 
organization that has sought for years to find a way to set that land 

"The family all has said it wants to receive a fair market offer," 
Price said. "We'd like them to consider it, but they seem to be going 
in a different direction. It's disappointing."  

But Price noted that the family has every right to do as it wishes.  

"I believe they have all the permits they need. It's private 
property," he said.

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