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E-M:/ legal issue: MHP rezoning

Enviro-Mich message from Susan Miller <smiller179@comcast.net>

I'd like some input on a potential groundwater mismanagement issue and the
possibility of legal action.   I own 19 acres of land in Lodi township (just
south of Ann Arbor) that has extensive wetlands.  Most of this land is
seasonally flooded beech-maple forest.  Lodi Township is being asked to
rezone 47 acres of land--bounding my property on two long borders--from
Agricultural to Mobile Home Park rezoning.  The aim is to expand the
existing Orchard Grove MHP (on Wagner, between Scio-Church and Waters).  No
one in the community wants the expansion--not the residents of the existing
park or the township planners or  the other neighbors--but historically
these MHP's get shoved down the throats of municipalities with law suits
initiated by the developers.

The groundwater issue is as follows.  The 47 acres proposed for the MHP fall
within the domain of the DEQ's new phase II groundwater regs.  I know there
are some wetlands on the property and I also know that these wetlands
interact a great deal with the more extensive wetlands on my own property.
When I asked the Lodi township supervisor whether the developer would have
to submit a plan for compliance with the new regs before getting rezoning,
she said that they would not.  Furthermore, she indicated that MHP's are not
governed by local governing bodies, but by a state level MHP-friendly
commission.  She thought it likely they would get by with non-compliance
with the groundwater regulations.  Even when MHP developers make public
promises to local governing boards in order to get developments approved,
they seldom follow through with what they've promised.  That scenario played
out 10 years ago when Orchard Grove MHP was first expanded.

I am particularly worried because a very high-density project like the
current Orchard Grove leaves essentially no undisturbed land.  Everything is
cement or turf.  Given the interaction with my property--which I hope to
preserve--I want to minimize disturbances that would negatively impact the
ecosystem.  I'm wondering if I have any grounds for suing the township board
should they fail to protect my property by rezoning the adjacent land with
full knowledge that such rezoning will in effect exempt this land from DEQ
groundwater regulations and degrade neighboring properties.

Any thoughts about the viability of such a strategy would be appreciated.

Susan Miller

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