Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

November 22, 2009

Event timeline in the Meijer, Acme saga

August 2004 -- Acme Township board swept from office in Republican primary by candidates opposed to the Village at Grand Traverse, a 2.4-million-square foot commercial and mixed-use development that was to include a Meijer store. Lame duck board approved permit for the development, restricting new board's ability to review site plan.

October 2004 -- Concerned Citizens of Acme Township filed suit against the township to stop the Village at Grand Traverse.

November 2004 -- New township board takes office.

January 2005 -- Meijer and Village at Grand Traverse developers intervened in lawsuit, counter-sued new township board. Meijer submitted permit application for Lautner Commons, a Meijer development adjacent to proposed Village at Grand Traverse.

June 2005 -- Meijer's attorney signed contract with public relations firm Seyferth Spaulding, Tennyson and secretly funds Acme Taxpayers for Responsible Government. The citizens group and public relations firm, directed by Meijer, work together to overturn temporary moratorium on big box stores.

July 2005 -- Circuit Court judge overturned prior board's approval of Village at Grand Traverse; developers and Meijer appealed.

August 2005 -- Voters rejected 907-900 temporary moratorium.

May 2006 -- Meijer's attorney signed contract with Seyferth Spaulding, Tennyson, which secretly began work to recall the Acme board. Meijer filed personal lawsuits against township board members. Township board approved special-use permit for Lautner Commons, with conditions.

June 2006 -- Meijer filed suit in Circuit Court, stating the Lautner Commons conditions were illegal and unconstitutional.

November 2006 -- Recall petition signatures submitted.

December 2006 -- Township board dropped restrictions on hours of operation and requirement of brick facade in permit. Meijer declines to drop suit.

January 2007 -- Circuit Court judge ruled township board's remaining conditions on Lautner Commons legal. Meijer appealed.

February 2007 -- Circuit Court judge threw out personal lawsuits against township officials. Township board captured 58 percent of vote to fend off recall.

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