TRAVERSE CITY -- Acme resident Wally Skinner once stated he hoped the Meijer Inc. conflict in Acme Township was settled so the retailer could get on with building a store in the Grand Traverse County community.
About a year passed since Skinner shared his thoughts in a letter to the Record-Eagle. Since then, five Acme Township officials sued Meijer, and appear to have reached a settlement. But Skinner no longer really cares if Meijer builds a store in Acme.
He said he's fine with, or without it.
"You see what happened, I started going across the street to Tom's (Market) because they lowered their prices and to the new Oleson's on Hammond Road," Skinner said. "Whether Meijer decides to build or not, who knows."
Grand Rapids-based Meijer isn't discussing its plans in Acme Township.
But Acme Supervisor Wayne Kladder expects talks with Meijer President Mark Murray and Village at Grand Traverse LLC managing partner Steven Smith will resume.
"Their words were, 'We can't do anything until the lawsuits were settled,'" Kladder said. "Where I left off with communication ... was once everything was settled, including the lawsuits, we would talk again."
Kladder said he doesn't know if Smith will return to the table because the Village is still involved in a separate lawsuit filed by former Acme Township Treasurer Bill Boltres. Boltres sued Meijer in 2007 and settled the lawsuit late that year after he exposed Meijer's illegal campaign activity in 2005 and 2007 township elections.
Smith declined to comment.
Meijer has at least two options it can pursue if it wants to build a store, said township Manager Sharon Vreeland. Its special use permit for Lautner Commons, a small shopping center anchored by Meijer on M-72 and Lautner Road, expired in December 2008. To build on that location, Meijer will need to seek approval from the beginning.
A larger, mixed residential and commercial Village at Grand Traverse project across the street from Lautner Commons has an approved conceptual special use permit. It also requires special use permits for each of its phases. The permit for phase I, a proposed Meijer store, has been tabled at the township planning commission since 2004 because of litigation.
Vreeland said a court ruling at the end of February officially ended the zoning litigation issues and it might return to the planning commission at its April 27 meeting.
"There are still all these variables out there and you don't know what the world is going to throw at you between now and then," Vreeland said.