Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

April 30, 2009

Events in the Meijer, Acme Township saga

August 2004 — 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, however, subsequently approved permit for the development, restricting the incoming board’s ability to review the site plan.

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

November 2004 — New board took office.

January 2005 — Meijer and Village at Grand Traverse developers intervened in CCAT lawsuit, and 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 Inc. and Meijer secretly funded Acme Taxpayers for Responsible Government. That group and the PR firm, directed by Meijer, worked to overturn the township’s 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 defeated temporary moratorium by 907-900 tally.

May 2006 — Meijer’s attorney signed contract with Seyferth, Spaulding, which secretly began a campaign to recall the elected township 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 township’s special-use conditions were illegal and unconstitutional.

December 2006 — Township board dropped restrictions on Meijer’s hours of operation and requirement to include a brick facade in permit. Meijer declines to drop its suit.

January 2007 — Circuit Court judge ruled township board’s remaining conditions on Lautner Commons were 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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