Traverse City Record-Eagle

Meijer-Acme Township Dispute

April 30, 2009

No ‘goodwill gesture’ yet for Acme residents

TRAVERSE CITY — Acme residents won’t be on the receiving end of any immediate goodwill gesture in the wake of a lawsuit settlement between township officials and a development group led by Meijer, Inc.

Meijer and developer The Village at Grand Traverse agreed to pay five township officials a combined $1.5 million to drop the suit, but for now, the Acme community received only an apology and a no-more-lawsuits pledge.

The Record-Eagle reported in March that a tentative settlement could include some gift from Meijer to the Acme community, based on a statement by Traverse City attorney Michael Dettmer, who represented the Acme officials.

Dettmer this week said Meijer has discussed possible efforts to make amends with a township government it’s battled since 2004, but he has not been involved in those talks.

Acme Supervisor Wayne Kladder confirmed Meijer representatives and township attorney Chris Bzdok have spoken, but both Kladder and Bzdok declined to comment on the nature of those conversations.

Steve Smith, The Village’s managing partner, recently stopped by township offices to discuss reopening a stalled special use permit for his project, Kladder said.

Smith wants to create a mixed-use commercial and residential development anchored by Meijer on 180 acres along M-72 and Lautner Road.

Smith has partial approval for phase one, which involves the anchor store and adjoining commercial development.

Kladder said Smith offered property on the site for township use. He also offered to donate property to Grand Traverse Metro Fire Authority if it decides to build a new fire station in Acme Township, Kladder said.

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