• July 29, 2020 Update

  • RE: Hannah Farms/Senior Center Update


    Hello Neighbors:

    As an update on the proposed senior living community to be built directly to the west of Indian Lakes Estates (ILE), we have made progress in identifying an advisory engineering firm as discussed in our last update of July 8th. You may recall following the June 22, 2020 Meridian Township Planning Commission meeting that many ILE homeowners had lingering concerns about surface water management on the planned project property, as well as the failure of the Commission to properly address the natural features survey requirement. Therefore, the ILEHA Board identified an ad hoc advisory committee chaired by our Board Treasurer, Sean Looman. Sean was joined by ILE homeowners David Skole and Joe Cissell, and they were tasked to help the Board in its search for an advisory engineering firm. Such a firm will provide ILEHA with an independent engineering review to insure that any proposed surface water management plan directs water away from ILE. The group contacted 9 engineering firms to gauge interest in potentially bidding and 3 expressed interest. Bidding documents were then prepared and sent to the 3 interested parties. Of the 3, two responded—Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc., and ASTI Environmental. Please recognize that comparatively our job is small and many of these firms derive their primary work from various units of government and are therefore not inclined to take on small jobs or efforts that place them opposite their primary client base.


    The Ad Hoc Committee bidding documents included a scope of work identifying tasks to be completed. After much review and consideration, the group has recommended ASTI of Brighton, Mi. The Board is now prepared to accept the Ad Hoc Committee recommendation, and although a number of neighbors have already voiced their support for moving in this direction, we wanted to reach out to ILE homeowners to ensure we are aligned. The ASTI bid is $3,150. In addition, their per hour rate for any additional services that may be needed over and above those described in the contract is $175.


    The ILEHA Board has budgeted $3,400 for this effort. We believe we can manage this work within the current year budget (see attached) by temporarily postponing the repair to the Mohican Park irrigation system ($2,000) and earmarking our projected carryforward balance ($1,375) for this effort. The Board will wait until 3 pm. Friday July 31, 2020 before notifying ASTI of their award in an effort to make sure we are all on board with this approach. Should any homeowner have concerns with this direction, please contact any Board member before 3 pm. Friday. Board members and their contact information can be found on our website, www.ileha.org . We recognize that this is a rapid turnaround but the Advisory Committee just finished up their deliberations today and it is important we have things in place with our contractor so we are prepared to act immediately when the site plan details and/or surface water engineering data are released by the developer Andev


    Next, as also mentioned in our previous communication, the Board has confirmed that the Planning Commission did indeed violate procedures when Commissioner Premoe abruptly ended discussion regarding the natural features survey. Robert’s Rules do allow for a member participant to end debate by moving the previous question. However, at the time Premoe made this motion to end debate, there were actually two motions on the table. The Planning Commission only acted on the original motion of approving Special Use Permit #20011. They failed to also act on the second motion, which was made by Commissioner McConnell to update the natural features survey/report. We were further advised by counsel that the failure to follow procedure is not necessarily fatal and does not invalidate the decision. However, the ILEHA Board feels strongly that we need to go on record not only regarding the failure to follow established procedures but to indicate that the natural features survey/report that is part of the required current package as submitted by Andev is incomplete, outdated and not accurate. Further, many of our neighbors took the time to not only give testimony on this topic but submit extensive correspondence, particularly Linda and Greg Humbert and Professor David Skole. As we continue to move thru the process, it is import that our concerns are not dismissed and trampled, and, that we hold Township officials accountable. Therefore, the ILEHA Board has asked that our legal counsel Mr. Kevin Roragen issue a letter on our behalf with respect to both the failure to follow procedure as well as the inadequacy of the natural features report currently submitted.


    Finally, the Township process moving forward remains unchanged from our last communication. On August 6, 2020 at 6 pm. the Meridian Township Board of Trustees will take up Special Use Permit (SUP) #20021 (Andev Group, LLC). This is the second SUP relative to the senior center. The first SUP (#20011) was approved by the Planning Commission and that dealt with land use. This SUP is for projects that exceed constructing a building of 25,000 square feet and they must go to the Township Board for approval. The Planning Commission only makes a “recommendation” to the Meridian Board of Trustees in these instances. The Board will not be conducting a public hearing on this matter but will only be taking it up for Board discussion. However, there will be an opportunity to comment publicly. At the top portion of the agenda under “Citizens Address Agenda and Non Agenda Items” (usually item no. 5) and later in the meeting (usually item no. 14) on the agenda noted as “Comments from Public”, are both opportunities to provide public comment. In each instance, comments are limited to 3 minutes. We would encourage all interested homeowners to participate. Certainly comments concerning the Planning Commission’s failure to allow for full discussion and debate regarding the natural features survey and our continued concerns regarding surface water--both from the historical perspective of past development of the Hannah Farms area into one of the largest impervious surfaces in the Township as well as the currently proposed development of the senior center would be appropriate. The August 6th Township Board meeting will be conducted as a virtual meeting and information on how to join will be available on the Township Website https://www.meridian.mi.us/. This will be the same process that we followed for the Township Planning Commission meetings last month. Click on “meetings” then again on the “August 6 Township Board meeting”. Directions will be provided along with the packet for the meeting, including the agenda. It is not expected that the Township Board will vote on the SUP in this meeting but only take it up as a discussion item. Voting is likely to take place at a future meeting, perhaps on August 18, 2020. We will keep you posted.


    I apologize for the length of the correspondence but there are a number of moving parts and we want to make sure that all our members are updated and have the latest information. Also, the Board would like to extend a special thanks to our Ad Hoc Advisory Committee of Sean Looman, Joe Cissell and Dave Skole. The group has spent several hours working on behalf of our neighborhood to help insure that any surface water management plan proposed by the developer of the senior center eliminates storm water run-off and directs it away from ILE.


    Kindest Regards, Joe

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