Local Officials Keeping Tabs On Future Development Sites & Possible Impact On Wastewater System
Local governments using the wastewater treatment facility mostly serving the Tri-Community—the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas and Saugatuck Township—wants to keep tabs on future development, particularly on the property known as the Darby Parcels (by exit 41 at I-196) in Laketown Township, so as to see how that may impact existing water and sewer agreements.
Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere made the report during Monday’s council meeting. The Kalamazoo Lake Sewer and Water Authority (KLSWA) sells parts of its capacity to Laketown Township.
“It (possible future development of the Darby property and elsewhere) has everybody’s interest,” said LeFevere, referring to KLSWA and major constituent members of the Tri-Community.
The Darby Parcels have a long history—many years back a proposed Flying J truck stop project fell through due to strong public opposition and a responsive property owner, Dick Darby. The Darby property has also been the indirect culprit of lawsuits involving Tri-Community members and KLSWA.
“We know Dick (Darby) wants to do something there (east of the public carpool parking lot as well as across the street from it at exit 41 on Blue Star Highway. He’s talked about it for years,” Laketown Township Manager Al Meshkin told The Local Observer on Wednesday.
KLSWA recently sent a memo to Laketown Township officials informing them that KLSWA looks forward to the township’s cooperation in an engineering study to be conducted by Prein & Newhof meant to evaluate existing waste and water capacity as well as future needs, according to Meshkin.
“This (assessment process currently being conducted by KLSWA) is the first step in finding out the extent of possible development (of the Darby property),” said LeFevere.
Referring to the current agreement between KLSWA and Laketown, he added, “It is a matter of trying to make sure that the things that are going to get done are done in conformance with the agreement.”
Years back, KLSWA, via a contract, provided Laketown with 20,000 gallons per day of wastewater treatment capacity. More recently, about a decade ago, that capacity was increased to include 30,000 gallons more per day.
However, things haven’t gone smoothly.
In 2008, Douglas sued Saugatuck and KLSWA arguing that Saugatuck could not sell its excess wastewater treatment capacity to Laketown without first obtaining the consent of Douglas, as Douglas, under the authority’s formation, had the right of first refusal.