Saugatuck Township Officials Approve Having Attorney Enter Into Final Settlement Agreement With Fleming Bros.
Following a closed session meeting last week, the Saugatuck Township Board approved a motion directing its legal counsel to enter into a settlement with the owner of the dilapidated gas station sign, now taken down, at the I-196 Douglas exit/entrance.
The board did not discuss the matter after the executive session but simply passed the motion and said the next step was to have the settlement ratified, signed by all parties, to execute the stipulated final judgement.
Taking information provided by township officials, The Local Observer Newspaper previously reported in the September 18 edition that the township and Fleming Brothers Oil Co. President Thomas Fleming had already reached an out-of-court settlement.
Saugatuck Township Trustee Roy McIlwaine took great umbrage at the article, publicly expressing last Wednesday that it was misleading because, he asserted, no settlement had yet been reached until last Wednesday.
While the settlement had not yet garnered final approval by the township board, nor was ratified by the involved parties, there were apparently some agreements negotiated during the then-ongoing talks leading to a settlement, as indicated by Saugatuck Township Zoning Administrator Steve Kushion when he spoke to the paper on Tuesday, September 9.
“They (Fleming Brothers Oil Co.) are cleaning up the site, that is part of the settlement. I know the sign structure is coming down today,” Kushion told the paper then.
“We expect the (concrete road) barricades to be gone within the next year (also part of the legal settlement). They are a lot harder to move. The sign was a major eye sore. “Hopefully, that property will get some improvement, eventually maybe even have a business move there,” Kushion added.
Douglas city and township government leaders as well as the community at large had complained about how shabby and unwelcoming the I-196 Douglas exit/entrance appears, particularly the old, rusted twin pole tower that was there.
Those poles were the carcass of a once Marathon gas station sign removed more than 20 years ago.
To no avail, the township tried on numerous occasions in past years to get Fleming to take the sign down.
It was this year the township embarked on a lawsuit, citing the sign was unlawful per city ordinance because it was dilapidated and did not comply with height limits.
The township move had immediate results: the twin poles have now been gone for some two weeks.