Meridian Township Annexation?

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

Meet Gil White, the man behind the petition that put it all in motion.

In August, he circulated a document, signed by 11 residents of a 200 acre parcel of Meridian Township that means voters will decide if East Lansing can annex their property.

"I think East Lansing is a little more enlightened in its approach to land use policies," White explains.

He did it, he admits, so he personally can develop the land in question. In particular, he wants to build a multi-use, self-sufficient community on 53 acres, once home to a cinema, and the M-78 drive-in.

He says that idea was not greeted warmly in Meridian Township, and he's certain East Lansing will be far more friendly.

Meridian township's manager, Gerry Richards, says they've always been accomodating to White in the past. They call this annexation, a gerrymander that will harm the township in countless ways.

"I think from any vantage point it doesn't make sense--legally, logically, provision of services," Richards says.

For now, they are choosing just one problem. They will go to court to claim the petition wasn't filed in due time.

The Ingham County Clerk says it was, according to the law that governs this situation. Meridian Township is using a different law.

Ingham County Clerk Mike Bryanton also says, all things being equal, settling this issue in November is what's best for not only the voters, but the taxpayers as well. If it does not go on the November ballot, as expected, the city of East Lansing would have to hold a special election to vote on it in time.

"If we go to August, it would be a special election for East Lansing, cost voters $25 to 30,000," Bryanton explained.


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