If you stumbled across the trails just west of Woodwind Drive in Haslett, you'd likely never know they aren't actually public parks.
In fact, they are owned by developer HDI, and maintained by Ingham County.
It's a catch-22 that had Steve Schmidt and others up against HDI's plans for a new subdivision here. HDI asked the Meridian Township planning commission for a rezoning of the land they own that would like to build about 150 houses. The area is currently zoned "rural residential."
Schmidt and others are concerned about the lake, the wetlands, traffic and the destruction of the private trails that are a part of their community.
"I totally understand their concerns. It's a really beautiful piece of land," HDI president Roger Drobney says. They own that beautiful piece of land, and also the subdivision where Schmidt lives, called Trails at Lake Lansing. At one time, they owned much of Lake Lansing Park North, and sold it at a reduced rate to the county. That's why they now argue it's only fair they have full use of the land they still own.
"All I'm saying is I think we've done our part to provide for the park system," Drobney says.
For the subdivision, they've promised easement rules to preserve the woods and they've agreed to finance their own trail back here.
It's a concession that's has not won points with neighbors and hikers who say the subdivision destroys what they love about the trails around Lake Lansing Park.
"Everybody loves that piece of property," Schmidt says.
A "no" from the planning commission does not kill the deal. The township board has the final vote. HDI could build a smaller development with the zonging they have.