Tim Hortons, the Canadian bakery and coffee shop, is having "second thoughts" about plans to build two stores in Ingham County, according to an email obtained by News 10.
The email written by a company developer pins the blame for the possible loss of a close-to-$10 million development on Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann.
The developer claims the company has been waiting since March to get a response from Lindemann's office for its plans to build the stores: one on Cedar Street near Holt and the other near Jolly and Dunckel roads.
Lindemann says he's only had the company's site plans since May. And reviewing them takes time.
Besides, he says, at least one of the planned stores would allow polluted water to enter Sycamore Creek. That's a problem he says the company has known about for months.
"I want them to build it here," Lindemann said. "But they're going to meet our standards."
Any new development must include plan to deal with the stormwater that runs off the site. Tim Hortons wanted to build underground tanks. But in Ingham County, that's not allowed.
"We find them to be problematic," the drain commissioner said.
And Lindemann says acceptable so-called "low-impact" options are actually cheaper. But Eaton and Clinton counties both allow underground stormwater tanks.
Some in the building industry tell us this example highlights how hard it is to work with the Ingham County Drain Commissioner's office compared to those in surrounding counties.
The office doesn't return phone calls, they say. It processes things too slowly and focuses too closely on environmental rules at the expense of growing the economy.
We asked Lindemann to respond.
"I'm so not anti-development," he said. "We've okayed and approved and gone on to build over $1 billion worth of development."
And at this point, it looks like Tim Hortons could add to that figure, building its stores here as planned.
Both sides say the company is now reviewing its site plan to comply with the drain commissioner's rules.
Lindemann says if the plan meets his standards, approval should come shortly.