Eagle Township residents say ‘no’ to another proposed industrial site

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 11:35 PM EDT
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EAGLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - Another industrial site wants to move to Eagle Township with a tax reduction. People who live in the Township are saying “no” to the proposed site, with the mega site woes still looming.

“I am opposed to us granting an abatement for this purpose. It’s precedent-setting, and I don’t think we want to be setting that kind of precedence today. There are too many things pending,” said one resident.

Residents say the board is making critical decisions behind their backs.

“There’s been a lack of transparency around the mega site since the start, and every time LEAP shows up, there’s a lack of transparency for us,” said Troy Stroud, an Eagle Township resident and candidate for Board Supervisor.

The lack of transparency makes residents uncertain about any proposed sites coming to the township. Stroud says Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP), the vendor for the industrial site, and the Township lawyer met privately “without Township approval. Anything over 50 dollars, the board is supposed to vote on beforehand. What they did is they brought it in so LEAP goes to the Township lawyer, and it’s not ‘FOIA-able.’”

Patti Schaefer, the Board Supervisor, disagrees.

“You guys are all stating that we’re trying to circumvent the FOIA, which has been addressed by you and others multiple times on that website. The attorney is who we trust, and he needs to be a part of something we’ve never been a part of,” said Schaeffer.

A part of the decision to grant the newly proposed industrial site a tax abatement—meaning a tax cut for the site as an incentive to move to Eagle Township. Residents voiced their concerns at Thursday’s board meeting.

“I’m giving you a benefit from our township, from us as taxpayers,” said one resident. “Nobody subsidized my house. Nobody gave me a tax abatement for my house—I didn’t ask for one. I never had any idea that I should ask for one.”

Another resident expressed frustration, “How many abatements are we going to give in this county? In this township? Are we going to give one to everyone that comes along? This is taking more farmland out of our area, as far as wildlife, too. We just keep losing more and more land.”

Patti Schaefer has been recalled for signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prevented residents from learning about the mega site. There will be a special election on Nov. 7, where Schaefer will run against other candidates for her position, and if she doesn’t win, she will be officially recalled and removed from her position.

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