CADILLAC — After years of litigation over Cadillac Junction, the parties involved have the opportunity to resolve the matter or potentially go back to court.
Clam Lake and Haring townships will host a joint meeting at Clam Lake Township Hall at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to consider a decision on proposed Cadillac Junction settlement documents.
This is after Clam Lake Township decided not to approve the tentative settlement documents at a previous meeting and both townships had closed meetings with their attorney Ron Redick.
“It only made sense to have a joint meeting,‘ Haring Township Clerk Kirk Soule said.
He can’t say for sure, it depends on Redick, but they will probably go into closed session and then go back into an open meeting for a vote. On what, he couldn’t say.
Both his and the township supervisor’s phone have been ringing with questions and concerns from residents, Soule said.
Many of the calls are about the additional land Cadillac will get with the tentative settlement agreement, including the Cadillac Investment Property, 500-plus acres to the south of the TeriDee/Cadillac Junction property.
This additional land is why Clam Lake Township Clerk Amy Peterson voted against the tentative settlement agreement at a past meeting.
She said some board members have been contacted by many landowners and homeowners near the property area and “these individuals are very upset.‘
The basic framework for the settlement is that the existing 425 agreement with Haring Township would be rescinded and replaced with an Act 425 agreement with Clam Lake Township and the city of Cadillac.
Through the agreement, the TeriDee and Cadillac investment properties would be conditionally transferred to the city by contract for a minimum period of 50 years, but up to 100 years because the agreement provides for up to one term of renewal.
With the agreement, the township would have get 2 mills of property tax revenue from the property for the duration of the agreement, which it currently doesn’t get from Haring Township, Cadillac attorney Mike Homier said.
The benefits of the agreement for Clam Lake Township also includes getting water and sewer service to the Downtown Development Authority. It’s something they’ve wanted for a while and they’d get it without a conditional transfer, he said.
A benefit for both Haring and Clam Lake townships is it ends “years and years‘ of litigation over the Cadillac Junction property, Homier said.
As for Cadillac, he said it will be able to serve Cadillac Junction with sewer and water and will give it the ability to grow for the next 100 years.
Why the additional property was tacked onto the agreement, the more than 550 acres that wasn’t included in the original lawsuit, is part of what makes this a settlement. A settlement is “give and take.‘
“At the end of the day, I think it’s a pretty good deal for everyone involved,‘ he said.
The Property included in the proposed Act 425 transfer is necessary to facilitate access and provide public utilities to promote the economic development project in Cadillac Junction and on the Cadillac Investments parcels, the tentative settlement documents state.
Plans for both properties include the development of mixed-uses, consisting of commercial, research and development and single and multiple family residential uses, according to the tentative settlement documents.
The proposed land uses for the property as a whole is a mixed-use, planned unit development including apartments, retail stores, restaurants and a gas station/convenience store
The proposed Cadillac Junction phase of the economic development project includes 120 apartment units, 100 senior living units, 20 independent senior living units, a hotel and several large retail establishments.
The Cadillac Investments parcels plans are for additional mixed-use development and multiple-family and single family residential development.
Over the last decade, there have been a series of legal challenges, appeals and reversals involving Haring and Clam Lake townships and developers TeriDee LLC and Cadillac regarding which municipality has jurisdiction over the development of Cadillac Junction.
Cadillac Junction is a 142-acre parcel located off M-55 near the U.S. 131 interchange and the property currently is home to a Mobil gas station and Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shop.
The dispute revolved around Cadillac Junction’s location, with the developers and city saying it belongs in Cadillac and townships saying it was transferred from Clam Lake to Haring via an Act 425 agreement.
The most recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court sent the matter back to the circuit court level, where Wexford County Circuit Court Judge William Fagerman ruled that the property belongs in Haring Township instead of Cadillac
At a past Clam Lake Township meeting, Redick said there was some confusion about the scope of the supreme court decision.
“The supreme court never held that the Act 425 agreement was valid necessarily,‘ he said. “They held it was technically in effect and that the boundary commission could not rule on its validity.‘
He said if the Act 425 was found invalid then there would be an immediate approval of the annexation of Cadillac Junction and it would be developed with no input from the townships whatsoever.
“I think there is no question that what is known as the Cadillac Investment property to the south would then be very shortly thereafter annexed into the city,‘ he said.
This would lead to the Cadillac Investments property entering the city as well and “the townships would have no say whatsoever in how that property gets developed,‘ he said.
Currently, all development on the property has been halted until ongoing legal issues are resolved.
Township supervisor Steve Kitler said in a past interview he imagines they will move forward with litigation.
His township was having trouble getting this passed and Haring Township still has to pass the settlement agreement, too.
Homier said he supposes if the parties can’t settle on Tuesday they’ll be going back to trial.
He said the township should not think it can use the decision not to approve the settlement agreement as leverage to renegotiate.
“The issue is in the townships’ hands,‘ he said. “They have to decide if they want to resolve it or not.‘
Brion Doyle, counsel for TeriDee LLC, Redick and Kitler did not respond to a request for updated information.