A considerable number of Elk Rapids Township residents came to the meeting tonight. Most if not all were concerned about agenda item #5, which dealt with the possible township acquisition of a gift of land, north of the village, from the Pollister family. This land adjoins the property formerly occupied by the Elk Rapids Sportsman’s Club.
These board meetings always have, what is for me, an unusual format. Public comments are allowed at the beginning and end of each meeting, but not while the issue itself comes up on the agenda. I believe that all the public comments made at the beginning of the meeting were about the Pollister land issue. Here is my summary of comment subjects with my attempts to ascertain the results in parentheses:
- Waiver of the 3-minute per person comment rule (denied)
- Monitoring wells on the property (put in by Township to assess contamination)
- Liability assessment of the property (Township is liable – perhaps whether or not the property is donated.)
- Why do we need this park? (not answered during comment session)
- Concern about paying high-priced non-Township attorneys
No public comment expressed support for accepting this property. All were opposed or did not state a position.
When the actual issue came up for Board discussion, Trustee Conrad Reiter reviewed the need for the land and asked for clarification of the current park project. Then Supervisor Bill White explained his reasons for supporting the proposal, stating that it is good to have non-beach park land and that there is a need for recreation. It’s possible that White was the only person in the room that supported this proposal.
When it came time to vote, White stated that Trustee Dorance Amos, who is married to a Pollister, would recuse himself for this vote. Conrad Reiter made the following motion (paraphrased):
“I move NOT to accept the gift of the land, but the Township should write a letter to the Pollisters respectfully thanking them for their proposed gift.” There was a second. The vote followed. Note that Yes means “not accept” and No means “accept.”
The motion NOT to accept the donation and to write a thank-you letter carried by a vote of 3 to 1.
Also see comments on Facebook.
I did not stay for the rest of the meeting.