CASCO TOWNSHIP (AP) -- A judge will be asked
to approve a compromise sand-mining deal that would end
more than two years of legal wrangling between Casco Township
and TechniSand Inc.
Board of Trustees voted 4-1 Monday to approve the out-of-court
settlement, which will be forwarded to Allegan County
Circuit Judge George Corsiglia.
company wants to mine in a critical dune area that contains
several million tons of sand. The privately owned site
in the Allegan County township is about a mile inland
from Lake Michigan, near South Haven.
have argued that mining in the area would destroy a unique,
irreplaceable and fragile natural resource. They have
said the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
violated the Michigan Environmental Protection Act by
issuing TechniSand a sand-mining permit for the spot.
"This is the
best deal we're going to get from TechniSand," township
Supervisor Tom Jessup told The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium
for a story published Tuesday. "Those who voted for me
will probably vote me out because of this, but it doesn't
bother me. What would bother me is if the township went
broke (over the lawsuit)."
The case has
cost the township nearly $300,000 in court-related expenses
and public hearings while preventing the company from
doing any mining at the site.
originally wanted to buy 293 acres of land at the site
and remove 1 million tons of sand over a 15-year period.
Under the settlement, it would be allowed to mine 200,000
tons of sand over 10 years from 103 acres.
could not mine below the water table. It would also reimburse
the township for its costs associated with administering
and enforcing the agreement.
Once the operation
ends, the company would have to return the property to
its original agricultural use.
he thinks the settlement addresses environmental concerns
and issues of safety and truck traffic.
vote followed a two-and-a-half-hour public hearing attended
by about 75 people. Not everyone there agreed with Jessup.
the township would settle with TechniSand," said Kathy
Steffler, who recently resigned from the Casco Township
Planning Commission. "I think there's a good chance the
court would settle in our favor."