Tie vote on $250-million project

Did a lake front community in southwest Michigan let a big fish get away?

Despite the tough economic times, some in Lincoln Township are having a tough time saying yes to a proposed $250-million development project.

That’s nearly eight times larger than the current Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

The project calls for a mix of houses, condos and commercial buildings on a 32-acre parcel between Red Arrow Highway and the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The seven member Lincoln Township Board recently took a vote on the project that ended in a three-to-three tie.

“We actually had a tie vote,” said trustee Al Pscholka, who voted no. “One of our trustees had a family emergency (and) had to leave during the discussion. Chances are, seeing he seconded the motion, he was probably going to be a yes vote.”

As it stands, a project that hoped to capitalize on its proximity to Lake Michigan, finds itself floating in legal limbo.

“We’re exploring how we might proceed from here,” said Township Supervisor Dick Stauffer. “We wouldn’t like to see the project die based on a tie vote.”

Stauffer said the project was the largest that had ever been brought to the township. “It would be basically a job factory for several years as this project was built out,” Stauffer added.

Still some on the board are convinced that the out of town developer is simply thinking ‘too big.’ Plans call for the construction of five separate condo buildings that would each be five stories tall.

Lincoln Township now has a rule on the books that limits buildings to three stories.

“There’s a couple of board members who really feel this is one of those legacy projects,” said Pscholka. “That this is something that 20-years from now somebody's going to drive down the road and go, who allowed a five or seven story condo project, I mean what were you thinking at the time?”

Others on the board are of the opinion that rules were made to be broken, or at least bent.

“It’s on the north edge of the township,” said Stauffer. “The project is on the west side of the road, it blocks nobody’s view.”

“We felt it was a good opportunity to enhance the township,” Stauffer said.

The Lincoln Township Board will next meet on November 11th.

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