Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nothing to say about McClendon lawsuit

Saugatuck Township board members sat quietly Wednesday night as half dozen audience members asked what was happening with negotiations in the Aubrey McClendon federal lawsuit.

Township trustees did say two things:

-- Jim Hanson: Discussions are progressing toward scheduling a meeting with  attorneys to discuss the next step in the McClendon case.

-- Jane Wright: No court recorder is present so the board cannot talk about the lawsuit.

McClendon sued the township in 2010 alleging his property had been singled out for spot zoning in 2006 when the township passed an ordinance limiting development. In July, McClendon’s Singapore Dunes LLC and the township reached a consent agreement to end the lawsuit, though in November, a federal judge dismissed the agreement.

That means the lawsuit is still pending in federal court and the two sides have another chance to work out a compromise.

In December, township Supervisor Bill Wester said the board will meet with its attorney this month to decide the next step.

(FYI: Wester was absent from last week’s meeting)

David Swan, president of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, asked the board on Wednesday to re-examine the zoning of the property as a way to settle the issue.

“This is just such an easy path and an inexpensive path,” Swan said. He directly asked Trustee Chris Roerig if he would open a motion to look at the zoning, but neither Roerig nor the rest of the board could discuss the issue.

The federal judge earlier told the township that anytime the McClendon lawsuit is discussed, the session must be recorded by a court reporter so the information is accurate. For the first time in months, the court reporter was not at the township meeting.

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