Board to appeal Nestle decision

January 11, 2018

By John Raffel

The Osceola Township board decided last week to appeal a court decision issued in December by the 51st Circuit Court on Nestle Waters North American’s request for a zoning permit.

Judge Susan Sneigowski’s opinion released after the Nov. 15 hearing ordered the township to provide a zoning permit to NWNA so it can construct a booster-pump at its White Pine Springs production well.

The NWN A appealed Osceola Township’s denial of the booster-pump station. Nestle has applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to increase its water withdrawal to 400 gallons per minute and said the booster-pump station is essential to accomplish that.

Sneigowski said the company did meet the essential public service provisions in the township’s zoning ordinance by providing water.

Township supervisor Tim Ladd said his board met last week and made the decision to appeal the ruling to the state of Michigan Court of Appeals.

“We’re being told to anticipate it will take the court six to eight months to determine if they’ll even hear the case,” Ladd said. “If they decide they will hear it, it would take another year or year and a half.”

The length of that process, Ladd said, means that Nestle “is basically dead in the water, no pun intended. They’re not allowed to proceed with any building of a booster station until this is all settled.

“We think the judge at the circuit court level misinterpreted a paragraph of our zoning and took it out of context. As a result, we feel her written opinion is wrong. We wanted somebody else to look at it.”

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