2018-01-14 / Front Page

Chesaning Township vs. Village of Chesaning

County commissioners ask community to resolve annexation dispute
By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter


Chesaning Township trustee Ken Hornak addresses the county services committee, in opposition to the village annexation, explaining that township residents oppose medical marijuana facilities. Also representing the township at the meeting were Supervisor Bob Corrin, Trustee Bill Hedrich and Tom Tithof. 
Photo by Jeanne Marcello Chesaning Township trustee Ken Hornak addresses the county services committee, in opposition to the village annexation, explaining that township residents oppose medical marijuana facilities. Also representing the township at the meeting were Supervisor Bob Corrin, Trustee Bill Hedrich and Tom Tithof. Photo by Jeanne Marcello CHESANING — On Wednesday, Jan. 10, representatives of both the Village of Chesaning and Chesaning Township met at the Saginaw County Court House to resolve the village’s call for annexation of 20 acres of property located in Chesaning Township.

The annexation request was initiated by Beau Parmeter, who owns the old Peet Packing plant property located in Chesaning Township. Medical marijuana investors have expressed interest in the property. However, the Chesaning Township Board has not adopted a medical marijuana ordinance. As a result, that property is not presently eligible for a medical marijuana facilities license from the state.


Chesaning businessman Joe Greenfelder addresses Saginaw County commissioners during the county services committee meeting. He explains that Chesaning will benefit economically from the annexation of Beau Parmeter’s property, also known as the former Peet Packing plant. 
Photos by Jeanne Marcello Chesaning businessman Joe Greenfelder addresses Saginaw County commissioners during the county services committee meeting. He explains that Chesaning will benefit economically from the annexation of Beau Parmeter’s property, also known as the former Peet Packing plant. Photos by Jeanne Marcello The Village of Chesaning adopted a medical marijuana facilities ordinance in 2017. Consequently, Parmeter wants to have his land annexed by the village, so he can work out a deal with the medical marijuana investors.

In 2017, Parmeter and his associates approached the Chesaning Township Planning Commission, calling on the township to opt-in on medical marijuana facilities. However, Chesaning Township had already conducted a survey of its residents as part of updating the township’s master plan. Survey results showed Chesaning Township residents are opposed to allowing medical marijuana facilities in the community by a two-to-one ratio.


Several village council members and residents attend the Jan. 10 county services meeting to request the annexation of Beau Parmeter’s property on Sharon Road. Chesaning village representatives pictured include Katie Greenfelder, Patrick Greenfelder, Beau Parmeter, Zach Chludil, Mike Navarre and Denise Navarre as well as Brian Talbot and others. Also attending for the village, but not pictured are Village President Joseph Sedlar, Jr. and Village Administrator Troy Feltman. Several village council members and residents attend the Jan. 10 county services meeting to request the annexation of Beau Parmeter’s property on Sharon Road. Chesaning village representatives pictured include Katie Greenfelder, Patrick Greenfelder, Beau Parmeter, Zach Chludil, Mike Navarre and Denise Navarre as well as Brian Talbot and others. Also attending for the village, but not pictured are Village President Joseph Sedlar, Jr. and Village Administrator Troy Feltman. On Friday, Dec. 8, Zach Chludil contacted the Chesaning Township office asking to be placed on the December township board meeting agenda, but the regular December meeting was held the night before.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19, Parmeter urged the village council to annex his property. The village council voted in favor of the annexation that night, and began the process through the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners.

During the Jan. 10 meeting with the County Services Committee, several people spoke on both sides of the issue.

PRO-ANNEXATION

Chesaning businessmen Joseph Greenfelder, Zach Chludil, Brian Talbot and Robert Zelle spoke in favor of annexation.

Joe Greenfelder talked about the potential for economic growth in Chesaning.

Chludil said, “This is pretty simple. There’s a group here fighting to keep a vacant building, vacant.” He also talked about the medicine [from marijuana] helping people.

Talbot talked about the additional business he’s already gained from the new industry. He also said he will be living less than one mile from the property.

Zelle explained that he’s had more than nine broken bones. Medical marijuana helps. “This group is focused on medicine. We are going to produce the best medicine. We’re taking an old school in Chesaning and turning it into a rehab center [to help people battling opioid addiction]. He said, “They used to say marijuana was a gateway drug. But it’s really a gateway away from heroine. I’m moving to Chesaning because of what’s going on here. We’re not for recreational use, we’re for the medicine.”

AGAINST ANNEXATION

Chesaning Township Supervisor Bob Corrin, Trustee Ken Hornak, and planning commissioner Thomas Tithof spoke in opposition.

Corrin said he’s been township supervisor for nearly 20 years. He said, “I’ve been accused of being the only one in town opposing this. This isn’t about marijuana, it’s about annexation. Aren’t we a governmental unit? Or [will we] just be taken over by annexation?” He believes that if the annexation of this property is approved, the Village of Chesaning will annex more property.

Hornak said, “The community of Chesaning is seeking a new identity since the loss of our Chesaning Showboat. It is not the identity of Chesaning to become the number one distribution and growing center for health, and then recreational use of marijuana in Saginaw County. The approval of the annexation would be for growing an enormous marijuana station.” He also said, “I have [spoken with] neighbors and voters who have convinced me the expansion of a medical marijuana grow and distribution center is not wanted in their township.”

LOCAL RESOLUTION

Chesaning resident Mike Navarre addressed the county services committee saying, “This seems to be a local issue. I vote you let us settle it as a community. I feel we should be able to work it out ourselves.”

CLOSING STATEMENT

Attorney Patrick Greenfelder filed for the annexation. He told the county services committee, “Peet Packing, while in Chesaning, they employed hundreds [lot of union jobs with good benefits]. It was the heart and soul of the community. [The building] sat idle and essentially vacant since about 1994. It’s zoned for manufacturing. There is absolutely no financial loss to the township.” He explained, “I told [Parmeter that if his property is annexed by the village], your taxes are going to sky rocket. There’s no guarantee [his property] will sell. There’s no financial detriment to the township. A tax abatement request? It’s not going to happen. These are legitimate business people. It promotes [economic growth].”

Commissioner Dennis Krafft said, “I’m very uncomfortable making a ‘yes’ vote being there’s so much controversy. Commissioner Carl Ruth motioned to postpone until the committee’s March 7 meeting. In the meantime, Commissioner Cheryl Hadsall said, “Before we make a recommendation, we want you to work this out.”

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