On May 7, [resident Kimberly] Croy had a Public Forum letter published in the Daily News stating in part to the Douglass Township Board, “You cannot even clean up Entrican in all these years, we cannot trust you to to enforce (wind) turbine violations.” [Resident Keith] Phelps then wrote a May 10 letter to Douglass Township Supervisor Terry Anderson with an attachment listing 29 names and addresses containing alleged unplated vehicles. Phelps’ letter and complaint was signed by himself only, but specifically referenced Croy’s letter to the editor.
DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The inside of Douglass Township Hall smelled like a movie theater as people took a seat for the Wednesday evening feature.
Bags of freshly-popped hot, buttery popcorn were distributed among audience members as an inside joke in a nod to the unique drama that so often arises during township meetings over the last two years – and Wednesday was no different.
The township board voted 5-0 to withdraw a zoning complaint made against 29 township residents/properties by resident Keith Phelps involving alleged unplated/unlicensed vehicles. The action came after resident Kimberly Croy said Phelps took her letter to the editor in the Daily News and “twisted” her words.
During a township board meeting on May 4, Phelps publicly proposed the township issue summons to all non-operating, non-licensed and/or junk vehicles to be cleaned up.
On May 7, Croy had a Public Forum letter published in the Daily News stating in part to the Douglass Township Board, “You cannot even clean up Entrican in all these years, we cannot trust you to to enforce (wind) turbine violations.”
Phelps then wrote a May 10 letter to Douglass Township Supervisor Terry Anderson with an attachment listing 29 names and addresses containing alleged unplated vehicles. Phelps’ letter and complaint was signed by himself only, but specifically referenced Croy’s letter to the editor.
“Indirectly, she was complaining about all the junk vehicles,” Phelps’ letter stated in part. “On her behalf as a spokesperson for the Douglass Township Energy Coalition, I will formally make the complaint for her to immediately clean up the township. The township needs to enforce their junk vehicles equally to all citizens of Douglass Township without any exceptions!”
Douglass Township Zoning Administrator Dave Kelsey told the Daily News that after he received Phelps’ complaint, he went out and took photographs himself of all the vehicles in question. Kelsey then sent out a letter on May 17 to all the addresses listed in Phelps’ complaint.
On June 1, Croy emailed the entire township board and asked them to withdrawn Phelps’ complaint since it was made in her name without her knowledge. She also said she is not a spokesperson for the Douglass Township Energy Coalition.
“I have never met and do not personally know Mr. Phelps,” Croy wrote. “I see him come here threatening to kill cats, swears at the audience during public comment and is removed; this written complaint became his next action. These actions have not demonstrated a solid soundness of mind. I question yours as public officials for going along with this.
“I do not know one single person on the list he provided to you with specific names and addresses,” Croy said. “I want to publicly state: I apologize to anyone who has been harassed as a result of his letter. I would never think to do such a thing. Never have. Never will. My statement about cleaning up the zoning violations was a point of reference to the potential violations the big fans (wind turbines) could produce, not a formal complaint against junk vehicles. How my first public statement (her letter in the Daily News) was twisted into this is beyond my imagination. He claims I was ‘indirectly’ complaining about junk vehicles when nothing could be further from reality.”
Kelsey and township board members appeared confused by the entire situation.
“I don’t know exactly what happened. Is this just a rumor, or …” Anderson asked.
“I don’t know,” Kelsey said.
Anderson said he hadn’t seen Phelps’ letter or complaint, which added to the confusion as Phelps’ letter was specifically addressed to Anderson.
Many residents were angry at the complaint and summons filed against them, with multiple people saying someone had to have trespassed on their private property to view their vehicles. One woman said someone would have had to walk “a good 100 yards” onto her property to view the back side of a plow. She noted the plow’s license plate is kept in the house when the plow is not in use.
“What can we do about them coming onto our property?” the woman asked. “They really had to put some effort into it. We called (Kelsey), mine (phone call) was the one that used all the cuss words. What gives them the right to do that? They’re coming on my property without permission. What can you do about that?”
“Call the sheriff’s department,” Anderson responded.
Anderson also told people to speak with Kelsey regarding their concerns.
“He’s reasonable, I’m sure he can drop the charges,” Anderson said.
Later in the meeting, after Croy gave a public comment reading her entire letter aloud, the township board voted 5-0 to withdraw Phelps’ complaint since it was made in part in Croy’s name.
“If it was in somebody else’s name, it’s not legal,” Trustee Tom Jeppesen noted.
The motion to withdraw Phelps’ complaint resulted in applause from many of the residents present.
“If they were filed in her name, they’re null and void,” Anderson told the Daily News after the meeting.
“I will be filing another complaint quickly,” Phelps told the Daily News after the meeting.
In other matters …
During Wednesday’s meeting, the Douglass Township Board also:
• Voted to approve a contract with the Road Commission for Montcalm County to gravel resurface Lake Montcalm Road from Nevins Road to Musson Road with the cost to be split with Belvidere Township.
• Voted to appoint Matt Morman to replace recently resigned longtime chairman Larry Duel on the Clifford Lake Improvement Board.
• Voted to appoint Mike Swan to the Planning Commission to replace Todd Wells, who recently resigned.
• Learned that Corey Gainey is Treasurer Amy Laper’s new deputy treasurer, replacing former deputy treasurer Holli Almas who recently resigned.
• Tabled hiring a new propane service.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding