The Genoa Township Board shot down a petition to hook into the sewer system from a business owner who has been at odds with the township board for years.

The board voted 4-3 to deny a request for a sewer lead to the parcel at the corner of Brighton and Chilson Road, which once housed the Coffee Connection. Dewey and Pamela Thomas own the 1.6 acre triangular piece of property, bordered by roads on all sides and zoned residential. A drive-thru coffee and donut shop was permitted on the property under the terms of a consent judgment. The judgment limits uses of the property, which the couple says are very restrictive and scare off any potential buyers or projects. They sought to pay to hook into the sewer system, saying their current system is operating fine but is likely nearing the end of its life cycle. Instead of just petitioning for the sewer lead, they were instructed by the township to present all possible plans for future uses.

The possibility of a two-pump gas station going in brought out around 25 residents to voice concerns on the sewer hookup. Many live in close proximity and have private wells. They raised issues with the possibility of leaking tanks, a high water table and run-off contamination, further noting sandy soil conditions, traffic and safety.

Thomas told WHMI had he known the meeting was going to be a popularity contest about whether or not people wanted gasoline there; he would have had supporters present. Thomas said he could fill the room with people who want a gas station and noted a petition with over 400 signatures of those in favor. He says the township is insistent on saying no to everything and holding him to the residential zoning that prevent him from building most everything. He added anyone who wants to build their dream home can come see him.

Although vacant now, the site has always been home to businesses and Thomas says he’s been paying commercial taxes on the property for 20 years. The request was only to hook into the sewer system, not water as there is no capacity. Those voting to deny the request were Jim Mortenson, Polly Skolarus, Robin Hunt and Jean Ledford.

Supervisor Bill Rogers was among those in favor of granting the hook up, saying it’s a difficult piece of property and being in the industry, he comes across a lot that are very challenging to build on for varying conditions. Rogers says he personally felt it could be a safety issue, should the current system on the parcel fail. Regardless of what the site would be used for, he says he thought it could be a good safety feature.

The Thomas’ maintain sewer district maps drafted by the township were exclusionary, which permitted nearby Vic and Bob’s to tap in but not them. It was also pointed out that Vic and Bob’s used to be a gas station. Members voting to deny the sewer request were Jim Mortenson who made the motion, Jean Ledford, Polly Skolarus and Treasurer Robin Hunt. Photo: Google Street View. (JM)