By Jessica Mathews /

Details are still somewhat limited as to a proposed state project in Genoa Township that would involve a tree seedling farm and a gravel mining operation – which has been drawing questions and opposition from some neighbors.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources owns a 74-acre property across from the entrance to Oak Pointe off Brighton Road. The department is looking to re-contour state-owned properties to convert them into seed orchards, per a public notice of lease sale for site development and restoration. The orchards would supply seed for nursery operations, which produce seedlings to plant throughout Michigan. The notice says one potential lease to be issued is to mine sand and gravel, and that the operating area would be limited to 56 acres of the approximately 74-acre parcel.

Details have been limited, which has prompted some concerns from residents who live nearby.

Genoa Township Supervisor Bill Rogers says the project would involve a new seedling farm as the DNR already has a nearby tree farm. Rogers said supposedly it will be like a regular park although they’re growing the seedlings to plant elsewhere down the road. Rogers says the DNR is seeking bids for leases for the seedlings, as well as a section to mine sand and gravel. He told WHMI that there will still be some land balancing regardless required to grow the seedlings but said it will supposedly be a park-like setting where people can picnic etc. amongst the seedlings.

Rogers said the tough thing right now is that the DNR is still in the process, which makes it hard for the township to say what’s transpiring because they don’t know what their leases will look like. Since the property was clear-cut, Rogers said they’ve been talking to the DNR to keep the township in the loop because they’re the ones getting all of the calls from residents – adding the communication has improved substantially.

Rogers said there’s a lot of misinformation because no one really knows 100% what all is being proposed. He said the DNR has indicated it is working to organize a public meeting and has been trying to work out a location so people can learn more specifics, adding they want to get the details of that out sooner rather than later to inform people about what they’re trying to accomplish.

Rogers added that the DNR will have to talk to the township but it is ultimately state land and the township is limited in what it can do. Personally, Rogers said he would be opposed to having any ingress or egress off Brighton Road.

The lease notice is attached.