By Jessica Mathews /

The terms of a land transfer agreement between Genoa Township and City of Howell are being clarified, which is related to the extension of water service for a controversial industrial shredder project.

After various rulings and court action, Padnos Iron and Metal on Lucy Road received needed state and local approvals for the shredder but still needs to connect to a public water supply.

Howell City Council approved an agreement in September with the Marion, Howell, Oceola, Genoa or MHOG Water Authority to allow Padnos to connect to that water system. A memo stated the City currently has no water main along Lucy Road for the connection of the Padnos property. Additionally, due to the restrictions on that property because of the contamination from an old landfill, installing a water well is not permitted. The memo noted the affected property was said to be well within 200 feet of the MHOG water system and Padnos intended on using that public water supply to accommodate their usage needs.

It appeared to be a routine approval item at that time but then roughly one week later, the MHOG board voted 7-1 against allowing Padnos to hook up to its system.

Now, Genoa Township officials are clarifying the terms of an agreement that it says clearly states the property would not receive MHOG services. The Padnos property was earlier transferred from the township to the City under the terms of a 425 agreement. In exchange, the township receives a portion of taxes for a set period of time. In this case 50 years - which was said to be a long period of time for such an agreement.

The board met Monday night and discussed a three-page letter from Manager Mike Archinal and Supervisor Bill Rogers to the City about the shredding operation and services. It reiterates a timeline of events and says the township advised the City that it was very unlikely MHOG would extend water service to the site. The letter says that was referenced repeatedly during a meeting last December, and “Clearly this reality was either forgotten or ignored”. It states the “the right thing, and in fact the responsible thing, would have been to make this request formally three years ago”.

The letter was discussed with the township attorney beforehand and Rogers told WHMI the letter was intended to clarify things as he and the manager felt comments made by the City were very inaccurate. He said the agreement states very explicitly in black and white in a signed contract that’s been in existence for a long time that the City will provide utilities to the property – adding it was a little frustrating getting beat up over something that was very obvious.

In the case of Padnos and the City, Rogers stated that Padnos never approached MHOG or the Genoa-Oceola Sewer Authority beforehand - basically not until almost after the fact. He said instead of coming to discuss what they were going to propose, nothing was said and he thinks that’s an extremely unreasonable thing to do when doing planning something of this nature.

Rogers added that part of the document stated it was for very positive development and there hasn’t been any since it has been in existence.

The letter states the 425-agreement was predicated by a desire through cooperation to foster quality economic development to benefit the respective communities. It says since 2010, aerial photos “evidence a startling accumulation of literally thousands of junk cars, trailers and debris”. It asserts that expanding Pandos’ footprint in the community by allowing a metal shredding operation will have severe regional impacts, adding the township’s “definition of quality economic development does not include junkyards”.

The letter concludes by stating the township has already been subjected to a “time-wasting and combative FOIA request from Padnos”. It requests the City not exacerbate a situation that is blatantly not in concert with what was envisioned by the two communities in 2009 when they entered into the 425 agreement by making false and inflammatory comments to the media.

Rogers said they have not received any response from the City, but did reference that there have been changes. That being the City now has a new mayor and new council members. Requests for comment have been placed with the City by WHMI.

The letter from the township can be viewed in the board packet, which is posted below. It begins on Page 18.