Fertilizer Company’s Attempt To Relocate To Farmland Sparks Debate

Posted at 10:52 PM, May 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-14 07:16:19-04

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (May 13, 2014) — Residents living on Fruit Ridge Avenue in Alpine Township say they plan to voice concerns over a new fertilizer and chemical plant that could be moving into the area.

“It’s just a matter of where it belongs, and it doesn’t belong here,” said resident DC Chorman of Crop Production Services. CPS is hoping to build a new sales and distribution facility and needs a special use permit to move to a location on Fruit Ridge Avenue.

Chorman and neighbor Charlotte Kraus can see apple trees, corn, and empty grain fields from their homes today. They aren’t thrilled at the prospect of Crop Production Services moving in next door.

“This is agriculture, not heavy industrial, and it’s industrial processing what they are proposing to put in here,” Chorman said.

Kraus was able to get a copy of the proposal from the township office.  The company wants to move from the current location in Sparta roughly five miles away.  According to the project summary filed with the township, CPS wants to be “closer to its customers.”

People who are against the relocation are concerned about the precedent it may set. “It’s going to bring other business or it opens the door for other business,” said Kraus.

There is also concern what the business produces: fertilizer.

“What about the dangers of chemicals themselves?” wondered Chorman.  “You have explosions that can happen.  We are not equipped to handle something like that.  It’s a secondary road.  It’s a seasonal road.  I can’t even venture why the company would even think of coming here.”

FOX 17 sought to ask the company why they planned to move.  We were told no questions would be answered at this time.  So, we spoke with people who live next to next to Crop Production Services in Sparta.  Those neighbors told us they have no issue with the company.

Never had any strange smells, never had any kind of spills or anything like that,” said Dave Overeem, who lives across the street from the location at 10 Mile Road and Alpine Avenue.  “Other than they run equipment up and down the road but most farmers there do. That’s just normal operations.”

Whether CPS is a good neighbor or not, Chorman and Kraus said they don’t plan on finding out for themselves.

A posting in a local newspaper said a public hearing will be held at the Alpine Township Hall on May 15 at 7:30 p.m. on whether the company should be granted special land use.