ROCKFORD, Mich. - The controversial condominium complex, Tamarack Run is one step closer to breaking ground after City Hall voted in favor of a settlement agreement allowing the company, Prime Development to build 51 condominiums on 4.2 acres of land.
It was a tense city hall packed with concerned residents arguing both sides of the controversy. In this case, it's Rockford versus Marcel Burgler, the developer of Tamarack Run. After a number of lawsuits and third-party intervention from concerned neighbors, the city council voted 3-2, in favor of the project. It was originally 6.75 acres of land but was denied because of wet lands on the property. Tensions ran high as residents against the development voiced concerns about an influx of traffic, population density, and industrial contamination left behind by the company, Burch Body Works. Ultimately, the project was passed after the city and condominium developer came to an agreement. Now, a judge needs to sign off on it.
Caleb Sower, Spokesperson for the Neighbors for Neighborhoods group against the development, said, "If they vote in favor of the development, it means that citizens should never be involved in their local politics or government. If they can’t defend the citizens who worked hard to make sure the rights we have are protected; and we followed all the correct procedures, what’s the point in trying if someone can come in and get you kowtowed?"
Burgler said despite opposition to his plans, he expects Tamarack Run to be open by 2017.
"I appreciate that people are reluctant to see new development," said Burgler. "Everybody is, especially if it’s in your own neighborhood. And I think it’s been a long process, lot of raw emotions from citizens and hopefully when we’re all done they will see a project that’s nice and well developed. Something that’s environmentally safe and that they’ll be happy with."
The agreement said Burgler has to take out a minimum of 360 cubic yards of contaminated soil with further environmental response taking place to monitor the cleanup. Those against the development said there are other red flags the city didn't receive, saying they're missing important environmental information. But as it stands, Tamarack Run should be open for business next year.