LOWELL CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Close to 50 residents attended Monday's township meeting to oppose a proposed waste water treatment plan in Lowell Charter Township.
Residents have concerns about the proposal's location off of Grand River Drive and the lack of transparency from elected township officials, who they say were not forthcoming with the plans despite entering a purchase agreement to buy the necessary land for the site.
Residents say the proposed site could drive down property values and pose environmental concerns for nearby trout and salmon streams near the Grand River. They also say the township could extend its contract with the city of Lowell for sewage and water services.
Currently, the township is allowed to use 18% of the city's water treatment plant. The capacity allows for 250,000 gallons per day to be used by the township, but township officials say projections show they will exceed that capacity without other plans or new negotiations.
Negotiations continue between both the township and city but officials Monday said they had failed to make much progress previously with those negotiations, which prompted the township to hire a firm to draw up a proposal for an independent plan run entirely by the township.
Residents, however, say they have not received any notification about the proposed plans. While elected officials say it's a topic that has been discussed at public meetings, residents could not find any minutes or agenda items documenting those discussions throughout the past year. Residents say it's a move that lacks transparency.
"Closed door meetings and small town government being this corrupt and this shady is very disappointing. Lowell used to be about dignity and honesty and honor, and we are not seeing any of that here. I hope you guys are wise and make the appropriate decisions, go to bed, and pray about it because you have a lot of people here who are very very upset with what’s gong on," said Brad Wade, Lowell resident, during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Wade and others argue there are other options, including putting the treatment plant at the location of the township's offices. However, officials say it would cost more upfront and accrue higher operational costs annually.
Should negotiations fail between the city and the township, there would be two sites to accomodate the north and southern parts of the township, costing an estimated $30 million.