Sappi paper mill deed restrictions at center of redevelopment delay
Caroline MacGregor March 14, 2014 | WGVU A highly
restrictive deed between Sappi, former owner of the paper mill, means new
owners Melching Inc., must first ask for approval from Sappi before conducting
any environmental studies on the land. The state is trying to remove those deed
restrictions which also state future redevelopment be for industrial use only.
stands, Melching, which has been cleaning up the property; or any future owners,
are liable for any environmental pollution found on the site. So far there are
no indications of any major pollution.
of Environmental Quality Senior Policy Advisor, Ann Couture spoke Thursday
during a public meeting of the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership. She said
the state, which has final oversight over the property and can seek a court
injunction, if necessary, has been in negotiations with Sappi and demolition
company, Melching to remove deed restrictions so cleanup and redevelopment
can move forward.
wants to avoid a legal battle with Sappi which ceased operations in 2009. The deed restrictions were put in place to protect Sappi
from future legal action over possible environmental issues.
A yet to be identified
investment group is eyeing the property for a mixed-use redevelopment plan along
hopes that deed negotiations can be finalized by this summer, allowing redevelopment
of the site to move forward.
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