Reynolds Township zoning dispute settled


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:38 am on Monday, December 12, 2011

Keith Grannis was elected supervisor of Reynolds Township in 2008. He said zoning issues involving John Powell go back before he was in office.

REYNOLDS TOWNSHIP — A businessman has agreed to follow the local zoning ordinance after the Reynolds Township Board brought him to court.
John Powell owns Powell’s Excavating & Septic on the north and south sides of M-82 just west of Howard City.
The north parcel — where Powell’s business is headquartered — is zoned commercial. The south parcel — where Powell keeps heavy machinery equipment and piles of dirt — is zoned residential.
On Oct. 4, Powell received six citations at his business on behalf of the township by a Howard City police officer. The citations alleged longtime zoning violations involving Powell’s stockpiles and vehicles.
“He wanted to do an industrial business in a residentially zoned area,” Reynolds Township Supervisor Keith Grannis said.
Powell originally vowed to fight the citations, but instead he recently agreed to the township’s terms. Grannis and Powell signed a 64B District Court order Nov. 23. Judge Donald Hemingsen signed the order Dec. 5.
Powell was ordered to do the following:
• Remove all existing stockpiles, piles, mounds and other accumulations of dirt, rocks, gravel, stones, sand or other earthen materials, excluding topsoil, from his property no later than Dec. 1.
• Remove all stockpiles of topsoil from his property no later than Aug. 1.
• Remove all mining, excavation, commercial and industrial trucks, vehicles and equipment from his property no later than Dec. 1 and not store, park or use any commercial or industrial trucks, vehicles or equipment on the property except to spread and remove the stockpiles of topsoil by Aug. 1. In no case may any trucks, vehicles or equipment used in removing the topsoil be parked or stored on the property overnight.
• Not engage in any commercial business or industrial uses or activities on the property or engage in any excavation, mining activities, storage or processing of dirt, rocks, stones, sand or other earthen materials on the property.
Powell also admitted responsibility to a civil infraction related to storing commercial excavation vehicles and equipment. He believed he was operating his business legally without any zoning approvals.
Five civil infraction citations were waived, as were fines and costs.
Powell told The Daily News he is only complying with the township because he recently decided to sell his three-generation business.
“I’m not done dealing with them,” he said. “I’m just freeing myself up for other things that are to come. I’ve got a ton of people saying they want to recall these people. If we can’t find somebody else to run for township supervisor, I’ll run myself.”
Grannis, who was elected supervisor in 2008, said problems with Powell go back before he was elected.
“I am glad that the issue is resolved,” Grannis said. “This was something that started before I took office and it’s something that should have been cleared up before I ever took office. It’s not our position to try to run business off. We want to encourage business within the township but we want businesses to comply with our zoning ordinance and our master plan so that we have an organized community.
Township officials estimate up to $10,000 in township funds have been spent on bringing Powell’s business into compliance.
“It’s unfortunate that it had to go as far as did because it cost him a lot of money and it cost the township a lot of money,” Grannis said. “It’s a disappointing occurrence for the entire township.”

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