Leighton Twp. to sue new property owner for easement

The Leighton Township Board Thursday evening agreed with a recommendation from attorney Cliff Bloom to file a lawsuit against the new owner of property the township wants for an easement for emergency vehicles.

The new owner, who bought the property from Linnie Vander Werp about six months ago on the east end of North Lake Drive, Green Lake, has indicated there is no agreement for an easement so township public safety can gain access to the private gated community. Township officials insist when it approved the development, one of the conditions from the Planning Commission was an easement.

Bloom and Supervisor Steve Deer had done some bargaining with Linnie VanderWerp on her offer to sell two lots, not big enough for houses on the east end of North Lake Drive, running across the Green Lake public access. Her last offer to the township was $50,000 for both lots together and closing fees of about $5,000, which the Township Board asserted was too steep.

The Cove is located in a cul de sac.

Township officials were only interested in obtaining an easement for an emergency road. They thought they already had it, but history is a bit cloudy on that issue because there is no documentation except minutes of a meeting in bygone days.

VanderWerp years ago had rocks placed at the entrance of the road, but they have been removed because of public safety concerns.

“The new owner would entertain a substantial offer to buy it,” Deer told the Township Board, but he said he believes the offer again would be too steep.

Noting how cheaply the new owner bought the property, Deer commented, “We’d be willing to give him a 500 percent return on his investment,” but he doubted that deal would be to his liking.

Township officials maintain the easement is necessary to help residents if there is an emergency. The township itself cannot by law file with the county for an easement.

“It would be bad if there was a fire or a medical emergency,” Trustee John Hooker said. “It could be catastrophic. You have to think of public safety.”

The board voted 4-0 to take up Bloom’s recommendation and file the suit seeking an easement.



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