Friday, September 05, 2008

[Corporate/Developer's Greed and Profit Before People and the Planet]

Harbor Shores can’t wait; work in park to start soon
Developers won’t let lawsuit delay their goal of opening Nicklaus golf course next summer

excerpts from article:

Har­bor Shores developers an­nounced Wednesday they can­not afford to wait any longer to begin work in Jean Klock Park if they are going to meet their goal of opening a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course next summer.
...they are fil­ing to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought by seven Ben­ton Harbor-area residents against the city, Michigan De­partment of Natural Resources and National Park Service for allegedly violating environmen­tal regulations in the process of approving Harbor Shores’ plan to build three golf holes in Ben­ton Harbor’s only park on Lake Michigan.
...con­struction to begin in Jean Klock Park in the next week to 10 days.
Construction is under way on the other 15 holes of the golf course outside the park.
Grass for the golf course needs to be seeded before the fall frost date, which is usu­ally in mid-October, if the course is going to be ready by next summer, developers said.
Harbor Shores would have to return the park to its former condi­tion if it loses the lawsuit after construction has begun. [we know this to be impossible]
The development stretches across 530 acres in Benton Harbor, Benton Township and St. Joseph. The center­piece is the Jack Nicklaus-de­signed golf course, which is expected to attract more than $400 million in total develop­ment, including hotels, mari­nas and hundreds of houses.
If the motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit is grant­ed by the court, it will allow Harbor Shores developers to tell the court their side of the story.
Terry Lodge, a Toledo at­torney representing the plain­tiffs, said Harbor Shores’ mo­tion does not change the case much.
“I feel that Harbor Shores will be more than adequately represented because they are paying for 100 percent of Benton Harbor’s legal ex­penses,” he said.
The Benton Harbor City Commission voted unani­mously Tuesday to hire the law firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone. Attor­neys from the firm’s Kalama­zoo office represented the city in the civil case.
Harbor Shores hired Wash­ington, D.C., law firm Brace­well and Giuliani to represent them. Developers will also retain the services of Dickin­son Wright, which represent­ed them in the civil case.
Lodge added that it seems strange that Harbor Shores is spending so much money de­fending their position if they believe the lawsuit has no merit.
Lodge rebutted the charac­terization that opposition to Harbor Shores has come from a small minority.
He said more people would stand up to oppose the con­version of Jean Klock Park into a golf course, but they are afraid of being demonized by Harbor Shores supporters. “There are a lot of people who are intimidated into si­lence in these types of contro­versies,” Lodge said.
He said the golf course will permanently damage the park’s sand dunes, but that impact has not been fully dis­closed to the public.
He said the Benton Harbor area “could have two jewels on Lake Michigan” if the course were built next to, rather than in, Jean Klock Park.
“The public needs to un­derstand they have been mis­led at many different steps during the way,” Lodge said.
...Harbor Shores has had to divert funds from community benefits to pay court costs and legal fees for the two lawsuits. [that community wouldn't be Benton Harbor now would it?]