[Rep. Fred Upton's cousin, Aubrey McClendon, is an Oklahoma billionaire developer. He is attempting to destroy and develop Lake Michigan Saugatuck shoreline, north of Upton's Harbor Shores.]
McClendon sues Saugatuck Township for land-rights claims
By Scott Sullivan, Editor, Wed., March 3, 2010
Aubrey McClendon, who sold the south Denison land to the City of Saugatuck 10 weeks ago, is suing Saugatuck Township for its rezoning of the north and south portions of his Lake Michigan-fronting holdings.
Saugatuck Dunes LLC, McClendon’s local land firm, filed papers Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Grand Rapids claiming the township’s 2006 redesignation of his 403 duneland acres from R-2 and R-3 residential to more-restrictive R-4 zoning was illegally noticed, constitutes spot zoning and is a regulatory taking of his property.
Perhaps most incendiary of the Singapore Dunes’ complaints alleges the township’s acceptance of “more than $35,000” from the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance—a locally-based nonprofit dunes preservation group—constitutes constructive fraud.
The suit asks the court to order and reward relief that includes:
# A declaration that the township’s R-4 amendment is void and unenforceable,
# A declaration that the Denison property zoning resorts to the default classification in the township ordinance as R-1, or, in the alternative, to zoning in effect before R-4 was adopted.
# An injunction prohibiting the township from enforcing R-4 zoning provisions to the Singapore Dunes-owned property.
# An injunction prohibiting township board members, named individually, from deliberating or making any decisions with respect to the Singapore Dunes-owned property.
# Injunctions demanding the township disgorge all unlawful payments from the SDCA and prohibiting it from soliciting or accepting future payments from the alliance.
# An injunction prohibiting the township and board from soliciting or accepting gifts unless done lawfully at an open meeting.
# Damages as allowed by law.
Township supervisor Bill Wester, apprised of the action Tuesday, called it inevitable.
“He (McClendon’s area representative Stephen Neumer) has discussed it before,” said Wester. “I don’t know why he decided to drop the shoe now, but nothing surprises me.
“All the board can do is continue to apply township rules the best way we can.”
SDCA president David Swan concurred. “We have long been of the understanding that unearmarked contributions to the township are legal,” he said. “I don’t know what (the plaintiff’s) argument is without having seen it.
“I do know that the alliance is recent recipient of a five-figure grant from a significant foundation intended for legal defense of such land-use claims,” Swan said.
Full article: http://www.allegannews.com/articles/2010/03/03/cr_news/09.txt