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Judge oks petition to disincorporate

Judge oks petition to disincorporate
By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed.

It looks like voters in Sand Lake will have the last word on whether the village should be disincorporated. Judge Dennis Leiber ruled last Friday, March 5, that a petition filed with Nelson Township to disincorporate Sand Lake met all legal requirements.

“We are extremely disappointed in his decision,” said Sand Lake Village President Kirk Thielke. “We feel he missed the point we raised and didn’t speak on that at all.”

Two Sand Lake planning commissioners filed the petition with Nelson Township in December. The petition states that “residents of the Village of Sand Lake, in the County of Kent, State of Michigan, respectfully petition the disincorporation of the Village, thereby transferring all its usages to the Township of Nelson.”

The Sand Lake Village Council then filed a lawsuit against Nelson Township and clerk Laura Hoffman, questioning the “sufficiency” of the petition. Thielke said last month that it wasn’t enough to verify the signatures; the clerk was also required to decide whether it was “facially” defective. He maintains that since all usages cannot be transferred to the township (lights, roads, etc.), the petition was defective. But Leiber ruled in favor of Nelson Township.

“I feel that the judge upheld the law, which the clerk’s office followed,” said Nelson Township Clerk Laura Hoffman. “I followed the statute that says what I need to do when I receive a petition.”

Thielke said the Village would decide at its next meeting, Monday, March 15, whether to appeal the decision. “We’ll base our decision on what our lawyer says,” he said.

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