City of Rockford

Lawsuit: Denial was arbitrary and capricious made with reckless and/or intentional disregard

July 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA Rockford City Council went into closed session on Monday, July 13 to discuss strategy for pending litigation by the would-be developer of the Tamarack Run condominium project after a lawsuit against the City was filed regarding its City Council denial of the development. With attorney Dick Wendt in attendance, the council attended regular business before retiring to a different room for privacy to discuss the lawsuit, filed July 9 in Kent County Circuit Court. The lawsuit establishes that the Council approved the development on February 9, 2015 after two hours of public comment. In addition, it contends that the use requested comply with the City’s Master Plan. The PUD met requirements, would significantly transform a contaminated site to residential cleanup standards. In addition the use would not be injurious to human health and met City zoning requirements. The developer spent $150,000 to support the Preliminary and Final Plan Approval. The lawsuit reads: “All of the discussion by the Council Members regarded whether the existing environmental issues on the Burch Body Works portion of the Tamarack Run property were identified or would be cleaned up properly.” “In the discussion Council Member Mancewicz questioned the ability of the environmental contractor to perform the environmental cleanup on the Burch Body Works portion of the Tamarck Run Property.” “In the discussion Council Member Mancewicz stated that she did not believe the correct soil tests were done on the site, or that the Burch Body Works portion of the Tamarack Run Property would be cleaned up properly.” In the discussion City Manager Young stated that the issue before the Council was the rezoning of the Tamarack Run Property, not the environmental issues associated with the Burch Body Works portion of the Tamarack Run Property or the requirements for cleanup.” “Two Council Members, Council Member [Gail] Mancewicz and [Tammy] Bergstrom, voted against the rezoning of the Tamarack Run Property. As a result of Council Members’ Mancewicz and Bergstrom votes against the passage of Resolution 15-8, Resolution 15-8 did not pass and the Tamarack Run Property remains zoned as R-2.” The denial “does not constitute a legitimate basis for denying the rezoning of the Tamarack Run Property from R-2 to PUD. “The failure of the City’s Council to approve […]

The Rockford Women’s Water Polo team

April 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Women’s Water Polo team had great competition the last week of March.   The first match of the week had the Rams playing the defending State Champions, Okemos High School. Okemos came into the match highly favored to win. Rockford, however, had no plans to make the night an easy victory. The Lady Rams played at the top of their game, with goals scored from Hannah Raymond, Anna Kennedy, and Lexi Chisholm. At the end of the 4th quarter, the game was tied at 7 all, forcing the match into overtime. Although the extra match play did not present Rockford with the victory, the experience gained against one of the top teams in the state, gave the Rams the opportunity to work on teamwork and strategy critical to the remainder of the season. The second match of the week was against Hudsonville. Always a great game against a very tough team, Hudsonville pulled out the win 14 to 12, but not before Rockford showcased the scoring talent of Hannah Raymond (7 Goals) and Lexi Chisholm (5 Goals). Next up for the Rams is the 7th Annual Purple Polo match with Zeeland High School benefiting Relay for Life. At Zeeland this year on Tuesday April 14th, proceeds from the evening’s donations, t-shirt sales and concessions will benefit Relay for Life events at both schools. Come support this great cause – Go Rams!

PC approves final plan for Monroe Street condos.

April 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA Sale of contaminated half-acre of city property included Passionate, even tearful comments against approving a 51-unit condominium development were heard by Rockford Planning Commissioners on Thursday, March 26 before the board voted five to one to recommend Rockford City Council give the final go-ahead to the project. Developer Marcell Burger and two associates were present to answer questions The public comment session was almost entirely taken up by residents of the stretch of Monroe between Courtland and Lewis streets, although several non-residents spoke, both for and against the development. City attorney Dick Wendt was present, along with City Manager Michael Young, Clerk Chris Bedford and commissioners Tammy Bergstrom, Cliff Hill, Chair Jim Scales, Tom Sturr, Dave Rasmussen and Jon Minor. Young opened the meeting with a summary of the process of approving the Tamarack Run development, explaining what steps have been taken since the development plan was submitted to the city in October of 2014. He outlined the public meetings held since, including a two-and-a-half hour City Council meeting on February 9. Many of the same people who spoke at previous Council and Planning Commission meetings spoke at the Thursday meeting, voicing mostly the same objections to the development. New to the discussion was an explanation of steps necessary to sell to the developer a parcel of property belonging to the City within the boundaries of the development. Young said a piece of land approximately 212 feet by 100 feet was identified as city land, although it has been used as part of the former inhabitant Burch Body Works for over 100 years. The parcel, just under a half-acre, has been identified as including one of several contaminated areas on the entire seven-acre plat. As part of the development all contaminated lands will be removed and disposed of in an appropriate landfill at the developer’s expense. The Tamarack Run condominiums will occupy about half of the seven acres with wetlands on the other half being preserved. Burger spoke before the public comment session began and told commissioners that more room for snow removal had been added to the project by adding more space between homes. He said more parking had been added in response to residents’ concerns about parking on Monroe Street […]

Valley View Elementary Brainstormers!

March 26, 2015 // 0 Comments

Valley View Elementary recently held a two part assembly series put on by the Brainstormers! LLC. The Brainstormers have been working for 22 years to motivate, empower and encourage kids to be creative, both “on the page and on the stage.” The first show called The Takeoff show took place in January, and its purpose was to motivate the students to produce creative writing pieces and to, in essence, become young authors. Following the show, teachers at Valley View had their students create stories, which were then submitted to the Brainstormers! The hysterical and  quirky performers from the assembly company selected 10 of the stories from the students and brought them to life on the stage on March 17th to an audience of students and staff dressed in green. The young authors, whose creative writing pieces were chosen, were brought to the Awesome Authors chair at the front of the gymnasium and were interviewed. The were able to sit in the chair of honor and see their story brought to life. Some of the stories were based on real life events and others involved aliens invading a friend’s house and SpongeBob climbing to the top of Spaghetti Mountain. Many of the kindergarten through fifth graders were also given the opportunity to use their acting and improvisational skills while playing supporting roles in each of the skits. According to many of the teachers and staff, the assembly was thought to be one of the best in years, and they all appreciated the motivational effect it had on the authors and all of the Valley View students. A large portion of the assembly was funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs through their Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Program.

EXPO says, ‘You are going to Mexico. For free.’ And you will win $500 in cash

March 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA   The EXPO doesn’t lie. It just doesn’t know who it is talking to. According to Rockford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Southwick, it is guaranteed, for sure, absolutely going to happen that one lucky person will win an all-expenses paid two person trip to Mexico paid for by the Chamber from Antor Travel and Apple Vacations. Plus, four people will win $500 in cash. Plus, if you aren’t one of those fortunate five, you are guaranteed not to leave empty-handed. Hundreds of booths will be staffed by many hundreds of friendly people who work and live right here in West Michigan, all happy to offer some sort of goodie—a tree seedling, candy, pen, awesome drawings, such as free trips, free services, games with prizes, samples and of course, once again A Taste of Rockford with Flo’s, Uccello’s and Candlestone Inn offering delicious tastes from their kitchens for tickets which sell for a dollar each. The eleventh annual Rockford Community EXPO is slated for Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rockford High School. Amazing, you think. What does it cost to get into this wonderous event? It’s free. The best thing about the annual EXPO, besides all the great people to see and things to do, is that each EXPO is different and you never know what might be happening. Absolutely you will see Rockford’s fine public safety officers and there are always other local law enforcement members with stickers for the kids and a talking, lively mascot. At the first one a pair of local businessmen teamed up to try to beat the Guinness Book of World Records by grilling the largest every burger. Entertainment is all day and top quality. Local celebrities MC the event from beginning to end. This year’s line-up is Andy Rent, Chuck LaTour, Michelle DeSelms and Juliet Dragos. Rockford students will perform for you from the stage in the gymnasium, ending with the Rockford High School Jazz Band. This year again there will be a dozen and one selling booths, where visitors can buy products, goods or services, including the Rockford Lions taking orders for hams. The wide range of service and product providers will highlight what a talented and diverse […]

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