Ecklers say they’ll appeal

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, June 8, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Larry and Lucyle Eckler decided to appeal before the judge ruled.
The owners of Eckler's Produce and Greenhouse, 1879 Barron Lake Road, will fight a ruling by Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael E. Dodge that upholds a decision made in 2002 by the Howard Township Board of Trustees.
Dodge filed a written opinion Wednesday, May 24, concerning a case between the Ecklers and the Howard Township Board of Trustees.
This is the second overall appeal in the case. The Ecklers had to appeal an earlier decision that ruled they had not filed a grievance in a timely manner.
The township issued a conditional use permit to Moose Lake Aggregates LLC, 1886 Barron Lake Road, on July 16, 2002. The township held four public hearings and was issued a recommendation from the Howard Township Zoning Board before granting the permit.
The decision allowed Moose Lake to mine sand and gravel in an area considered an agricultural/residential zone, said attorney for Howard Township, Mitt Drew.
Being downwind from Moose Lake has caused a number of problems for the Ecklers. Larry said, among other things, vibrations from the Moose Lake pit can be felt at the greenhouse.
Larry added they have made attempts to converse with township officials over the issue, but were recently informed a meeting would not take place.
In his written opinion, Dodge said the function of the court was “to decide whether the Howard Township Board's decision is authorized by law and supported by competent material and substantial evidence.”
Drew said the multiple public meetings held by the township, and the material presented at those times, provided the court with plenty of evidence.