HURON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – State officials did not address a complaint a resident had filed against a developer in Huron Township who was cutting down trees in a wetland area.
People who live in the New Boston area have said the construction project is destroying the reason they purchased their homes in the first place -- the trees. The developer said it has been clear for years about its plans to build 43 more homes there and they said they had all the permits to do so.
When Local 4 checked with the state last week to confirm that Infinity Homes had all the permits, the state revealed they did not have a final issued permit to chop down the trees.
Infinity Homes has acknowledged the violation notice and stopped working. According to state officials, residents got a restraining order from a judge to stop the work.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) issued a notice finding Infinity Homes in violation of Michigan wetland law -- citing unauthorized activity including tree clearing and soil disturbance. EGLE said part of the area where Infinity Homes cut down trees and moved dirt around is a designated wetland.
EGLE told Local 4 that residents should have filed a complaint, then the state could have acted. Local 4 Investigators have learned that a resident had filed a complaint and the state did not address it.
A New Boston resident shared a confirmation email from the state with Local 4 that showed they filed a complaint about trees being cut down in their Hawthorne Woods community.
In a statement, EGLE said they have close to 2,500 complaints in the queue and this one was not highly prioritized because it did not threaten human health.
“The wetlands complaint was in the queue to be addressed, but not highly prioritized as it did not involve a threat to human health or an ongoing release of hazardous materials. With close to 2,500 complaints responded to annually, EGLE must prioritize those with the most serious potential impacts to health and the environment.”EGLE
According to state officials, the trees that were cut were in the wetland area that had been approved in the draft permit so no remediation will be required. That is because the mitigation/offsets in the draft permit would compensate for that. The state will determine if any fines will be issued.
Any trees that were cut in the non-wetland area are in the township’s jurisdiction and the township will need to decide if they want to take action or require mitigation.
A final permit still has not been issued.
--> Developer hit with violation notice for cutting down trees in Huron Township without final permit