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Public hearing on proposed Howell Township gas station is canceled

A Public Hearing that had been scheduled for next week to discuss a proposed Howell Township gas station has been canceled

The August 22nd meeting of the township’s Planning Commission had been set based on a request for a special use permit to allow a gas station and car wash to be built at the corner of Mason and Burkhardt roads, which is more than 2,100 feet inside a wellhead protection area. However, current township ordinance prohibits gas stations within 300 feet of such an area.

According to a notice on the township’s website, the public hearing was canceled at the request of the petitioner, Todd Lekander of Howell Mason LLC, owner and operator of the Mugg & Bopp chain of gas station/convenience stores in Livingston County. He had been requesting to construct a Mugg & Bopps station at the corner of Mason and Burkhardt roads, within the wellhead protection area, defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as “the surface and subsurface area surrounding a water well or wellfield, supplying a public water system, through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach such water well or wellfield.”

Previous attempts by Lekander to place the station at that location were rebuffed by the township in 2021 and then again earlier this year. However, after the most recent rejection,  Township Treasurer Jonathan Hohenstein said he had discussed the issue with Greg Tatara, Director of the Marion-Howell-Oceola-Genoa Water Authority (MHOG), who had been working with other municipalities in the wellhead protection area to try to get similar ordinances in place.

Then at their May 8, 2023 meeting, the Howell Township board voted to approve sending to its Planning Commission a draft wellhead protection ordinance from Marion Township that Cox says could potentially allow gas stations within the Wellhead Protection Area.

The cancellation follows public opposition led by Duane Cox, who lives on Groveland Drive, near where the station would be built. He told GIGO News, he is adamantly opposed to allowing it for fear of potential contamination of residents drinking water.

Cox created a Facebook page to inform residents about the proposal, as well circulated petitions to stop it and urge like-minded residents to attend the August 22nd public hearing.

“No way do I consider this all-over-with,” said Cox in a post on his page. “Todd (Lekander) will be back, because Todd not only Doubled Down after he was Denied the First Time with buying the Second Property, but Todd also Tripled Down after he was Denied the Second Time with buying the Third Property. Todd bought the Third Property from the very same person that was Strongly Opposed to having Mugg & Bopps as a next-door neighbor. As I said, this is Not all-over-with. So, I will be posting more information and Keeping this Mission Going. If you hear of anything new, Please Let Me Know.”

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