By Jim Newell
Orion Township could be a step closer to finally unloading three lots it owns on Atwater Street, after an offer on the property during the board of trustees meeting Monday night.
Jim Cummins, a resident and founder of the Cummins Group, an architecture, planning and consulting group in Utica, made a $120,000 offer on the Atwater property.
The property, next to the Atwater Commons townhouses, had been listed at $159,000, a reduction from the township’s previous list price of $189,000.
The board voted to reduce the price in September and has since had five inquiries and two agent-prepped offers, both of which have backed out, Supervisor Chris Barnett said.
In June 2013, Orion Township closed on a land purchase deal for three parcels on Atwater Street with the intention of building a new fire station on the site.
The township purchased the property for about $205,000, but then had additional costs to demolish the three homes on the land, permit fees, sewer and water fees.
No matter what the final sale price, the township will take a loss on the property.
Treasurer Donni Steele said the township decided it was cheaper to renovate Fire Station #1 on Anderson Street in the village than to build a new fire station.
The township had initially hoped to begin renovations on the fire station this past spring, but bids came in higher than expected, so officials decided to wait until spring of 2018 and re-bid the project, which had an initial completion date of December 2017.
A letter submitted to the township from Cummins, who also sits on the Village of Lake Orion Planning Commission, says he intends to build a 2,400-square-foot Craftsman-style home on the property for he and his wife. The couple had previously owned a home in Lake Orion but had sold it, Cummins said.
“I think the price reduction (to $159,000) we reduced to was actually a fair, marketable price,” said Kathleen Sanchez of Real Estate One, the township’s realtors for the property.
The board initially countered Cummins offer with an offer of $155,000.
“$155,000 is more than I’m willing to pay for the property,” Cummins said, adding he wants the deal to be “equitable to both parties” and that he was willing to go up to $130,000 to $135,000. “That’s a cash offer, no bank financing,” he said.
“I think it would be nice to see a nice house built on that lot,” Barnett said.
The board withdrew the offer and voted unanimously to counter with an offer of $140,000. A decision to move forward with the deal could come at the next board meeting on Nov. 20, after Cummins considers the township’s counteroffer.
Township officials said the township would save about a million dollars by renovating the Anderson Street fire station instead of building a new station at the Atwater property and anticipates a budget of $800,000 to $1.2 million for the project.
Sanchez said two parcels are zoned for single-family use but the third parcel doesn’t have enough frontage to be sold for single-family use.
Fire Station No. 1, at 93 S. Anderson St., was originally constructed in 1980 and is a 5,100-square foot building.
Also at the meeting:
• The board passed the second reading of its medical marijuana ordinance by a 5-2 vote, with Clerk Penny Shults and Treasurer Donnie Steele casting the dissenting votes. Township officials have said the ordinance is necessary to comply with new state laws that take effect in December.
Orion Township’s ordinance does not allow for dispensaries, outside growing and is restrictive on where any medical marijuana operations can be located.
Full copies of the ordinance can be viewed in the Oct. 25 issue of The Lake Orion Reivew or at the township clerk’s office.
• The Orion Township Fire Department will receive $42,578 worth of fire hoses at a cost of $4,257. The Springfield Fire Department applied for an Assistance to Firefighter Grant from the federal government and Orion Township is one of the ten fire departments taking part in the grant. This grant will allow the fire department to get 12,600 feet of hose.
• Orion Township is eligible to receive approximately $76,559 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the 2018 program year. The township board will hold a public hearing on the total allotment and use of the CDBG funds at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Rd.
• Members of the Lake Orion High School Marching Band played The Star Spangled Banner at the board meeting on Monday. The township board recognized the band, under the direction of Michael Steele, for taking third place at the state band competition at Ford Field on Saturday.