2017-03-16 / Front Page

Oil company, city agree on terms for excavation at old Sunoco site

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – After months of negotiations, it appears the city of Swartz Creek and ExxonMobil have reached some common ground regarding cleanup of the old Sunoco gas station.

Company officials have advised that they will remove contaminated soil from the site later this year, but there are a couple of conditions.

First, the oil company wants the city to enact a ground water ordinance prohibiting wells near the site. City leaders say they have no problem with that stipulation, since wells are already prohibited citywide, with a couple of exceptions for compelling circumstances.

Second, they want deed restrictions to ensure that, no matter who owns the property, no homes, daycare cen- ters or other such facilities may be built there.

And finally, ExxonMobil wants documentation stating that all applicable units of government understand that some residual contamination may exist under Miller Road and/or Holland Drive.

“This is good news,” said City Manager Adam Zettel. “We’ve been talking about Sunoco for a long time and we finally have a document in hand to say they’re going to clean it.”

Zettel said he expects excavation to take place by fall.

The city and oil company had gone back and forth over the terms of the cleanup for months. In December, city officials indicated they planned to move forward with developing the site in its current state, which poses no threat to the public.

The Sunoco site is one of six city-owned properties the Downtown Development Authority is planning to develop.

So far, many DDA members have indicated they are leaning toward turning the property into a parking/public event space.

“As much as I’d like to see something cutesy, we need parking,” said DDA member Ernie Eckerdt, whose preference would be for a pavilion if the parking need were not so great.

Mayor David Krueger, who also serves on the DDA, said that at least one adjacent store owner plans to improve his property and is interested in working with the city so the aesthetic of the two properties match.

Krueger said he would meet with the owners of other neighboring properties to see if they will consider similar updates.

The DDA is also looking at adding parking between the cemetery and Post Office on Fortino Drive.

Other city sites on the DDA radar are two adjoining lots at the northwest corner of Morrish Road and Fortino Drive, a swath of scrubland on Fortino Drive just north of Miller Road, and the vacant lot on Morrish Road where the city piles woodchips.

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