INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Residents in and around Locke Township in Ingham County, Michigan have been up in arms the last few days about what they thought was a plan by Granger Waste Services to build a landfill on land in Locke Township that was bought by M-52 Holdings LLC in August of 2021. Many of them attended a Locke Township planning commission meeting on November 15th but Township officials didn’t know what they were talking about and confirmed that the land has not been re-zoned from agriculture to commercial use.
Rumors started spreading and a Facebook group that now consists of 282 people was started called “Stop the Locke Township Landfill.” Residents had speculated that a landfill was going to be developed on several properties near the intersection of S. Lovejoy Road and W. Colby Road.
Michigan News Source reached out to John Zimmerman, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Granger Waste Services, about the Locke Township rumors and he said that yes, Granger Waste Services does own the property through M-52 Holdings LLC but they aren’t planning to develop a landfill. They are hoping to build a solar farm.
When asked why the property ownership isn’t in Granger’s name, he responded, “When we purchased the property, there were a lot of parcels that were pieced together so we worked with an agent to create the purchasing deal. That’s why it wasn’t under our name. Then from there, the agents work with the lawyers.”
Zimmerman said about the plans to build a solar farm “We know first that we need to inform the township – but we didn’t have a plan to inform the township yet because we’re still trying to find the best business partner/energy partner to do the farm because obviously we don’t do that. That’s something where we would reach out to Consumers or DTE or the Board of Water and Light. We’re in that process right now in trying to determine who are best partner is going to be then once we get to that point, then we develop a plan for the property.
They weren’t ready to talk to the township yet but he said “we got wind that there was some rumbling happening and we thought, ‘you know what, this poor township, they have no idea who owns this property and what the intent is for that property.’ So we reached out to the officials today and filled them in on what I just told you about what we’d like to do.”
Zimmerman says he can understand why people thought it might be a landfill project because that’s part of what they do but he also said they’re into other things like renewable energy – and they also collect methane gas from landfills.
Granger is a family-owned company with four generations working for the company right now. Because of that, Zimmerman said, “We’re looking at the future thinking ‘what else can we add to our portfolio’ because we have a long list of Granger family members who are coming in and we want the company to continue to grow. With Whitmer administrations’ emphasis on zero emissions, we thought solar energy is the perfect thing to get involved in and it’s perfect to get involved with now with the pushing of the EV vehicles.”
About the rumors that a landfill was being developed, Zimmerman said, “It’s a shame that people didn’t just reach out to us and we’d be more than happy to tell them.”
But he added that, “We’re also in a pickle too because we didn’t even tell the township.” So that’s why he decided Granger had to let the township know now what was going on.
Referring to another media report recently from WLNS-TV6 where one of the property owners said he got some secret call about selling his property, Zimmerman said that they use an agent to get a fair market price, not to do something undercover.
Zimmerman said, “We’re a Christian family-owned company that is very transparent…we don’t hide anything…we don’t deceive anyone…we take care of our properties. We’re good stewards of our environment. We have to be in our business.”
When asked about the company’s timetable to get the solar farm built, he said, “We still got to work through all the logistics and partnerships before we can put any sort of timetable together.”