Denial of Nestle pump station permit stands

The Nestle Ice Mountain plant in Stanwood. (File)

OSCEOLA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — A zoning appeals board has dealt another setback to a bottled-water company that wants to pump more groundwater in West Michigan.

Nestle Waters North America had appealed the Osceola Township Planning Commission’s decision in April to deny a request for a permit to build a new pumping station, but the zoning appeals board on Tuesday upheld the denial.

After the decision, Nestle released the following statement:

“We are disappointed by the Zoning Board of Appeals decision regarding Ice Mountain’s proposed booster station. The booster station, a small 12-foot by 22-foot building, is designed to house a booster pump. We firmly believe the plan we proposed met the site plan and special land use standards that are set forth in the Osceola Township Zoning Ordinance.

The question before the Zoning Board of Appeals was how to classify the building. In denying Ice Mountain’s application for approval of the building on April 18, 2017, the Township Planning Commission chose to review the building as an “essential service,” which we believe was in error and should have been reversed by this appeal process.

Construction of a booster station is the best alternative to meet our goal to diminish, as much as possible, the impact to the local community and environment. Our proposal to place the structure in an open grass area away from any surface water areas would reduce potential environmental impacts. By housing the booster pump equipment inside a small structure, the volume of noise generated by the pump would also be significantly reduced.

Ice Mountain has been a good neighbor to Osceola Township for over 15 years. Since 2006, we have paid over $500,000 in property taxes and the booster pump building will add to the Township’s tax base. We employ more than 270 people, including dozens living in or near the Township with an annual payroll of $19 million.

Although we disagree with today’s decision, we value the positive relationships with Township residents and community leaders. We have not yet determined whether we will appeal this decision to the Osceola County Circuit Court. We are considering multiple options for alternatives.”

The planning commission denied granting Nestle the permit for the pipeline booster station at Spring Hill Camp. It’s part of the company’s proposal to withdraw up to 400 gallons per minute from a well in Osceola County.

Nestle’s state permit request on its pumping plans is pending.