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Published: Wednesday, 1/17/2007

Subdivision in wetlands flap cleared in Bedford

TEMPERANCE - The Bedford Township board last night gave initial plat approval to the Douglas Ridge subdivision.

The project began development in 2004 but was halted when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality charged its developer, Douglas Dibert, with illegally draining wetlands on his 33 acres off Douglas Road, just south of Dean Road.

Mr. Dibert has scaled back the proposal from 83 lots to 50 lots on 30 acres. The westernmost section of the property will be preserved for wetlands.

The case against Mr. Dibert was dismissed in Monroe County 1st District Court in July, 2005, when his company, Douglas Ridge Development, entered a guilty plea to unlawful filling, dredging, or draining of a wetland and paid fines of $1,545, according to the county prosecutor's office.

An MDEQ investigation revealed at least five wetland areas on the site had been either illegally drained, filled in, or stripped of vegetation.

The company agreed to fully restore the destroyed wetlands. The MDEQ said it would monitor the restoration for five years to make sure plant life continued to thrive there.

When the township board approved the tentative preliminary plat plan for the subdivision last night, it stipulated that deed restrictions must be placed on its plats mentioning the wetlands and prohibiting uses that could harm them.



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