Dear Mayor and City Council,
It would be an understatement to say that we were disappointed with the administrative law judge’s decision regarding our annexation petition. The circular logic used to develop the premise of the decision (that the townships are growing but Pine River isn’t, therefore there is no need to consider annexation) overlooks key testimony and facts stipulated to by all sides. The decision lacks an understanding of how small-towns grow and thrive and, in our opinion, misapplies the statutes. We believe it was a bad decision.
We also believe it to be a harmful decision. Our testimony and reports were not generated exclusively for the purpose of arguing your case. We passionately believe that the annexation, as proposed, is in the best interests of the entire Pine River area and that, without it, the prosperity of the entire area is threatened. This decision sets a chilling precedent for small-towns across the state.
We are heartened by the news that you will be appealing the decision. We know the City has already been financially burdened by the process up to this point. It is a tragedy that you are required to spend the amount resources you have pursuing this. We are sensitive to your financial position and have tried to reduce the costs you have incurred for our planning expertise.
We want you to know that we are committed to you and to seeing this process through to its completion. To that end, we are going to work for you on this appeal as your planning expert at no cost to the City of Pine River. We will do what is needed to supplement our reports and testimony, as well as provide additional testimony as needed in District Court, and you will not be charged for that effort. We’re on your team, and we are in this together.
We’re optimistic that District Court will be a more favorable forum for us. The judge there will certainly be familiar with life in a small-town and, therefore, have a better context for the case we present. We’re going to work with your legal team to make the best argument on your behalf. Our organization is proud to be a partner with you in this effort.
Charles L. Marohn, Jr., PE AICP
President, Professional Engineer, American Institute of Certified Planners