Jacob Wheeler of the Glen Arbor Sun reports on the status of Sugar Loaf and Leelanau County’s ultimatum for whoever the heck owns the resort:
Leelanau County construction code authority Steve Haugen has notified Remo Polselli — and other potential stakeholders in Sugar Loaf — this week that action must be taken on the long shuttered ski resort’s decrepit lodge within 20 business days, or Haugen will take the case to the 13th Circuit Court. Polselli now has until early January, 2016, to inform the construction code of his plan for Sugar Loaf.
Both Haugen and county prosecutor Joe Hubbell confirm that this is the first time that local county pressure on Polselli has been backed up by legal threats.
The options now facing Polselli — or Rock Investment Advisors, or Troy, MI-based Talmer Bancorp, or Sunrise, Fla.-based Transcapital Bank (whoever actually controls Sugar Loaf) — are to either bring the lodge up to code, shutter the building indefinitely, or demolish it to the ground. Haugen’s violation letter this week was sent to those and 8 other entities.
The first option may be difficult, as previous inspections of the lodge revealed significant damage from 15 years of vacancy.
The second option would require the lodge’s entrances and windows to be completely boarded up, and remain that way indefinitely; that may be the worst scenario for Michiganders who pine for the days when Sugar Loaf was this region’s most prominent ski resort and the county’s biggest employer.
The third option may be cost prohibitive for Polselli. Haugen estimates that a teardown could cost $1.3 million. Polselli recently had a local contractor demolish the nearby Sugar Barn (whose roof collapsed after heavy snow last winter), but the contractor was paid half what they were owed and has taken the matter to court. Unless they were paid upfront, it seems unlikely that other contractors in northern Michigan would agree to work for Polselli on Sugar Loaf.
Meanwhile, the nearby Sugar Loaf Townhouses association is unable to get their fire insurance renewed, ostensibly because of the shoddy state of the lodge. Members of the association have pressed Haugen and Leelanau County officials to take action and remedy the Sugar Loaf situation.
Read on for more including an idea from Cedar Rustic Inn owner Aaron Ackley for the County to place a millage on a ballot asking voters whether they favored paying a few dollars more in taxes that would enable the county to take over Sugar Loaf.