More Sugar Loaf news, some of it even good

No Outlet by Andy McFarlaneThis week’s Enterprise reports on a new wrinkle in the already wrinkled tapestry that is Sugar Loaf. Cleveland Township resident and former planning commission chairman Charles J. Ryant Jr. has announced his intention to circulate a petition for a referendum on a zoning ordinance amendment that the Township Board adopted to streamline the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval process for Sugar Loaf. Ryant apparently has issues with the lack of concessions required of developers who apply for PUDs.

The article also notes that Kings Challenge golf pro and manager Chuck Olson is now working for John Sills and that he is confident the course will open this spring. Olson did say:

“From the customer’s perspective, nothing’s going to change at the golf courses, but in terms of reuniting the golf course properties with the ski resort – what’s happening now appears to be a step backward rather than a step forward.

Read Referendum plan, suit cloud Sugar Loaf’s future in the Leelanau Enterprise.

14 replies
  1. Believer
    Believer says:

    It seems the tables are turning as I told you they would. What goes around comes around, and it would appear that Kate is not the only one (as mis-reported in the paper) that doesn’t pay her bills. Seems the golf course guys are having problems of their own. Ofcourse they have to blame Kate for their misfortune, but think about it – I haven’t seen anything that talks about their plans for development – no PUD applications, no nothing. Or, did their plans depend others misfortune? Perhaps this has been why Kate has not been able to move forward – have you thought about that? See how easy it is to start rumors? Isn’t this fun!!!!!
    Kate has not spoken out on any of the negativity because she chose to not create another pi—–g match as was in the past. She has tried to work with those around her – She has sat back quietly trying to do what is asked of her, waiting out the zoning ordinances, etc. Perhaps she is stronger than all of you are giving her credit for. Last spring she did submit her plans, but has had to wait for the text ammendment which has taken 10 months now. Her plans only surrounded the Cleveland Township property – I don’t recall seeing anything in the paper regarding her going to the Centerville township with any plans. Did you? Or is that just another rumor that someone has put out there? Geez people –
    I personally am appalled at the cruelty of some of you writers – bet you wouldn’t show your face in public – instead you hide behind a blog! You only base your criticism on hearsay, rumors, speculation, half truths and your negative outlook on life.
    I DO believe that Kate will make the right decisions regarding Sugar Loaf as her only intention is to do good for all of you. Try showing some support or is that contrary to your beliefs?
    The truth will all come out in the end – always does.
    Let’s try something new – lets try writing something positive.

  2. Aggie1
    Aggie1 says:

    Why don’t we just talk about facts. Not rumors, speculation, opinion, wishes, or fantasy.

    Fact is that Kate is not getting it done. Nothing has happened at Sugarloaf that has helped the area at all since she has purchased the property. Nothing. These are facts.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think she has delivered on one publically stated plan. She didn’t even close the deal on the purchase when she originally said she would.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    Something has to change in order to have a different outcome.

    I will let the readers form their own opinions as everyone has one the same as me.

  3. UP_Skier
    UP_Skier says:

    Believer, Since Kate announced her intention to purchase Sugar Loaf, leading up to and including the closing of the deal, the residents of Leelanau county showed tremendous support, encouragement, and ideas on how to improve a very important piece of the county’s past and (hopefully) future. What they got in return has been little to no communication from Kate, even though she asked for input and ideas to foster an open dialogue about Sugar Loaf going forward. From what I saw on the old Leelanau Forum, most of the posters were not only positive, they were down right enthusiastic. I believe the lack of progress (any progress) has been an enormous deflater of optimism.

    What is disconcerting to me, is that I’ve read the news stories about the proposed developement, yet nothing is being done with the core of the resort. The developement plans are long range, but there has been no short-term activity. Kate stated the restaurant/bar would open summer of ’05: It didn’t. Kate stated in ’06 that the restaurant/bar would open summer of ’06: It didn’t. Kate stated that skiing would hopefully return in the winter of ’06-07: Not only did it not, but the State was never even called to inspect the lifts.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but skiing is what attracts people to ski resorts, not indoor skate parks, not campgrounds, and certainly not airport condominiums. If there is to be any hope for Sugar Loaf, it needs to restablish itself as a winter sports destination first, the rest will follow as demand necessitates.

  4. Believer
    Believer says:

    You guys aren’t listening – how can Kate open the lodge or even any part of the resort without a sewer system? The guys owning the waste treatment plant terminated her agreement 2 months after she closed on the resort and within 30 days after they bought it. They say she owes them $8,000.oo a month for every month she has owned the resort and since they terminated the agreement. How can you owe on something you don’t have? Everytime she got close to having an agreement and she let the community know that she was close to opening something – the rug was taken out from underneath her and back to square one with trying to negoitate another agreement with these guys. Perhaps if the golf course guys would have really had the best interest of the community at heart, they would have tried working with Kate rather than putting so much energy in trying to stop her. Sabotage??!!?!??
    IF people want to show their support – go to the township meetings – at the ones I attended, they had only a handful of people there. Perhaps if more attend, they could have pushed the issues through quicker by voicing their opinions rather than being delayed month after month after month.
    There is alot of red tape and rules to follow – its very time consuming and expensive in legal fees. Kates been following the rules – she’s been hanging in there – why can’t you?
    Read back through all the articles over the past year printed and the mud slinging – look at whose been slinging it. I don’t recall any degrogatory remarks from Kate. Only remarks trying to discredit her – why doesn’t she respond to that? Well, ask yourself this – why would she lower herself to their level? People love to read the juicy – gossip breeding articles written. Heck – even the press can’t print a positive note without ending off with a negative just to keep the pot stirring.
    I am just exhausted people – here I am trying to keep some positive going on and I’ve gotten myself riled up trying to get you to see there is always two sides to every story. Come on – I know there are alot of you out there that know the truth – speak up. If we are going to share a blog – lets get it right.

  5. Aggie1
    Aggie1 says:

    The thing that I don’t understand is why the township gives any of these guys (Kate, Sills, or the guys that own the golf course) a break in paying taxes or complying with any ordinance. I would think that they could pressurize the system by making the owners follow the letter of every rule and law (until they open up the hill). Why the township allows Kate or Poselli to not pay taxes and not go after foreclosure at the earliest possible opportunity is beyond me.

    It seems that if the hill could be sold for what it is really worth (what the market will bear), someone would then be able to put some investment in it and make some money. This is the key to getting Sugarloaf running again or as some other asset to the community.

  6. Believer
    Believer says:

    Where do you get your information???????????????? Where did you get the idea that Kate gets any breaks and that she doesn’t pay her property tax? Last time I checked the records (and I do my research to get the facts before I speak) she was paid on all her taxes and in fact, if you check back over the past two years, you will see that the county has increased her taxes almost two fold. As far as the other people you mention, I don’t know the status of their taxes, so can not comment. As far as following the rules – as I said before, if you attended the township meetings you would see that Kate is patiently following the rules. It was the township that wanted to change their outdated ordinances and Kate has waited 10 months for the changes and approval so she could move forward. My goodness Aggie, I do believe that you are one of those people that just likes to keep the pot stirred. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

  7. Aggie1
    Aggie1 says:

    Believer you must be the true eternal optimist. My point is that Kate is not delivering. If there is a conspiracy against her, I don’t care. The township should be a catalyst for this to get worked out. The losers in all this are the people and property owners of Leelanau county.

    Kate got her shot, everyone including myself wanted nothing but for her to succeed. She has proved that she is in over her head with Sugarloaf and it is time for her to move on.

    Believer with all you knowledge of the situation, are you Kate?

  8. Bryanp
    Bryanp says:

    I was told over the weekend that Kate is in discussions with DC Shoes, the snowboard shoe maker, to sell Sugar Loaf. Supposedly, they have four other extreme sports facilities around the country. Sugar Loaf would be a snowboarding and extreme sports complex ONLY. That will make the kids happy. However, I doubt their parents, those considering buying property and investing in a community, would jump at the chance to participate. Granted, DC Shoes would have the deeper pockets and business acumen to develop the former resort, more so that the present owner. I remain dubious about the guidance and direction of the ‘Loaf. Let’s see what unfolds……..

  9. lex
    lex says:

    The only facility I’m aware of,I’m not saying there isn’t others, is the DC mtn lab, which is not opened to the public & is based by their wintersports headquaters. (Anybody) Is there any public meetings in the near future regarding the Loaf? Thanks

  10. Believer
    Believer says:

    Aggie – wish I was Kate then I could really tell you the whole story. No, I am just a close friend who hears enough of what she has been having to deal with and admire her composure to not get involved in the mud slinging. I on the other hand, appreciate the positive and just hate seeing the mis-guided direction some public feels necessary to put out there and say about her when they know nothing of what they are talking about. Who is DC Shoes? Never heard of them – is this another rumor?

  11. Bryanp
    Bryanp says:

    Ask Kate “close friend.” If you read my post, they are makers of, among other things, Snowboarding shoes. You can call it rumor-mongering. I prefer to call it keeping the community informed. Seems as though you’re being blinded by one side of the story.

    In regards to the golf courses, I understand from folks directly at the Homestead (not a rumor, BLVR) that Bob Kuras who owns the Homestead is planning to take over operations of Kings Challenge this year and if it goes well, buy it. It fits. Bob has wanted a course for his resort for more than 20 years. It’s just a 10 minute shuttle ride. However, it does mean further fracturing of the ‘Loaf.

    Also, again, not a rumor, Brian and Ed are having many trees cleared around the 12th green on the old resort course and along the 13th and 14th fairways. Looks like that is where they plan to place their efforts. Again, not a rumor.

  12. Downstateskier
    Downstateskier says:

    Skiers on the hill — that’s all I care about. Its been blah, blah, blah for years already. Back property taxes, IRS, prison terms, foreclosures, zoning, sewage bills, now back mortgage payments on the golf course?! What a sad, slow and stinky soap opera!

    Where’s the political leadership? If they don’t want to grandstand, I understand. Is someone steering this thing? Maybe condemnation is in order for the ski area buildings and property (there has to be, at least, a dozen code/ordinance violations) and foreclosure on the golf course with the back taxes (if that’s true). The problem, from the township/county perspective, is the legal bills when you start to fight the hard way. Risk/Reward? (Imagine the future tax revenue)

    We’re buying a house by Boyne Mountain because of four season reasons. If the ‘Loaf was open, we’d be investing in Leelanau strait away. That was always my dream.

    From my perspective, it sounds like everyone is in over their heads. I have no faith in anyone involved at the moment. I’ve always thought that the only long-term hope for the whole place is a true resort operator like an Intrawest or ASC who sees a completely rebuilt four-season resort among the wine country, water, dunes, etc. But even if someone knocked on the door while holding a big bag of cash, could they sort-it all out or have the patience to even try?

    What a shame that this jewel remains unrepaired and unconnected to the rest of the world.

  13. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    It is indeed a shame that this jewel has been turned into a rotting hulk.

    You make an excellent point about the political leadership. Both Cleveland Township and Leelanau are losing a TON of tax revenue due to the fact that property values in the area surrounding the resort are so dramatically depressed.

    Any thoughts from our political leadership on this?

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