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      Lakenenland vs. Township

      A bandshell built at Lakenenland last summer has led to a zoning dispute between the owner and Chocolay Township officials.If you've driven down M-28 in Chocolay Township over the past five years, you've seen the unique U.P. park known as Lakenenland. According to owner Tom Lakenen, he's had his fair share of zoning issues with the township concerning his signs, his sculptures, and now the bandshell.A former zoning official permitted Tom to build the bandshell, but now current zoning officials say he was given that permit in error and should now have to comply with different rules, including a new permit."I do hear a lot of people that come through here who are aware of this, and they say we're going to boycott Chocolay Township. Well, the businesses in Chocolay Township got to deal with the same bunch of people I'm dealing with; don't take it out personally on the businesses, this is strictly a township issue," said Lakenen.Tom says his issues with the township go way back, several years in fact, but a Chocolay Township zoning official says they appreciate what he's done for the area.Jennifer Thum, zoning administrator, said, "We're not opposed to it; we just want everyone to follow the same procedures, and I understand the past. We're just trying to, the township board, is trying to correct this, so we have a better future relationship with Tom. This is a great asset to our community, it really, really is."Township officials want Tom to fill out a conditional use permit, which he says would give the township too much power, allowing them to make stipulations.His message: "Just get off my back and leave me alone."According to Chocolay Township officials, Ttom has until the next planning commission meeting on April 5 to fill out the form.