Boyne City Planning Commission discusses Master Plan, Trail Town Plan, Catt Development plan and more

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

The Boyne City Planning Commission met Monday Sept. 15 to discuss several matters including the Boyne Area Medical Center, the Trail Town plan, Catt Development’s proposed new project, and the process to update the city’s master plan.
Following are highlights of last week’s meeting.
Boyne Area Medical Center addition
The Boyne Area Medical Center requested to add 1,300 square feet onto their current facility, through widening the exam room and office. Adrian Churchill with Wright Builders wanted to change the current parking situation, which is problematically placed across from the hospital.
“Basically we are looking at the driving back and forth everyday,” Churchill said. “It’s more of a convenience thing. It’s easier to park next to the door than to walk across the street. So I really think the parking is going to be an issue. I think this will help alleviate some of those problems.”
Board members discussed the hospital’s need to rearrange the parking, and it was noted that most seniors took the bus to the hospital.
The request to move forward with the addition was approved, without changes, by the planning commission with a 7-0 vote.
Final Draft of the Trail Town Plan
Mike Sheean presented the Trail Town Plan, which includes information on economic, business and community benefits of becoming a Trail Town.
“It tells you how to promote the trail for that community,” said Sheean…  “This report suggests strongly that our community is already moving in this direction.”
He added, “We are not here to design the trails so much as make the transition to the community.”
The commission asked if snowmobiles could ride on the trails during winter.
Sheean said that, if they make the trail compatible for bikes and other tires, snowmobiles could not ride and if they made it compatible for snowmobiles, bikes could not ride.
The commission approved the recommendation for city council with a 7-0 vote.
Boyne City Master Plan review
The planning commission reviewed the updated master plan draft, composed by planning consultant Mary Campbell.
Campbell was unable to attend the meeting so the commissioners reviewed the language and all items she included.
“To promote a high-quality balance that’s a general community goal, promote and diversify community businesses and industry to provide family-supporting jobs while protecting the natural environment and the small town feel,” said Scott McPherson, Boyne City Planning Director, as he read from the goal of the master plan.
The commission wanted to ensure employees are paid at a rate so they could support a family. The recently released ALICE report stated that 38 percent of people in Boyne City are living from paycheck to paycheck. The commission visited this topic, as a goal of the master plan.
McPherson said there is little the local government could do to regulate pay rates.
The commission voted to hold a separate meeting on Oct. 23, for public input for the Master Plan.
Look for more details on the public input session in future editions of the Boyne City Gazette.
Catt Development
At the last planning commission meeting, Glen Catt presented his idea for a new development in downtown Boyne City which could include a bank with a drive-thru.
“We talked about how with the ordinance it specifically says it doesn’t provide for that in its current language,” McPherson said. “And the commission directed staff to make an agenda item for discussion this month. So looking at the various options that facilitate that proposal, I think changing the text of the ordinance—that’s the best option.”
McPherson advised that the commission only change the ordinance to allow a drive-thru bank in the downtown area.
One commissioner commented that, if they change the ordinance to allow a bank drive-thru in downtown Boyne City, Catt Development must be receptive to the guidelines they include.
Commissioners discussed potential issues this could create to avoid unintended consequences and decided they should include that
the building has to have at least two stories.
Planning staff were directed to draft the zoning ordinance amendment language and schedule a public hearing on the matter for next month.