Charlevoix County Planning Commission talks wetlands, beach, Land Use plan

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

The Charlevoix County Planning Commission held its regular meeting on Dec. 4 to discuss MDEQ proposals for approval and to review submitted responses for the Land Use Plan in addition to other business.

Following are the highlights of last week’s meeting.

Land Use Plan

The Charlevoix County Planning Commission sent forms to seven different companies in search of a company to help construct their updated Land Use Plan. Three businesses replied and the commission plans to discuss which plan would suit their needs at the next regular meeting.

Land Information Access Association submitted a plan that would cost $16,225, Networks Northwest submitted their plan that would total $5,400 and $60 an hour for additional work. Beckett & Raeder replied to the request with a plan that would cost $56,317.

“Make sure we take in consideration which we want, and see how these proposals fit into that,” said Denny Jason, Chairman of the Charlevoix County Planning Commission. “Because, if you look at dollar signs, that isn’t necessarily what you need to look at to begin with. We need to make sure what they are proposing and they understand what we are desiring.”

Staff Comments

Commissioners reported happenings throughout the month.

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Bob Tidmore reported that Beaver Island’s online radio station, WBVI, should be available by spring on the FM station.

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Bob Draves reported that zoning permits are tripling and East Jordan’s Ambulance Authority should be running by April 1.

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Larry Levengood reported that he attended the planners forum on Oct. 30—comments he received from the event were positive and that they should hold the forum annually.

“I attended the DNR State Fisherman’s Island State Parks planning session,” said Levengood. “The bottom line here is the state park has a program where they do master plans for all their state parks.”
He added, “They can only do a couple a year … so they decided to do one and they never really had done one since they first opened the park.”

Levengood also attended the subcommittee of the Charlevoix Steering Committee and the Networks Northwest session on regional prosperity.

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Patrick Howard informed the commission that Emmet County is working on its ambulance authority; currently they have one truck but have ordered four.

“Our response times have always been longer, that’s why we have two first-responder bases: one in Chandler and one in Melrose, trying to bridge the gap a little bit,” he said. “We responded to a call in Walloon Lake from Chandler; Walloon Lake (ambulance) got there, and the dispatcher never turned us around so I’m waiting for the call, and the dispatcher for Charlevoix County was just scrambling.”

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Ron Van Zee reported that Bay Township made four significant changes to its ordinance, while Hayes Township is reviewing its zoning ordinance, with 17 items to change in the ordinance. Also that there were $26 million worth of grants that were applied for but only have $5 million available for grants.

Charlevoix County Commissioner Ron Reinhardt, a liaison to the planning commission, told the commission that he didn’t agree with the millage that will now go towards the Parks and Rec committee instead of coming from the general fund.

Charlevoix County Planning Coordinator Kiersten Stark attended the housing market presentation and agreed with Levengood that there were choices that not everyone agreed with. The meeting discussed housing options and the purpose was to gather what people from the county wanted as far as housing options.

She told the board she also attended the Regional Planning Meeting; and the committee discussed changing the amount of meetings they held to a regular basis and to form a regional planners form.

Stark also participated in a webinar which discussed tracking all recyclables in the counties. They use the information to encourage counties that don’t recycle as much to motivate them to recycle more.

County Master Plan Update

Stark reported the progress of the master plan update, telling the commission that she reviewed the master plan and future land use plan.

She added comments where conflicts occurred between the borders. There were no potential conflicts along the borders, according to Stark.

Comments made included:

The Townships would want to consider using another transitional land use category around the industrial park.

Change “Norway Township” to “Norwood Township.”

The Public Service Center, described as landmarks, would want to change the category to encompass the sewage treatment plan that is listed under the category.

They should put goals and objectives toward the front of the packet.

There was a motion to recommend approval and give comments to the county commission, all were in favor and the motion carried.

Better beach

There is a proposed project in Eveline Township, on Lake Charlevoix, to install rock and beach sand to create a more usable beach area. Stark had no concerns with the project.

The commission made no comment.

Wetland infringement

There was an application for an after-the-fact permit where an owner built a building, driveway and garage which encroached on a wetland without previous consent.

“Engineers have already been heavily involved in this project,” said Stark. “Some of the wetland was filled and then the property owner had to go back and restore some of what they had.”

Stark told the commission there was a change in ownership and the new owner wanted to build things differently, invading a wetland area which they were required to restore.

“It said in here that he didn’t wait for a consultant to do a wetland delineation, went ahead and started construction,” she said.

The DEQ accepted the after-the-fact application as long as the wetland is restored. The commission made no comment.

Driveway over wetlands

Environmental consultant Steve Voice spoke to the commission on behalf of the Taylor Property in Hayes Township.

There is a private road that accesses the Taylor property as well as three others. It exists over a wetland and disturbs the corridor where two septic pipes reside. The corridor is disturbed when it continually is dug up when the septic pipes burst.

“It’s been highly disturbed. They just put an electric thing in there and it just keeps getting dug up,” said Voice. “So, what Mr. Taylor is proposing to do is relocate the road to the edge of the driveway to the edge of the existing disturbed corridor and restore segments as much as he can.”

Voice said Taylor needs to keep a couple segments at his place to restore that forested wetland as well as the disturbed corridor and that way he can keep from having future disturbances to that well.”
By putting in the pipe, all of the three property owners will get off the lake. The pipes go underground, the electrics go underground and it solves the conflict of pedestrian-car action and will also restore the disturbed corridor.

The new road is all wetland. Commissioners commented that they have done a good job of fixing an ongoing problem.

The commission made a motion to recommend approval; all were in favor and the motion carried.

New dock

Southeast of the Ferry, an application was sent to the commission to put in a two-slip dock for a personal watercraft that would also be floating and attached to the existing doc. It will not interfere with the channel.

The commission made no comment.

Commissioner taking leave

Tidmore told commissioners he will leave January through March, and won’t be able to attend commission meetings physically because a loved one has undergone surgery and will need outdoor physical therapy which cannot be done in Northern Michigan in the winter.

“I’ll be gone a couple months,” said Tidmore. “If it starts to be a burden, then I can resign.”

The planning commission took no action at this time.