County planning commission highlights

planning commission webBeth Gohs

Staff Writer

The Charlevoix County Planning Commission recently convened for its monthly meeting to discuss various business items.
Following are the highlights of the commission’s Thursday June 5 meeting.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board member Bob Tidmore discussed that at a meeting he attended, one of his co-members is being appointed as billing administrator for two townships, Charlevoix and St. James, this member is also a trustee on the St. James Township Board and was recently St. James Township billing director, and is now being reappointed as trustee.
Charlevoix County Planning Coordinator Kiersten Stark said this would not be advised, “because when serving on the township board you’re setting the salary for the employees of the township.”
Tidmore also stated the Beaver Island boats are running and June 11 will have a meeting where the Charlevoix County Commissioners will attend on Beaver Island.
Commissioners discussed restrictions of pumping septic tanks into the ground. Anyone who lives 25 miles outside of Mancelona must dump their septic in Mancelona, at the receiving plant.
According to Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board member Larry Levengood, there were two; one in Charlevoix and one in Mancelona, but the one in Charlevoix was closed and two concerns people have now are that the plant will be shut down, and complaints with people who live near Petoskey and north side of Boyne say it’s a long drive to dump their septic tanks.
“You have a guy in South Arm Township that’s trying to start a new one though,” said Levengood. “That’s been tested in the courts; they still have to have a township approval, but that doesn’t exempt them if the township says so.”
• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board Vice-Chair Bob Draves discussed the progress of the proposed county-wide ambulance authority.
“The ambulance authority is still moving along,” he said. “Everything is progressing with no major hiccups. We’re still waiting to hear from Eveline Township. We haven’t gotten anything definitive from them but we’re still proceeding.”
Levengood also discussed conferences he and Stark attended on invasive species
“One of the topics that I think will be a major point of contention is the state DNR wants to put public access sites on these lakes,” he said. “By doing that they are introducing some of these invasive species. The property owners are trying to re-mediate that.”
• Levengood spoke about a meeting he and Charlevoix County Planning Commission Chairman Denny Jason attended on the DNR scheduled management plan for state lands on Michigan islands. During the meeting, Levengood said they were suggesting water trails to extend to the unused islands that are within Charlevoix County limits.
“Those islands are not accessible to many people and they are underutilized as a state asset,” Levengood said. “And one of the trends now is trails.”
Levengood told fellow commissioners the Charlevoix County steering committee meeting will be 10 a.m. on June 12 at Boyne City Hall.
“The Tip of the Mitt (Watershed Council) is going to be celebrating their 25th anniversary and they’re going to make a video to present about their history,” said Levengood.
Levengood also mentioned the pipeline symposium being held in Petoskey, June 24, that the tip of the mitt will be hosting.
He said presentations regarding representatives from industry regulatory agencies and more on pipeline safety and cleanup in Northern Michigan will be on the agenda.
“I think a lot of it has people talking about pipeline and proposing pipeline across the straits so that’s at the Petoskey high school auditorium and it’s at 5:30 p.m. on June 24,” Levengood said.
• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board member Michael Buttigieg  reported agendas of meetings attended in the past month. According to Buttigieg , on May 13 and 14, he attended a tip of the mitt Lake Charlevoix Association and another Experiencing Lake Charlevoix event with 380 sixth- and seventh-graders attending.
Buttigieg told fellow commissioners of his realization that there were roosting areas of cormorants and the trees in the areas spotted are dead from acidic waste in Charlevoix and Boyne City.
“There are about three or four trees they are roosting in and there are several dozen there,” Buttigieg said. “There were a couple of trees in Boyne City … it seems to be an issue brooding.”
• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board member Patrick Howard told the commission about his doings during the month of May.
“The discussion, negotiations over the Melrose water works seem to have stalled a little bit,” Howard began. “They’re arguing over minor details in the contract but in the meantime they are taking on new challenges and are trying to develop a base water treatment system now.”
• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Board member Ron Van Zee ended the reports with a brief on his activities. According to Van Zee, Camp Seagull is looking for contractors, looking at 120 trees that they want to remove. Also looking at pricing for the lumber that would create.
“It’s a big project—they’re working hard trying to figure out what to do with all buildings on this site,” he said. “They are working on the grant to try to get the grant for the boat launch.”
Van Zee also reported that there will be a public meeting in august for the private road ordinance to have an attorney review on it in Bay Township, and no meeting in July because of the issue.
Van Zee told fellow commissioners that Lake Charlevoix Watershed asked him to be a part of their steering committee. He said he told the committee he would attend but would make no promises.
The last issue brought forth by Van Zee was an e-mail he received: complaints about docks being placed too close to the yard property lines and cutting of the greenbelt.
The commission discussed that the issues would involve zoning but that the township doesn’t do anything about these issues unless a complaint is presented.
• Public comments were welcomed and received on the issues of a lacrosse/soccer field being built and planned for installation and a request to build a road through the wetlands to access property in Norwood.
Scott Morin spoke during the comments section of the meeting, explaining he bought property in the area where the lacrosse fields would neighbor and asked for additional buffering between his property line and where the field will be held.
A motion to approve of the proposed re-zonings and to recommend considerations of the township to look at their plans to consider disturbances from the fields could have on neighboring residences was unanimously approved.
Chuck Cleland and Bill Gnodtke spoke against the proposal to build a road through wetlands.
Alternative suggestions were to have the MDEQ hold a public hearing and to simply have the planning commission deny the permit due to the MDEQ denying a permit application in previous years.
A motion was presented to recommend denial of the permit application because of previous encounters with MDEQ and all were in favor of the motion.