Charlevoix County Planners at work

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

The Charlevoix County Planning Commission met Jan. 15 after being postponed due to weather conditions.

Discussed during the meeting were topics including the Future Land Use Plan and MDEQ requests for approval. The commission also narrowed their choices for the Future Land Use Plan to be completed by two possible candidates, and it also voiced concerns over Charlevoix’s city marina plans.

Commissioner & staff notes

Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Ron Van Zee attended the zoning administrators meeting for the Lake Charlevoix Study Grant in Boyne City. He reported the board has funding through the 2016 year, but will need to ask other organizations for donations.

“We are taking on a big effort, we will be looking at 20 changes to the zoning ordinance,” said Van Zee. “It was something completely different. Too many gray areas in the zoning ordinance, and we are going to take a look at that.”

The Parks and Recreation Committee had a joint meeting with the board of trustees to go forward with Camp Seagull; they did not receive the grant they applied for.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Patrick Howard:

The hotel in Melrose is coming along according to Howard.

“I was invited last month to serve on an advisory committee for the top Michigan trails councils … the foot race in mackinaw, this is their 5th year coming up this year and they are trying to revamp things,” he said.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Bob Draves:

The Ambulance Authority is coming along, according to Draves. He told the commission insurances are coming in and they hope it will be running by April 1.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Larry Levengood:

The tip of the mitt has a grant to do a restoration and management plan for Stover Creek; one of the greater issues is that it dumps into the boat launch area.

They will do an Eco Study to identify the problems and they will form a restoration plan based on the information.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commission Chairman Denny Jason:

The Parks and Committee meeting will hold a public hearing on putting together a plan, in February.

“There isn’t a lot of change, we had to do the ample improvement plan, which brought together a lot of projects for the next five years, there are a lot of them of course there’s not enough money to do them all the time depending on the grants,” Jason said. ” It’s stuff that really needs to be done, it’s just a question of can we get it all done and as always we need.”

The millage that passed concerning the Parks and Rec. will have a separate committee on how to distribute the funds.

Jason also told the commission that the Ironton Ferry needs renovation, and will be refurbished by spring.

• Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner Ron Reinhardt:

Reinhardt told the commission that Evaline is putting four feet on either side of the road; coming from the Peninsula for bikers to have a space to ride. Commissioners discussed whether this ill be beneficial or in the long run cause more crashes.

“It needs to go out there once in a while depending on the terrain, but that kind of a bike path is an accident waiting to happen,” said Reinhardt about the expansion of the road. “But you have a certain

group of people that don’t want it to go anyplace else.”

Reinhardt commented on the committee deciding where funds go for the parks committee:

“It’s going to be a dog fight. no matter how you look at it,” he said. “Because somebody who gets left out is going to be awful unhappy. And somebody is going to say ‘I spend the most money in the county so I should get it.’ It’s not going to be pretty as far as that is concerned.”

Future Land Use Plan

The commission discussed which companies they would like to interview to decide who they would like to hire to help arrange the Future Land Use Plan. They decided to invite two companies which they will interview; prior to the next planning commission meeting; Feb. 5.

“Kiersten is the one that’s going to be working hand to hand with these people because your knowledge of working with these people goes a long way because that can make it more efficient,” said Howard. “So that input I guess would mean a lot to me.”

Jason made a motion to invite two of the companies to make a presentation and for an interview on Feb. 5 starting at 4 p.m.; which will be open to the public. All were in favor and the motion was carried.

St. James Dunes

St. James Township proposed to amend the zoning ordinance to change the language for the critical dune development in dune areas.

Charlevoix County Planning Coordinator Kiersten Stark said she had no concerns with the proposal. There was a motion to recommend approval which passed.

On the border

Stark told the commission she found no potential conflicts with their update, Emmett County prepared their plan in house.

The commission confirmed that there were no conflicts in the plan.

“Generally speaking, I did not find any potential conflicts among the shared border of Chandler Township,” Stark said. “They are proposing other residential residences so a lot of public land; most of it is State of Michigan land and there is a little bit that is commercial forest. I didn’t see any potential conflicts in there.”

Melrose Township’s Future Land Use map indicates there are low residential and agriculture and forestry within the county.

The commission confirmed that there were no conflicts in the plan.

City marina hearing

Stark said there are potential flaws in the City of Charlevoix’s proposing to expand its municipal marina.

The proposed plan would add seven marina slips. The commissioners agreed this would be a safety risk.

Ultimately, the planning commissioners agreed there should be a public hearing on the matter.

There was a motion made to request a public hearing and a safety study.