Charlevoix County Planning Commissioners discuss plans of all types

Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

The Charlevoix County Planning Commission met Feb. 5 to discuss several items of business including Marion Township’s master plan, which company they approved of for working on the Charlevoix County recreation plan, and more.

The commission met with Land Information Access Association (LIAA) and Networks Northwest prior to the meeting. The commission interviewed them to see which company would best suit their needs in helping to construct a recreation plan update.

Liaison’s report

Charlevoix County Commission liaison to the planning commission Ron Reinhardt told the commission the townships are working on text amendments. Other issues discussed included the Melrose water system being updated and replaced, the hotel in Melrose coming along, the strategic planning process for United Way was a good cross-section of the community, and the Charlevoix County Trail Subcommittee meeting was attended by Charlevoix County Planning Coordinator Kiersten Stark.

Recreation Plan consultant

The commission collectively agreed that (LIAA) provided the most useful information about the estimated cost, what they will be providing for that cost and what the commission can expect.

Commissioners said Networks Northwest’s estimate was very low and that included the limited amount of work to be done, so they would breach the estimate easily through them.

“After the presentations this afternoon, I was much more impressed with LIAA,” said Patrick Howard, Charlevoix County Planning Commissioner. “If we are efficient, that is a not-to-exceed bid. If we are prepared, we can shave some time off…. I think LIAA is more than what we’ll need and when it’s all said and done, we’ll come in short with LIAA.

The Networks Northwest proposal budgeted for a far less amount than LIAA. When the commissioners were first attracted to the plan, they didn’t take into account the $60-an-hour additional fee that they may overspend on. LIAA’s starting price is $16,250.

A motion to recommend LIAA to the county board was approved in a unanimous vote.

Recreation Plan Draft

Stark presented the commission with the items she has updated on the parks and recreation plan since she has been working on it for the past seven months.

Included are the public input process, and there will be multiple forums for the public to attend and give input.

“I worked with the committee the most on the capital improvement plan,” said Stark. “Discussing different projects they would like to see happen over next five to six years, coming up with the cost and funding for those projects.”

Marion Township Master Plan

Stark presented the commission with the update of Marion Township’s proposed plan; the plan included changing the industrial district from Charlevoix Township line to the Eveline Township line as a commercial district.

Commissioners agreed that this was a large chunk to dedicate solely to a commercial district.

A motion to approve the master plan update was carried with a unanimous vote.

Bay township

Bay Township proposed the following text amendments: to add to the waterfront district an amendment to disallow front yard items left 65 feet from the shore line, and not to exceed 35 percent of the yard. They also proposed to reduce the minimum side setback in the agricultural district. This applies to any building in the agriculture district.

And, there was an amendment which asked the planning commission to allow minor wording changes in their current ordinance.

There was a motion to approve all text amendments; each voted upon separately; unanimously carried.