BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
With a mix of support and opposition from city residents, Boyne developer Ted Macksey’s 30-acre property rezone request has survived yet another municipal test.
The Boyne City Commission voted 4-1 at its Tuesday April 11 meeting to approve the rezone request.
“He (Macksey) does own the property and we do have basic property rights in our country … and I think it only be fair that he has the opportunity to receive permission to move forth to the planning commission with the site plan and to see whether it’s feasible to even build a project there,” said Boyne City Commissioner Ron Grunch prior to the vote.
He added, “It might be very difficult to pass muster … but I think, in all fairness, he should be given the opportunity.”
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom—the lone “no” vote—asked about one of the zoning amendment requirements—potential change in population density.
Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson said the figure is subjective and gave some examples:
• The Brook Retirement Community – 6.2 per acre (if they built the additional 20 units they have room for)
• A nearby Traditional Residential District – 5-6 units per acre
• The nearby Rural Estate District – 4 units per acre
• Macksey’s proposal – 6.8 units per acre
Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer said he does not see a significant change compared to other residential housing areas.
“Within the city limits is where you do want higher density,” he said. “That’s what your infrastructure’s built for—people having choices.”
Macksey hopes to have his two parcels of land at 600 Jefferson St. in Boyne City, currently zoned Rural Estate District, designated as Multi Family Residential District.
The properties were originally billed as being 10 acres and 20 acres; but, they are actually closer to 13.03 acres and 18.09 acres for a total of 31.12 acres.
The latest push against the proposed development of the land came in the form of a zoning protest petition, signed by at least eight neighboring property owners.
According to planning officials, an analysis of the properties revealed a maximum of 10 units per acre could be constructed for a total of up to 300 units on the subject properties.
However, Macksey made a written offer to the city which would cap the total number of “dwelling units” at 212.
The opinions from those in attendance were mixed, with some people concerned over the number of people who would live in the housing development, others worried about traffic. One woman said she was concerned about the project but, after talking with Macksey in person for over an hour, she now supports the proposal.
Michelle Cortright commented in favor of additional housing being built in Boyne City.
“As the owner of a small business with 25 employees, I have struggled for decades in assisting employees finding housing they could afford either for rent or for purchase,” she said. “The lack of housing has inhibited the growth of my business.”
Viola Riley, who lives across the street from the Macksey property, said she is not against affordable housing.
“When I bought my house I was well aware that that area was going to be developed. I thought maybe five units,” she said…. “It’s not the housing project we’re objecting too, it’s the number of people he plans to put in that space.”
Don Lockman said the developer has virtually all the power in this situation.
Penny Hardy, who lives near the proposed development, has lived in that neighborhood for most of her life. She discussed her concerns over the standing water in the area and how the new development might affect water issues in the area.
Scott MacKenzie said the community needs to look where it wants to be in 10 to 15 years.
“We are unsustainable right now,” he said, saying the price and availability of housing is out of range of most people who want to work and live and go to Boyne schools.
“Do we want to stagnate and become a community that’s just for resorters?” he said.