BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
At its regular Tuesday Jan. 9 meeting, the Boyne City Commission considered a number of business items including the final reading of waterfront zoning district changes, a new suggested code of conduct for the people of Boyne City, a date has been set for the annual joint boards and commissions meeting, and the commission appointed a new trustee to the Boyne District Library Board of Trustees.
Statement of conduct
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain, concerned with how people treat each other, presented a “Statement of Conduct” to the city commission. Similar language has already been adopted by the Boyne City Main Street Board and Evangeline Township.
“The statement is basically a policy statement outlining how we would suggest, hope and ask people in our community to engage with each other,” Cain said. “There are no mechanisms to enforce this.”
The statement began, “We are committed to encouraging, creating and sustaining an environment that honors the inherent dignity of every member of our community. Respectful behavior should always be the norm in all forms of communications and in all situations.”
Cains proposal included the following points under the header, “As a community.”
We welcome a diverse range of perspectives and opinions and uphold the importance of civil debate.
We fully support the free exchange of ideas and beliefs, as well as the expression of provocative or less popular ideas.
We believe that only through the process of open and honest dialogue can we generate knowledge and deepen our mutual understanding.
We believe all members of the community have a responsibility to behave in a manner that does not harm others and shows respect for those with different opinions.
Behavior that attacks, humiliates, belittles or conveys personal hatred toward others diminishes our thriving and safe community environment.
Everyone is asked to do their part in creating a healthy and positive community and a culture that truly values each person’s uniqueness, experiences and perspectives.
We Can Disagree Without Being Disagreeable
Discussion on the matter
Evangeline Township Trustee Michelle Cortright said, “We started talking about this about six months ago because the attitude in our country was very divisive and argumentative and not respectful. So, that’s not how we are here. So, we put together this statement and adopted it in Evangeline. It’s on our website, it’s on our wall in the town hall.”
Cortright said it is important to celebrate diverse points of view and to encourage civil discourse.
Cain said that, in many ways, Boyne City already lives by the suggested code of conduct.
“I hear from people, especially with regards to some of the interactions we’ve had in our city commission—especially when we’ve dealt with some pretty controversial issues, that we can agree, agree to disagree, and then move on,” Cain said. “In some of the neighboring organizations around us, that’s not always the case. That’s very basic but a very important skill for people to have to avoid gridlock.”
Cain added that the statement is intended to reinforce good behaviors and practices.
Boyne City Commissioner Dean Solomon said he believed Boyne is already living the sentiment in the proposal and thinks it is outstanding to put it into writing.
Boyne City Commissioner Sally Page said it is unfortunate that being respectful of one another isn’t just assumed, adding that Boyne folks are already that way.
Boyne City Commissioner Hugh Conklin suggested condensing the statement of conduct into a shorter statement which communicates that Boyne City wants to treat everyone with respect.
Cain added that his proposal is merely a suggestion on how people behave, and in no way interferes with their freedom of speech.
The motion was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Conklin as the lone dissenter.
Joint boards & commission meeting
A motion was made to schedule a special work session at 6 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 8, in the Boyne City Commission Chambers to hold its annual Joint Board and Commission meeting with a general topic of housing.
The motion passed 5-0.
Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson reminded the Boyne City Commission that the Boyne City Planning Commission was requested by the Zoning Board of Appeals to review and amend Article XX, Section 20.30 note l of the city’s zoning ordinance relating to certain properties in the waterfront zoning district.
This recommendation was made after the Zoning Board of Appeals was unable to interpret the intent of the section and found the text to be confusing and somewhat contradictory.
After review by the planning commission, it was recommended the language be deleted, as it could not be specifically determined the intent of the section.
The proposed amendment to Article V was proposed by staff to address an issue of waterfront setbacks being required for parcels that do not have water frontage.
With the change, certain setbacks would go from 35 feet to 10 feet.
The proposed change would be a text amendment to the WRD district and only the waterfront setback would be changed—all other requirements of the district, including building height and mass, would remain in effect. The proposed amendment would add section 5.60 E to Article V.
The first reading for this amendment was held on November 28, 2017.
The motion was approved unanimously.
Since Lucy Hartlove resigned from the Boyne District Library Board of Trustees in September of 2017, there has been a vacancy. A motion was made to appoint Danielle Swartz as a trustee to represent the city on the library to serve the remainder of Hartlove’s term expiring April 30, 2019.
The motion passed 5-0.