Back to the drawing board

lake street development
The featured photo is what the proposed 100 Lake Street mixed-use development could look like. However, developers have said this was merely an example and not representative of what the finished product will be after numerous complaints from Boyne City residents.

Another proposed development in Boyne City has drawn concerns about parking, aesthetics, and sustainability.


The Boyne City Planning Commission had two major proposed projects on its Monday Feb. 18 roster—one of which being a mixed-use development slated for 100 North Lake St., which is just down the road from the mixed-use development project covered in last week’s edition of the Boyne City Gazette.

Project Details
The 100 North Lake development will be owned by Michigan Community Capital (MCC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, if the project moves forward.
Developers and members of the public convened for a preliminary review of the project, and no decisions were made by the planning commission at that time.
The applicant, developer, and architect were simply looking for input from the community.
According to MCC, its focus is investing in communities that have an underserved market and a need for a variety of housing.
Their focus is on workforce, middle-income families for long-term rentals for a single individual in the wage range of $35,000 to $53,000 and a family of two from $40,000 to $60,000.
Sixty percent of the units will be for these clients, says MCC, and the remainder will not be regulated and will be uncapped, so the price of those units will be at “market standards.”
None of these units will be “low-income” housing.
The studio size apartment is 400 sq. ft; one-bedroom will be 500 sq ft. and the two-bedroom will be 750 sq. ft, with rents ranging from $800 per month up to $1,500 per month depending on wether it is an income restricted unit and the location within the building.
The developers said they are “not an affordable housing developer” but a “middle-income” housing developer.
A professional management company would be used for residents to apply.
MCC said the biggest concern is parking and that it will have to continue to look to acquire other parcels, though officials are not sure that will be economically feasible.
They have to provide 112 parking spaces for the project unless the city were to grant them a 20 percent reduction, which would lower their required spaces to 90.
MCC has projects in Cadillac, Grayling, Detroit, Ypsilanti, Grand Rapids and it is looking at projects in Mt. Pleasant and Flint.
The building location has contaminated soil and has been awarded a $150,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Grant to help with mitigation.
Also, MCC said it is not locked into the design they have and that it was much easier with the computer program to put in a square flat roof on the building.
Mike Corgin of Integrated Architecture said the developer has heard the community’s concerns regarding parking and they know they need to work on it.
Their plans currently showed 57 parking spots with a dumpster area and snow removal staging areas, which all would be behind the building.
They would have a total of 48 units that consist of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
The building would be a mix of brick, stone, wood at the storefronts, with a possible area for outdoor dining, step back facades, cornices, and streetscape on Lake Street.

Public Comment
Barb Malpass Young – Will this development raise our taxes? I appreciate the traffic flow and parking. Height of the building concerns me, what is affordable rent, and have you looked at other areas to develop?
Steve Root – What is the overall number of units available? Will this building be tax exempt and what is the required number of parking spaces?
Skylar McNaughton – Sheer size and width of the building is a big deal on the water.
Rose Newson – Will the public be allowed to see the detailed description remediation plans for the contamination; how does the nonprofit have ownership and will you be transparent with the community? Is there any way that you can increase the number of capped units to increase affordable housing?
Cindy Banner – What will be the retail space sizes, what will be the number of units, the overall height of the building, what is the required number of parking spaces, will there by a natural area for families, are you looking at both the nearby public and private parking spaces to use for the development?
Penny Hardy – All new developments must provide parking spots truly required to adequately serve the development. We need to be good neighbors. You as a planning commission need to use common sense and serve the whole community—not just incoming developers.
Bruce Janssen with Martha Sulfridge – (part of the Main Street Design Committee), who had not had an opportunity to review the designs prior to today, the following comments are our points of view and not the entire design committee board: No issue with intended use. Comments only about design after our January meeting and asking for additional reference points. We stressed at the meetings that the building was too long and massive, roof is too flat, wrong colored brick, façade too flat looking—break it up. Doesn’t fit the look or character of our downtown. Look at section bump outs, more variety to front of building, change in height in roof, window changes. It is too industrial in design. Look at new façade and floorplans, please.
Barb Borgeld – I agree with what has previously been said. Façade looks too industrial needs to be softened, the building is too tall.
Jim Hawkins – Do not turn Veterans Park into overflow parking or a playground.
Scott MacKenzie – Thank-you for coming to Boyne to help us address these issues. I think we can work out designs. The development design team is beginning to understand our wants. I personally do not have a problem with the 45-foot height; you can’t see the lake from the back side of a one-story building. To make it economically feasible, there may have to be some compromise. Our parking issues are no more than other communities. We are stuck in what we feel is needed for parking. People want to park and walk right into the place they want to go, but do not hesitate to walk four acres at larger stores in other communities. We are driving out developments because we have hang-ups about parking.
Melissa Casper – I do not agree with the parking study results. People who visit from downstate do not follow our rules and I believe there are locals that do not. They are going to park where they want.
I do not expect to park right in front, but I do expect to park within a reasonable distance. We can’t keep cutting corners and getting rid of parking spaces. I do not like the design. I like the design of Café Sante, which is more welcoming and not quite as massive. It is one building with different roof heights but doesn’t look like it.
Martha Sulfridge – Can you set the building back a bit, and put angled parking in front?
Jane MacKenzie – Maybe our parking ordinance requirements are too high for studio and one-bedroom apartments. Instead of 1.5 spaces for each of these, maybe it should only be one.
Ted Macksey – If the developer meets all of the development requirements under the ordinance, they are permitted to go four stories if they stay within the height requirements? The planning commission said that is accurate.
Todd Wright – Thanks for being here. This is productive and gives us the opportunity for vetting our ideas. Someone brought up a program at one time the city had—a parking fund—developers paid a certain amount if you were short on spaces. The City could then use the fund for parking upkeep. As a board, maybe you should be looking into this fund again.
Penny Hardy – If we are attempting to increase housing, why is the first floor not residential? She was told Boyne City’s zoning doesn’t allow residential “on grade.”
Lesley Pritchard – This project is too big and doesn’t fit in Boyne City. How does MCC who is nonprofit working with a developer own the building and who approached you to bring housing into Boyne City? Median income of $35,000 to $50,000 not in Boyne’s workforce. If you purchase property will you get a tax abatement and Brownfield for developers?

Next Step
Following public comment, the developers said they will be taking the community’s concerns into consideration.
The developer said they will be starting over, looking at the shape of the building and how they might break it up.
But, project officials said, parking is the limiting factor in Boyne City’s zoning ordinance.
“We understand we need to find the parking,” they said. “And, if this project does not happen, it will be because of the parking requirements.”