2006-10-07 / News

Grand Hotel Drops Plans To Remove Top Balcony on Windsor

By Karen Gould

The historic Windsor Hotel on Hoban Street serves as employee housing for Grand Hotel. The historic Windsor Hotel on Hoban Street serves as employee housing for Grand Hotel. With fall construction season underway on Mackinac Island, planning commissioners faced a full agenda of site plans, special land uses, and zoning applications at their Tuesday, September 12, meeting. Commissioners approved all requests, most contingent upon architectural review, although not all decisions earned a unanimous go-ahead.

Six commissioners approved a request from Grand Hotel to remove the top outside balcony of the Windsor Hotel. One commissioner voted against the project.

Grand Hotel houses employees in the structure, at the corner of Hoban and Market streets and is in the historic district. Building inspector Dennis Dombroski reported that Grand Hotel maintenance staff said both balconies need to be repaired and the hotel asked permission to remove the top balcony and repair the bottom balcony. Such a request in the historic district requires architectural review.

Mary Dufina, who voted against the request, said removing the balcony would compromise the building's historic character.

"I'd like to see the balcony fixed," she said. "I see it as an historic structure and I'd like to see it remain as it is."

Architectural review is performed by city architect Rick Neumann of Petoskey, who critiques proposed plans when requested by the city.

(His subsequent report recommended the balcony be maintained and Grand Hotel has since agreed to keep the balcony.)

Two issues came before commissioners regarding Andrew Doud's proposed barn reconstruction planned on in Harrisonville. Commissioners first considered and approved a special land use, and then they reviewed site plan revisions, which generated one "no" vote from Commissioner Kay Hoppenrath. Mrs. Hoppenrath said she was not voting against the plans, but is concerned about the order in which the two requests were considered. She said the site plan revisions should have been reviewed before commissioners voted on the special land use.

The site plan changes were approved pending the correction of a building dimension error noted by Commissioner Dufina.

Mr. Doud proposed using a fence rather than bushes as a buffer, because bushes could be eaten by the horses. The fence would be 54 inches high with lattice at the top.

The request for a special land use for the barn on Mr. Doud's Harrisonville property was approved with a change in wording based on comments received during a public hearing held just prior to the planning commission meeting.

The language of the use was changed from "only privately owned saddle horses (no livery horses) would be allowed" to "only privately owned horses, not for hire." The issue was brought up by resident Lorna Straus, who thought the old language would prohibit carriage horses for personal use to be stabled at Mr. Doud's barn.

Commissioners filed but took no action on updated street names and sewerage information they had requested on the plans for a site condominium development for 61-single family homes on the 46-acre Hedgecliffe estate owned by Rita Sue and Elliot Cohen. Brad Conkey of Sylvan Lake, who is managing the project, did not appear at the meeting to answer questions.

Commissioners approved site plan revisions contingent upon a fence use agreement between the City of Mackinac Island and Fran and Lorna Straus. The property in question is in Hubbard's Annex and the Straus' updated plans relocated a hot tub on their redesigned deck. The planned fence would sit about nine feet outside their property on the road right-of-way on Lake View Boulevard.

Revised site plans were approved pending architectural review for Ira Green for the Maple View employee housing building he plans to convert to condominium units. Mr. Green has changed the plans to eliminate the requirements for variances, including the removal of the turret. Mr. Dombroski said the building will take up less coverage on the lot based on the turret removal and the elimination of concrete from around the building. Current lot coverage is approximately 64 percent and the new plans call for 60 percent lot coverage.

A zoning application was approved for Richard Coates for plans that call for a storage shed on Greenshed Lane to be converted to employee housing. The area is zoned hotelboarding house. The building was approved pending architectural review.

Last year, the city denied a request to change the zoning to commercial so that Mr. Coats could convert the structure to a rental storage facility.

A new 3,500 square-foot house was approved for Forest Bluff for Martha and Gary have to move anywhere."

Dr. Weersing lives in the two-story house with his wife, Karen, who is a registered nurse at the Medical Center, and their children, Jill, Sam, and Kristi Kamphuis.

"William Beaumont Hospital wants to sell the property to free up the cash it can get from that and direct it to its operations in Royal Oak," said Colette Stimmell, the director of public relations for the hospital.

The Beaumont Hospital acquired the house in 1981 when it was under contract with the Medical Center to provide administrative, managerial, staffing, and recruiting services. The Medical Center merged with Mackinac Straits Hospital in St. Ignace in 2000 and Beaumont Hospital continued to lease the building to the Medical Center.

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