2009-06-20 / Top News

Plan To Use Bottomlands May Not Work, Council Says

Tables Request for Support by Green
By Kerri Jo Molitor

This is the design of the proposed Mackinac Island flag. This is the design of the proposed Mackinac Island flag. Meeting Wednesday, June 17, the Mackinac Island City Council tabled a petition of support for the commercial use of bottomlands by Ira Green in front of his three lots between Shepler's Ferry Dock and Orr Kids Bikes.

The petition, submitted on Mr. Green's behalf by St. Ignace surveyor Neil Hill, asks the city to say it has no objection to Mr. Green's right to use the bottomlands adjacent to lots 137A, 137B, and 138, on which he operates a bicycle rental and sales business. The petition for support is required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality before it will issue a permit, but Council objected to the stated plans on Mr. Green's application, which suggested he would use the bottomlands for a boardwalk and marina. The city already has told Mr. Green its likes the boardwalk idea, but council members had not been asked to opine on the docks.

In documents submitted to the council, Mr. Green proposes nine 30-foot-long dock slips along the waterfront.

Alderman Armin Porter said the construction plans were not possible, in part because of the riparian lines that give shorefront property owners access to the water. The Coal Dock line and the Shepler Dock line converge in the middle of the bay, which, in theory, could choke off the access rights of property owners in between.

"There is obviously no way this project can go ahead the way things are down there right now," Mr. Porter said.

Mr. Hill said Council would not be approving the construction plans, only the rights for Mr. Green to use the land underneath the water in a commercial fashion. The plans were only given to the city as an example.

City attorney Tom Evashevski agreed, saying Mr. Green would need a construction permit to build the docks. But resident Mary Dufina pointed out that the petition states the purpose of the request is to construct new dockage and a board- walk. She asked if supporting the petition would mean supporting the purpose of the petition, which is to construct the dock.

While approval of the petition would only state the city does not object to giving Mr. Green rights to the bottomland, Mr. Evashevski said Council could table the petition to give it time to draft specific language saying the city does not approve of the construction plans.

The petition was tabled until the next meeting in two weeks.

New City Flag

Island business owner Ben Nye presented the art for a proposed official Mackinac Island flag he plans to sell at his store, Flagship. He said he thinks having a flag will benefit the Island. He designed it following a year-long contest that ended last October.

The blue and green design symbolizes lake and land, with abstract symbols representing the Indian turtle legend, a horseshoe to represent the horse culture and tourism, and stars to represent Fort Mackinac and the American and British flags under which it has served.

Some of the proceeds from the flag sales will go to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation, Mr. Nye told the city council.

"We put a lot of time and energy into it," he said of the flag. "It's tough to put out a flag that is going to represent everyone and have everyone like. I picked the Community Foundation because it is going to benefit many different things, not just one single cause."

Members of the council and of the audience said they liked the design of the flag.

Ordinance Reviews

Council tabled a request by Marti Carey of Cloghaun B&B to hang two 8.5-feet-by-onefoot banners this summer that will proclaim Cloghaun's 125 years in business. The banners would hang on the bottom of the second floor porch flush against the wood. Mr. Porter made the motion to table the request because he wanted to see the banners and review the situation. Jason St. Onge seconded Mr. Porter's motion because he is worried that allowing banners at Cloghaun would invite other businesses to hang banners every year celebrating each consecutive year of business. Should that happen, the Ordinance Committee would need to change the wording of the ordinance that restricts banners, which Mr. St. Onge said he does not want to do.

"I'm not trying to make a crazy issue out of what should be a simple request, but certainly we seem to keep being burned on things like this," Mr. St. Onge said.

During discussion Ms. Carey offered to withdraw her request, but Council decided to table her request for two weeks.

Building Inspector Dennis of his intention to bring up a problem regarding the business license and sign ordinance at the next Ordinance Committee meeting. The Internet-based business, owned by Ira Green, has cameras in downtown establishments showing video segments of businesses and the street. More cameras are planned, but the business also wants to post signs to draw attention to the cameras so visitors can greet their folks back home. The sign ordinance is not equipped to handle this type of business because it currently only allows two signs per business. Mr. Green's camera business does not have a business license yet because it is not charging for its services.

Jennifer Griffin, a property owner on French Lane, asked that Council take another look at the resolution banning horses from the upper half of French Lane. Ms. Griffin is having trouble making improvements to her property because she cannot receive dray deliveries. She also cannot have her trash picked up or have people dropped off in taxis since the city banned carriages from her portion of the street to reduce congestion.

Alderman Hart said the committee would look at the resolution.

"We could look at that, certainly," he told her. "The intention was not to landlock everybody. We've had problems with situations up there. I'm sure we can look at that."

Council will also look in to the matter of cleaning the east end of Market Street, upon the suggestion of resident Kay Hoppenrath. When the city flushes the street in the morning, she noted, it stops at the post office, leaving the rest of the road dirty. The road has a lot of traffic and, although the street sweepers do a good job, she said, the road is not very clean.

Annex Road from the corner of the Puttkammer residence to the Inn at Stonecliffe is in disrepair and needs to be fixed, said Alderman St. Onge. The city needs to find a way to fund the repairs, he said, and asked that it be brought up at the next Mackinac Island State Park Commission meeting.

"It's falling apart at the edges and potholes are appearing daily," Mr. St. Onge noted. "I have no solution, I'm sorry to say, but we need to be proactive, not reactive."

The Finance Committee recommended a millage rate of 8.0472, which the council approved.

The council, also on Finance Committee recommendation, will attempt to sell for one month its remaining condominum at Rowe Condominiums, for $298,900. After one month, further action will be discussed.

Permits and Approvals

Approval was given to the Mackinac Arts Council to pay to add a rider to the city's art insurance policy. The Arts Council will be holding an art show in the library in July, with art worth $80,000, and the city's insurance policy only covers art up to $100,000. The rider will be an addition to a policy to cover the art show and will not diminish from the city's $100,000 policy.

The Arts Council was also given free use of Community Hall for its free "Drop-In and Draw" program. The program will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for four to six weeks for adults and from 10 a.m. to noon for three weeks for children.

The city council approved 1,330 commercial bike licenses for 2009, including the bike rental businesses Wheels on Mackinac (25), Inn at Stonecliffe (30), Island Bike Shop (25), Small Point B&B (20), Harbor View Inn (35), Grand Hotel (100), Mission Point Resort (100), Lakeside Bikes (100), Orr Kids Bike Rental (100), Ryba Bike Rentals (395), Iroquois Bikes (294), Island Bicycle Livery (6), and Union Terminal Piers (100). The city charges $25 for a commercial bicycle license, for a total of $33,250.

Seven business license renewals were approved and one off-island business license for Richard Parrot Construction. One new on-island business license was approved for Sticky Paws.

Eight temporary motor vehicle permits were approved, one for ESPN Television for a Satellite M2 truck June 25. Two permits were submitted by Mission Point Resort for semi trucks to fill propane tanks at the resort June 23 and June 30. Five annual permits were issued to Edison Sault Electric Company to enable installation and maintenance of electric lines.

The council also approved four temporary trailer permits for Fun Services, for Grand Hotel's annual family carnival July 2 to July 6, and in a related matter, the city was informed of Grand Hotel's plan to hold a children's carnival for the Michigan Health & Hospitals Thursday, June 25. The carnival will involve a petting zoo of animals delivered by ferry. The council had no objection to the event.


Two letters were received by Police Chief Jim Marks from Victor Callewaert and Ryan Macy, thanking him and the department for their help and professional manner in handling the deaths of Bridgette Powers and Blake Slentz, two seasonal employees who died May 28. The mayor also commended the department, the firemen, and the EMTs for the professional way the matter was handled.

Near the end of the meeting, Mr. St. Onge requested an executive session at the end of the meeting, but the session lasted less than two minutes. Mr. St. Onge said he had a question about the proceedings in a lawsuit involving the Webster property in Hubbard's Annex, but Mr. Evashevski said the question did not warrant an executive session.

Mr. St. Onge's question pertained to the city's intent to restore a construction site to its original vacant lot condition in the event the owners do not do so.

Mr. Evashevski said such an intent already has been published and is publicly known.

The next city council meeting will be Wednesday, July 1 at 6 p.m.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2009-06-20 digital edition