2009-08-08 / Top News

Public Comment Sought on Anti-Franchise Ordinance

By Karen Gould

A proposal to establish a commercial corral in a fenced area behind the James Chambers house on Market Street will be discussed during a public hearing Tuesday, August 11. A portion of the fence is visible on the top of the hill to the left of his home. Currently, the home also is being painted. A proposal to establish a commercial corral in a fenced area behind the James Chambers house on Market Street will be discussed during a public hearing Tuesday, August 11. A portion of the fence is visible on the top of the hill to the left of his home. Currently, the home also is being painted. Preserving the distinct character of Mackinac Island is the intention of city leaders who have drafted an ordinance that prohibits the establishment of any new frahchise-type business operation. Defined as a formula business, the operations would be restricted from all Island districts. Businesses already operating on the Island and those originating on the Island would be exempt.

The public will be able to voice opinions on this proposed regulation and on a request from James Chambers of Market Street to convert a fenced area behind his home into a commercial corral in two separate hearings set for Tuesday, August 11.

Public comments for the formula business ordinance will be heard at 3 p.m.

This is the second public hearing for the ordinance. During a June 9 hearing, the Planning Commission decided the document required more clarity and the removal of a definition for a formula food restaurant. Also, commissioners said they wanted to add an exemption to the ordinance for formula businesses that originate on the Island, for instance, a fudge shop with a store on the mainland or even a second store on the Island.

Language that will be discussed at Tuesday's public hearing will be defining a formula business as "a retail store, restaurant, hotel, or other establishment that is required by contractual or other arrangements to sell only standardized services or products, or adopt standardized methods of operation, decor, uniforms, signage, architecture, or other features virtually identical to businesses located in other communities. Exempted from this definition are formula businesses which originated on Mackinac Island."

The Planning Commission will reconvene at 4 p.m. to formulate a recommendation to the City Council on the adoption of the regulation. Council is expected to consider the ordinance when it meets the next day, Wednesday, August 12, at 6 p.m.

Prior to the formula business hearing, the public will be able to offer its opinion on a change of use request from Mr. Chambers. That public hearing is set for 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Chambers, an officer with Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, would like to convert an existing private fenced area behind his Market Street home into a commercial corral. The land is zoned historic.

The city's zoning ordinance permits the proposed use if the property owner meets all standards and obtains special land use approval from the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission is expected to make a determination on the request when it meets at 4 p.m.

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