2011-12-10 / News

City Moving Forward With Renovation of Public Restrooms

Cloghaun Gets OK for Vinyl Siding
By Matt Mikus

Designs for the public restrooms have been approved by the Mackinac Island City Council. At the meeting Wednesday, November 30, the city also approved a zoning variance for Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast to re-side using vinyl siding to match the rest of its building, and announced that Plunkett and Cooney will represent the city in the pending peddler ordinance lawsuits.

The city council approved a recommendation for the restrooms from the building and grounds committee, which met earlier that day to decide on patterns, details, and colors for the renovations of the facilities between Market and Main streets behind the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau booth. After discussion, the committee members walked down to the restrooms to help them visualize the designs and colors.

The council has budgeted $200,000 to renovate the public restrooms. Work is expected to begin in mid-January, but equipment and materials will be ordered as soon as possible. The committee is still discussing whether all the work will be purchased or if some can be handled by city workers.

The interior of the restrooms will have white tiles with a diamond pattern, and a line of color tiles set about six feet from the floor, at about eye level. The top three feet of the wall will be painted instead of tiled.

Councilman Dan Wightman noted that having a painted wall above the tile will allow the city to change the look of the interior at any time without spending a lot of money, and council member Sam Barnwell added that not tiling the entire wall will also save on costs.

The ceiling will be painted white, which architect Lance Lawler said helps to reflect the natural light coming through the sunroof and the interior lights to be installed. The interior lights will be a combination of energy efficient fluorescent bulbs inside the common areas, and recessed LED lights over individual stalls.

The stall dividers will be changed from forest green to offwhite and be made with a graffitiresistant material. The restrooms will have a full-body mirror by the sinks, reaching up to the ceiling, and new sink counters, three sinks on the men’s side, and four sinks on the women’s.

City building inspector Dennis Dombrowski worried about the full-sized mirrors, noting that if one were broken or damaged, it would probably take a truck to deliver the mirror to the Island, which causes a problem in the summer months.

The committee noted that they would purchase one full mirror, and if they need to replace a broken one, they would order it in sections and fit them together to create the full mirror effect.

Both restrooms will have a stainless steel baby-changing station.

The floor tile will remain, and color schemes for the bathroom will be designed to complement the tile. The floors will be steamcleaned and re-grouted.

The building exterior will be painted light blue, with sidings and finishes painted black. Two exterior lights will be installed, and the window blinds for the side windows will be shortened to match the length of the windows. A copper gutter will encircle the building.

The city also plans to install signs near the restrooms, which will match the siding colors, and insulate the ceiling.

The building and grounds committee also recommended purchasing a metal garage door for the St. Martin’s police housing unit to allow for easy exit. The garage used to house the ambulance, when the building served as the medical center. The garage door would roll up and have a wood veneer.

The garage door would fall outside of the zoning ordinance, so the city council decided that it would send the design to Rick Neumann, and then present the new door purchase to the Planning Commission. Because the door will help police officers address public safety issues, the city does not have to follow the zoning restriction.

Mayor Margaret Doud said renovations to the St. Martin building are paid for with money the city received when it sold two condominiums that formerly housed police.

The council also approved a request for a zoning variance submitted by Cloghaun manager Marti Carey, allowing the owners of the building to install vinyl siding to match the vinyl currently used on the rest of the building. The siding was used on the building prior to the zoning ordinance banning vinyl siding on buildings in the Market Street historic zone. All members, save council member Michael Hart, voted in favor. Mr. Hart was not present for the zoning board of appeals.

During the zoning public hearing, council member Armin Porter argued that allowing vinyl siding would not set a precedent for other buildings, but not allowing sections of the bed and breakfast to be re-sided with vinyl would force the owner to either leave it as is or tear off all the vinyl and replace everything with wood siding.

Both Mr. Wightman and Mr. Barnwell said they are not in favor of vinyl siding being used at all, but Mr. Barnwell added that, in this case, allowing the vinyl siding provides for conformity.

Mayor Doud announced that Gretchen Olsen from the Plunkett and Cooney law firm would represent the city in the lawsuits filed by Ben and Loren Horn. The new attorney was selected by the city’s liability insurance company, which informed the mayor that it would cover costs for the lawsuit. Originally, the city chose Tom Evashevski and Mike Cavanaugh to represent the city in county circuit court and district federal court, respectively.

Police Chief Jim Marks was directed by the city council to tell work crews that motorized vehi- cles would not be allowed to operate at construction sites during the Christmas Bazaar weekend, but that all other work could continue. Mr. Marks said contractors had asked him for a clarification of the policy.

Council also approved Mr. Marks’ suggestion that the times restricting vehicle escorts on the island should be adjusted to changes in school schedules. The city requires escorts of all motor vehicles permitted on the island, besides emergency vehicles, but restricts the movement of vehicles at times when students travel to and from school. Since kindergarten and preschool do not start school until the afternoon, he suggested adjusting the times from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. They should also restrict between 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch and young students, and keep the 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. restriction the same.

Two temporary motor vehicle permits were issued, one for Harvey Bentley Welding starting November 29 for two days to place new decorative horse heads on the street posts, and one, with a temporary trailer permit, for Mackinac Island Carriage Tours to move large trusses from British Landing.

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