2012-07-28 / Top News

City Council Amends Bicycle Ordinance; Daniel Wightman Resigns

By Matt Mikus

The Mackinac Island City Council approved an amendment to the bicycle ordinance, forgoing the city council policy to have two readings before approving or amending a new ordinance, and banning a possible bicycle taxi, or Pedicab, service. The city also approved a transfer of bicycle licenses from Orr Kids Bicycle Shop to Mackinac Wheels, and will purchase a new all-terrain vehicle for emergency services.

The new amendment to the bicycle ordinance restricts the use of a bicycle-powered rickshaws in the city, by adding that no bicycle can offer a ride for a fare or fee for commercial use, and requiring that a pull-behind child cart be used only for the intended number of children. The amendment defines a child as under 60 pounds, but during the Ordinance Committee meeting held prior to the council meeting, committee members were assured by Police Chief Jim Marks that common sense will help determine if a child or an adult is riding in a Burley child trailer.

The rush for amending the ordinance comes when city engineer Dennis Dombroski fielded questions from an out-of-state entrepreneur who insisted that Mackinac Island needed a bicycle taxi service. Mr. Dombroski worried that requiring a first and second reading to the ordinance would allow the businessman enough time to make and ship a Pedicab to the Island. When asked by the Town Crier who the individual was, Mr. Dombroski could not recall his name, but said the individual was from California.

City attorney Tom Evashevski said the city can ignore its policy of waiting for a second reading of ordinance amendments and that the ordinance can take immediate effect.

The Mackinac Island Fire Department will purchase a new allterrain vehicle and was allocated $10,314 toward the purchase. Council members Sam Barnwell and Jason St. Onge explained the city needs the four-wheel utility vehicle to traverse trail and woods that are inaccessible to the ambulance, fire trucks, and other motorized vehicles in the city’s fleet. The vehicle could tow a rescue toboggan or other device, if needed, they said.

Robin Dorman, a citizen at the meeting, said if the fire department requires an all-terrain vehicle, the vehicle should be able to carry an injured person out of the woods, but Mr. St. Onge said the vehicle meets the fire department’s needs.

Alderman Dan Wightman, who has missed the last five city council meetings, sent word through Mr. Evashevski that he does not intend to attend any in the future, either. He didn’t say why. The city council accepted this as a verbal resignation and may appoint a replacement, although no action to do so was taken at the meeting. Mr. Wightman, whose term was to expire in May 2013, has also not attended any of his appointed committee meetings in past weeks.

Mayor Margaret Doud appointed Nancy May to the Historic District Study Committee to replace him. Mr. Barnwell, another committee member, said Ms. May has been highly involved in the committee’s work, and will fit right in with the work currently underway.

A new policy requiring two city officials to sign all checks was adopted by the city. City auditors suggested the new policy. City council members, the mayor, and city treasurer will be authorized to sign.

One hundred bicycle rental licenses were given approval by council to be transferred from Orr Kids Bicycle Shop to Mackinac Wheels, which will now own 150 rental licenses. Mackinac Wheels owner Jimmy Fisher will operated his new licenses from the Orr Kids site.

The transfer was temporarily held up while he filled out and submitted the city application form, which he said he didn’t know existed.

“There was no issue with the transfer,” Mr. Evashevski said, “we just have a process on how these things are handled.”

The application for transfer allows city officials to check for site changes and ensure the property owner controls no more than 24% of all bicycle licenses under city ordinance. Mr. Fisher would only own 10.7% of the 1,399 licenses issued.

Two new Island business licenses were approved, one from Arnold Transit Freight, and another from Bayview Yacht Race, which was approved by Mayor Doud for operations for the yacht races. The city also revoked a business license for Northern Ferry Company, since the ferry company that operated Arnold Line and Star Line no longer is doing business on Mackinac Island.

The fire department will purchase three Kenwood 7180H Radios, four radio slings, and six speaker microphones for $2,565.68. The radio equipment expenditures is in the fire department’s communications budget.

Paul Wandrie requested $600 to purchase name plates for the veteran’s memorial, and the council approved the expense.

A request for a winery at the Bicycle Street Inn, now under construction, was tabled for two weeks tofor review. Mayor Doud said the city wants to know if developer Ira Green’s building has been approved for a winery and if such an operation will require additional water use permits from the Department of Public Works.

The American Red Cross will conduct its annual Blood Drive Wednesday, August 1, and the city council granted the organization a temporary motor vehicle permit for the drive, waiving fees for the permit. The truck will be parked behind the Stuart House during the collection, which will be next door at Community Hall.

A U-Haul vehicle will be parked on the Beaver Dock to allow Doug Leedke to move off Mackinac Island on Friday, July 27. The original request asked for the truck to be on the drive between one and four days, but the council approved the permit for only a day.

The fire department was granted approval to apply for a federal grant, the Staffing for Adequate

Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), for recruitment and retention efforts. Past applications have not secured any funds, but Mr. Barnwell said it never hurts to try again.

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