2013-04-13 / Letters

Licenses Should Be Discussed in Public

To the Editor:

This letter is in protest to the City of Mackinac Island’s intended issuance of 100 bike licenses as payment for the development rights to the property at the head of the Arnold Dock. As reported in the February 14 issue of The St. Ignace News, this decision was arrived at during four closed-door meetings between the city and Ira Green. The article reports the additional licenses will be used to expand the number of bicycles rented at the Arnold Dock location. This is in contradiction to the city’s previously stated position that this area already experiences problematic congestion.

Just last year, our application to relocate 50 bicycle licenses to our main lot (adjacent to the Arnold Dock property) was denied by the city, specifically on the grounds of congestion issues in this area. Our ensuing request to split the bike licenses, 25 at each of our two lots, was also denied, on the grounds that the downtown area was too congested.

Although we were able to find an alternate location from which to rent, this action and others by the city effectively denied us use of the licenses for a majority of the season, and materially affected the efficient operation of our business. All of this was over licenses that we have owned for many years, and had already paid the yearly fees. It doesn’t make sense that the city now intends to put 100 brand new licenses in that very same congested downtown area.

We believe the congestion problem is a direct result of the continued growing number of commercial bike licenses, and suggest a moratorium on the issuing of any new licenses until the safety issue can be resolved.

The newspaper article also stated that the city would pay Island Bikes $2 million if the 100 bike licenses were in any way devalued. Every new commercial license issued decreases the value of the existing licenses, so the city is actually putting itself in a very precarious position.

It saddens us to see the city choose to conduct public business in private. It is an egregious abuse of privilege that leads to inconsistent governing policies, and denies Mackinac Island citizens, as well as other affected parties, the opportunity to comment on an action that will ultimately impact them.

Peter Deckert

Ryba Bike Rental

Mackinac Island

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