2013-04-13 / News

City Remembers Armin Porter; Finkel Named to HDC

By Stephanie Fortino

City alderman Armin Porter was honored with a moment of silence to begin the Mackinac Island City Council meeting Wednesday, April 3. Mr. Porter had served the city until his passing Sunday, March 31. He had one year left in his term. His daughter, Sarah Porter, was present at the Wednesday meeting and submitted a letter expressing her interest in fulfilling the remainder of his term.

After a brief discussion, council decided to place Ms. Porter’s letter on file and provide other interested residents the opportunity to express their interest in the open seat. Interested parties will have until Wednesday, April 17, to submit their letters, after which council will review the applicants and choose a candidate for appointment.

The Mackinac Island community and its citizens will receive a 2013 Community Award from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network for protecting and preserving Mackinac Island’s historic and architectural resources, council learned. Residents are “the people who did the leg work” for establishing the historic districts, said Mayor Margaret Doud.

The City of Mackinac Island has also been recognized with a Government/Institution Award. The award recognizes the city’s efforts for “protecting and reserving Mackinac Island’s historic and architectural resources,” according to the notification letter written by awards chair Ruth Mills.

The two awards will be presented Friday, May 10, at the MHPN Annual Preservation Awards Reception and Ceremony in Marquette, and Mayor Doud will appoint a delegation to attend the event. (See separate story.)

Historic District Commission (HDC) Chairman Andrew Doud presented the city council with the four documents the commission is referencing to formulate their guidelines for operation.

The packet included the State of Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act, PA 169 of 1970, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, instructions on how to appeal an HDC decision, and the State Historic Preservation Office’s criteria for economic hardship qualification, one of four reasons one can appeal an HDC decision. (The documents are linked on the Town Crier Web site in the tab, Historic Preservation Documents.)

Mr. Doud expects to see hardship appeals filed by landowners, now that the historic districts are established.

“I think what we’re going to see now are economic hardship [applications] over the next few months,” Mr. Doud said. The appeal has to exhibit the economic unviability of maintaining historic resources without major improvements such as expansion or demolition.

Mr. Doud also noted the commission will be using funds to consult experts like city architect Rick Neumann, which will be “money well spent,” he said.

Historic District Commissioner Brian Dunnigan has resigned, since he has been unable to make the trip from Grass Lake to attend commission meetings. Mayor Doud appointed Lee Finkel to replace Mr. Dunnigan, after asking city attorney Tom Evashevski whether planning commissioners could serve on both boards. Mr. Evashevski determined the double appointment could be made.

The city will spend about $181,000 on new street poles, each equipped with flat plates for mounting signs, brackets for attaching flower basket arms, and electrical outlets for holiday wreaths. These were added for future convenience, as those present at the Streets and Sidewalks Committee meeting prior to city council discussed Wednesday.

Before council members approved the funds, acting Streets Committee Chairman Frank Bloswick, Jr. said, “I’d recommend that we stop the patchwork and get on with it.”

The city will order 112 new streetlight poles, which includes 100 for city use, 10 replacements, and two for installation in Marquette Park. The posts in Marquette are owned by the Mackinac State Historic Parks, and the city will be reimbursed for the two extra poles in the park’s next budget year, which begins in October. Further discussions will take place, council assured park manager Sue Topham.

The city currently has no replacement light posts.

Council member Anneke Myers noted that $250,000 is budgeted for the project, which will include the cost of the new poles, new concrete bases, and labor.

After a citizen asked, “What happens to the old [poles]?” Mayor Doud explained that city will devise a plan for the old lampposts in the future. She also mentioned that poles have already been recycled. Possible options include selling the poles to interested parties, but streets administrator Dennis Dombroski noted that they will not include electrical fittings or lighting fixtures.

Mrs. Myers also called attention to sample luminaires installed throughout downtown. Three designs are from Lumicon, the company the city is using to purchase the new lamp poles, and three are from General Electric. The globes feature energy-efficient lights with wider ranges than the traditional incandescent bulbs the city currently uses. Council wants to hear citizens’ opinions on how they illuminate city streets.

There are no plans to replace street lamp lighting fixtures, however, because the city recently acquired the current globes.

Council also approved a land use permit for the Fifth Street turnaround that was drafted by Mr. Evashevski after the last city council meeting March 20. According to the 10-year agreement, the section of property owned by McIntire Family, LLC can be used by the public, but the family has the option to terminate the agreement at any time. The city is leasing the land for $1. According to Mr. Evashevski, the family asked the city to draft a use permit as legal verification to prevent such things as adverse use of their land.

The city will spend about $3,300 to install video and audio equipment in Council Chambers. City alderman Jason St. Onge has been a vocal supporter of the project. Networking Design of Kincheloe will work with the city to install microphones and a computer network for broadcasting city meetings.

The Council thanked Mackinac State Historic Parks manager Sue Topham for her help when the state park sold 1,500 gallons of fuel to Island Lumber and Hardware for purchase by residents until gas could be shipped to the Island last month.

The city will formally congratulate the LaSalle High School girls basketball team of St. Ignace on winning the Class D State Championship March 16.

Zoning Ordinance books are being inventoried and will be updated. Anyone who has a book to be updated should contact city administer Tammy Frazier at 847-6556. The city has $3,000 budgeted for the project.

Council granted 23 temporary motor vehicle permits for the coming month and agreed to waive the Community Hall usage fee for the Mackinac Island Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council fundraising dinner April 13, the George Bodwin, Jr. funeral May 18, and the Margaret Fisher funeral June 3. The San Diego Dance Society has requested a fee waiver, but discussion was tabled until council receives more information.

Council then went into a closed session to discuss the purchase of real estate, according to Mr. Evashevski.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2013-04-13 digital edition