2014-05-24 / News

City Grants 194 Rental Licenses to Mackinac Island Bikes

Council Will Temporarily Hold 125 Additional Bicycle Licenses
By Stephanie Fortino

The City of Mackinac Island will issue 194 rental bicycle licenses to the Mackinac Island Bike Shop at the site of the new Bicycle Inn on Main Street. Another 100 licenses associated with a neighboring lot, the site of the demolished bicycle store, were not released by the city council, which met Wednesday, May 14.

All construction on the Bicycle Inn and at the now-vacant lot next door must stop before the bicycle rental operations can resume. The new hotel will not be finished until next year, but the hotel developers plan to use the bike repair shop facilities on the ground floor once they secure a temporary occupancy permit from the city building department.

The Main Street location of Mackinac Island Bike Shop uses licenses issued to two adjacent lots, and has done so for several years. The 194 licenses are issued to the old McNally waterfront property (now the Bicycle Inn) and 100 licenses are issued next door at the demolished building used by Mackinac Bike Shop for new bicycle sales, repairs, and housing.

The licenses were not issued this year during the city’s annual bicycle redetermination meeting because the bike shop building was condemned and posed a safety hazard to bike shop customers and workers. The city council stipulated the licenses would not be issued until the building was safely taken down and adequate facilities were approved by the city.

Any permanent structures that will be erected on the vacant lot have to be approved by the city’s Historic District Commission. The HDC tabled site plans for the bicycle rental business Tuesday, May 13, because they were filed late, and has put the proposal on its June meeting agenda.

Council released the 194 rental licenses according to a plan that was approved by the Planning Commission in 2012. When the city’s downtown historic district went into effect last January, the city agreed that any projects approved by the Planning Commission before that time would not be subject to HDC review.

Property owner Ira Green will submit a site plan for how the bike business will be temporarily operated on the vacant lot for the next City Council meeting Wednesday, May 28, at 4 p.m.

Councilwoman Anneke Myers, a member of the Planning Commission, said the 2012 site plan for Bicycle Inn included racks and a kiosk for 194 rental licenses, so those licenses could be issued as long as Mr. Green follows that original site plan.

Mr. Green was favorable to that idea, but wanted the city to release the 100 additional licenses associated with the vacant lot next door, too. He did not have a temporary plan for that site, but explained he would only use the space to park bikes without bike racks until the HDC considered a permanent plan.

Mayor Margaret Doud said the City Council should wait until the HDC makes a decision about the structures on the site.

City attorney Tom Evashevski told Mr. Green if he comes back to the city council with an image of his temporary plan, councilmembers could decide to issue the rest of his licenses.

City council also waited to officially transfer another 25 bicycle rental licenses held by Mr. Green from the Hoban Street location of Mackinac Island Bike Shop to the operations on Main Street. The transfer is part of the settlement the city reached with Mr. Green and his business partner Melanie Libby.

Over the weekend, Mackinac Island Bike Shop rented bicycles from the sites while construction continued, said Councilwoman Kay Hoppenrath. She suggested footings that were being poured on the site of the old bike shop building were in violation of the terms of the settlement.

Mr. Green agreed to stop all construction before resuming rental operations.

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