2014-05-31 / Top News

City Grants 100 Bicycle Licenses

Moves 25 for Mackinac Island Bikes; Tables Ryba Request for Transfer, Pending Hearing
By Stephanie Fortino

The City of Mackinac Island released 100 bicycle rental licenses and transferred another 25 licenses to the Main Street location of Mackinac Island Bike Shop Wednesday, May 28. The city had withheld the licenses for two weeks pending a temporary site plan for the lot, which is now vacant after the old building on it was demolished last month. The site will not be open to the public, and the licenses will be issued through the neighboring lot that houses the new Bicycle Inn, said owner Ira Green.

Council tabled a request from Pete Deckert of Ryba’s Bike Rental to transfer 50 rental bicycle licenses from the east end of town to Ryba’s Lakeview Bike Rental lot pending the outcome of a court hearing scheduled for Friday, May 30. Council also received a revised passenger service schedule from Arnold Transit Company, added restrictions to the Shepler’s and Star Line freight operations, received a complaint from a visitor about a downtown T-shirt shop, approved permits for the annual Lilac Race and Festival of the Horse parade, and granted several temporary motor vehicle and trailer permits.

The city went into closed session for more than 30 minutes Wednesday evening to discuss two topics with city attorney Tom Evashevski, in what is getting to be a standard feature of council meetings. First, the council strategized about the upcoming hearing in 11th Circuit Court regarding the Beaver Dock lawsuit filed by James Azzar, and second, council continued discussions regarding the purchase of docks. The city has tried to buy or lease the Coal Dock in recent months.

Bicycle Rental Licenses

The temporary plan approved for Mackinac Island Bike Shop will be to store bikes until the Historic District Commission considers a permanent plan in June. The temporary plan includes four removable bike racks that will each hold 32 bicycles, and a removable picket fence sections off the area near the sidewalk, preventing public access.

The Mackinac Island Historic District Commission will review the permanent plan at its next meeting Tuesday, June 10, at 1 p.m. in City Hall.

The 125 licenses issued Wednesday will be rented from the neighboring lot under the Mackinac Island Bike Shop business. The neighboring lot has 194 rental licenses and houses the new Bicycle Inn hotel that will be completed next year.

The city did not release the 194 licenses until construction on the site stopped earlier in May. May 14, the city issued the 194 licenses according to the rental site plan associated with the new hotel that was approved in 2012.

The transfer of the 25 rental bicycle licenses from the Hoban Street Mackinac Island Bike Shop location to Main Street was part of the settlement the city reached with Mr. Green and business partner Melanie Libby that resolved pending court cases they had filed against the city. Included in that deal was the exchange of 90 rental bicycle licenses for development rights at the head of the Arnold Dock. Those licenses were also issued May 28 to Ms. Libby for Main Dock Bikes, LLC, a new business that will operate at the head of the Arnold Dock.

The city’s streets and sidewalks committee considered the temporary site plan and the request made by Ryba’s Bike Rental.

The request was made because Ryba’s Bike Rental no longer leases its Mission District site from Tim Horn. Bicycle rental licenses are issued to a specific address, so the city must assign the licenses a new address.

Mr. Deckert proposed moving the rental licenses to Ryba’s Lakeview Rental in light of the licenses awarded to Mr. Green and Ms. Libby. While his preference is to have the licenses issued to the Lakeview lot downtown, he was open to negotiating other locations with the city. Other options could include renting some licenses from the Pancake House location next to the Arnold Dock or from the Island House near the marina.

Street Committee members were split on whether to recommend granting the transfer to the Lakeview rental lot on Main Street, which is between the Shepler’s and Star Line docks.

Committee member Dominic Redman was opposed to transferring the licenses downtown because of the congestion there, which has been city council’s position in the past, until it issued new licenses to Mr. Green and Ms. Libby. He noted that while Ms. Libby was granted 90 new licenses downtown, the city gained something in return and could decide in the future to pay for the development rights instead of issuing the licenses at the head of the Arnold Dock.

Committee member Anneke Myers was also hesitant to recommend the transfer, and thought some licenses could be issued to Ryba’s Pancake House rental site. Both Mr. Redman and Mrs. Myers said the added licenses at the Lakeview lot would exacerbate congestion problems near the Shepler and Star Line Docks that have been plaguing the area this season.

But committee Chairwoman Kay Hoppenrath was in favor of granting the transfer, saying the congestion problem is so bad that the additional 50 licenses couldn’t make it much worse.

Mr. Evashevski advised against transferring the licenses, as it might impact the city’s position with regard to the Beaver Dock lawsuit hearing scheduled for Friday.

When Mr. Deckert’s request came before the full council, the matter was tabled for two weeks until the June 11 meeting, after the court hearing May 30.

Other Business

Arnold Transit Company submitted a revised passenger schedule for the summer, which includes trips operating out of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, running roughly every two hours. Council placed the schedule on file without discussion. Boat schedules are required to be submitted and approved under the city’s contracts with the boat lines.

The city reissued business licenses for the freight services operating out of the Shepler and Star Line docks. For years, the city has limited when freight operations can occur at the docks through restrictions added to the licenses, but those were overlooked when the licensees were issued earlier in May. Freight can only be brought to the docks between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the morning and 8 p.m. and midnight each night.

Police Chief Brett Riccinto has been working with the ferry companies this season, keeping an eye on the congestion at the docks. Now that the restrictions were added to the business licenses, he will enforce them. If problems arise with the restricted freight times, the city council may make exemptions to the time constraints at the next council meeting. If the city is successful in leasing the Beaver Dock by the east breakwater, pending the hearing Friday, freight operations could be moved there during the day.

Island visitor Nicole Surline wrote describing a negative shopping experience at a downtown shop, noting misleading pricing and poor customer service. Mayor Margaret Doud said similar complaints about other shops have been received and she charged the city’s Ordinance Committee with looking into the matter. Mr. Evashevski will review ordinances that protect consumers’ rights.

City treasurer Rick Linn will transfer up to $300,000 from the capital fund to the general fund until mid-August to cover bills and purchases until the city receives its tax money. The transfer is typical for this time of year, and Mr. Linn noted, “I expect it to be lower and pay it off sooner.”

A competitive event application for the annual Lilac Festival 10K was approved for Saturday, June 7. Gault Race management of Flushing hosts the annual event that starts at Mission Point Resort, continues through downtown, and loops through the center of the Island via British Landing Road.

The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association was also permitted to host its parade for the Annual Festival of the Horse. The parade will be Friday, August 8, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The route will be from Mission Point Resort through downtown, ending at Grand Hotel.

The city also approved 25 temporary motor vehicle permits, including 11 for Reith Riley to pave city streets in the coming week, five for Mission Point Resort, and four to complete the water main project at Silver Birches.

Two temporary trailer permits were also approved for Grand Hotel and Larry and Kay Berke.

The Recreation Department was approved to spend $1,210 to purchase sand for the volleyball court in Great Turtle Park.

A pest control company was also hired to treat city buildings and light poles.

The city also approved 46 renewal business licenses, six off- Island business licenses, and two new business licenses for Mackinac Mud Pottery by Jay Barch and Liz Ware’s Silver Birches 2 on Market Street.

The next council meeting is Wednesday, June 11, at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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