2018-04-07 / News

Gardens Get OK at Hedgecliffe; Shepler’s Revamps Ticket Booth

By Jacob A. Ball


Based on the feedback of the Mackinac Island Planning Commission, an updated ticket booth design has been created without an overhang above the entryway (right). (Design by Michael Karr) Based on the feedback of the Mackinac Island Planning Commission, an updated ticket booth design has been created without an overhang above the entryway (right). (Design by Michael Karr) Shepler’s Ferry resubmitted an amendment to their Mackinac Island dock project Tuesday, March 13, that reduces the size of a new ticket booth based on feedback from the Mackinac Island Planning Commission. The amended design plans include an expanded bathroom and a new ticket booth and staff room inside the ferry terminal. The commissioners had expressed concern that the structure presents an obstacle to efficiently loading and unloading drays along Main Street. By reducing the footprint of the booth by 50%, from 16 feet wide to eight feet wide, there will be considerably more room for staging carts and other items coming to and from the boats. The design did not receive the planning commission’s approval, as they are concerned that trim and decoration on the exterior is unnecessary and could pose a problem when moving luggage and freight. The designs were not submitted for approval from the Historic District Commission, as the ferry line was interested in getting the planning commission’s opinion on the dimensions before moving ahead.

The new ticket booth inside Shepler’s terminal building is designed to mimic much of the architecture on Mackinac Island. The commissioners were confused, however, by the inclusion of flower boxes and overhangs above the windows and door, given that the booth would be inside a building. The overhang above the ticket booth doorway extends into the walkway between the dock and the sidewalk, which could easily be damaged by a cart piled high with luggage or freight. Commissioner Jim Pettit, a Mackinac Island Service Company employee, predicted that it is going to be damaged or even ripped off by one of the first overfilled carts of the season. The commission recommended that the overhangs and the flower boxes be removed.

The renderings submitted to the commission display a building that flares out at the base, and a recommendation was made for their removal. In their opinion, this would be an obstacle to moving carts up and down from Main Street, and would most likely be damaged.

The Mackinac Island Historic District Commission and Planning Commission gave approval to construct a large, ornate garden on the Musser cottage property in Hubbard’s Annex, owned by Dan and Marlee Musser.

According to HDC architect Rick Neumann, the new landscaping will “restore an appropriate period setting to the historic cottage,” however, he also questioned the compatibility of the design “with the historic character of the site, and its location in the Hubbard’s Annex Historic District.”

He explained that the extravagance of the garden made him reluctant to issue unconditional support for the project, but that it does nicely fit the aesthetics of a Victorian-style garden. Designed by Mackinac Island’s Jack Barnwell, the gardens will feature a series of stone pathways and flowing gardens, a waterfall, and fencing that extends along the bluff to the adjacent Hedgecliffe Estate, which the Mussers also own. Commissioner Lorna Straus, an Annex homeowner, expressed her concerns with the compatibility of the design, given that no other landscaping in the Annex resembles this design. She said she does not oppose the project, but that it definitely pushes the concept of compatibility. Commissioners Bradley McCallum and Andrew Doud were reluctant to become involved in landscaping decisions, which Mr. Doud said have a lot to do with personal taste. While the HDC discussion was in regard to the compatibility of the design, the planning commission’s authority only related to the fencing around the property.

The fencing was already built before approval of the zoning application, resulting in a $250 fine, which was paid along with the application. Regardless, the fencing fits all setback and height requirements and subsequently received approval from the planning commission. Building inspector Dennis Dombroski said the application must list Hedgecliffe as a work site, however, because the fencing extends across the property.

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