2012-07-28 / Top News

Historic District Study Now To Poll Owners

By Matt Mikus

After reviewing 85 letters and e-mails submitted for public comment, the Mackinac Island Historic District Study Committee will survey property owners in the two proposed downtown historic districts.

During the public comment period, 77 of the 85 comments supported forming the districts, including six district property owners, while eight were opposed, all of them district property owners [see related story in this issue]. Some of the comments were from people who are not Mackinac Island residents, the committee noted. At its meeting Thursday, July 19, committee members said they want to hear from all the property owners in the districts.

The committee asked Administrative Assistant Kelly Bean to mail a postcard survey to parcel owners in each district, asking whether they are in favor of or opposed to the district. The nonbinding results will help committee members evaluate the issue, they said.

Committee members Steve Moskwa and Brad Chambers said they want to give the property owners one more chance to weigh in on the matter, after few voiced any opinion at a June 16 public hearing or submitted written comments afterward.

“I think we should do everything we can to reach out to the property owners,” Mr. Chambers said.

Committee member Sam Barnwell said the more information the committee can collect, the easier it will be to make a recommendation.

“We have a lot of outside feedback,” Mr. Barnwell said, “but we don’t have nearly the same amount from in-town feedback.”

Mr. Barnwell questioned whether each parcel should have a vote, because an owner of multiple properties would get more than one vote, but admitted there was probably no easier way to go.

Property owners are required to return their survey cards to the city by August 7, and then the committee plans to tally those who are in favor, against, and who didn’t respond.

Previous discussion by Michigan

State Historic Preservation Office suggested that anyone who doesn’t express an opinion on the matter should be considered as being in favor, but the city committee decided that would be too much to presume.

While waiting for survey responses, the committee will continue to develop a report and recommendation to the city council and planning commission. The committee will meet again during the week of July 30 and submit its recommendation to the planning commission Tuesday, August 14, and to the city council Wednesday, August 15.

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