2018-08-11 / News

City Council Sets Special Transportation Authority Meeting

By Stephanie Fortino


At left: These promotional signs at the new Mackinac House hotel on Market Street are allowed by the city’s sign ordinance, the city council learned Wednesday, August 1. At left: These promotional signs at the new Mackinac House hotel on Market Street are allowed by the city’s sign ordinance, the city council learned Wednesday, August 1. The Mackinac Island City Council will host a special informational meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 15, to discuss establishing a transportation authority on the Island. These authorities are formed to oversee public forms of transportation, such as bus service in urban areas or passenger and freight service to communities such as Mackinac Island and Beaver Island.

City council members received a packet of information regarding transportation authorities prior to the Wednesday, August 1, council meeting and decided a special council meeting would be best way to open discussions on this possibility for the Island.

The city has considered establishing a transportation authority for several years. Consideration is renewed as the city continues mediation in the legal case surrounding the ownership at the Coal Dock, which the council has said it would like to own and use for municipal freight.

Following the meeting, the council held a 30-minute closed session to discuss a memorandum from city attorney Tom Evashevski regarding the Coal Dock case and the city’s settlement strategy. The next mediation session is tentatively scheduled for October 5, Mr. Evashevski said.

The city council also reviewed several complaints and requests, from dust and debris on Cadotte Avenue to fireworks and drones. Mayor Pro Tem Kay Hoppenrath led the meeting in the absence of Mayor Margaret Doud.

Councilmember Dennis Bradley said dust and debris on Cadotte Avenue have created unsanitary and unsafe road conditions following a period of drought this summer. Two weeks before at the last city council meeting in July, Mr. Bradley said, he asked that the city maintenance crew work with the Mackinac Island Carriage Tours to have the road flushed, but the problem hasn’t been adequately addressed.

City foreman Mike Ruddle said his maintenance crew has been down to two workers, but he will work with Carriage Tours to have the road flushed as soon as possible.

The council voted to direct that the road be flushed once during the week of August 1 and again the following week, giving Mr. Ruddle the authority to hire Carriage Tours or the workers who flush downtown streets, if necessary. The road is to be flushed from Third Street in Harrisonville to about the Gate House Restaurant at the bottom of Grand Hill.

The city council rejected a request from Kristen and Joey Sturgeis to have a five-minute fireworks display following their wedding offshore from Mission Point Resort. The application didn’t indicate the date of the wedding, but the fireworks were proposed at about 10 p.m. Mission Point Resort General Manager Brandon Sheldon, who was at the meeting, said the hotel was unaware of the request, which came from Great Lakes Fireworks LLC.

During public fireworks displays, the Island’s horse companies stop running taxis and carriages so the horses don’t get spooked. Because fireworks have such an impact on the Island, Councilmember Anneke Myers said, the application should be denied. There were no dissenting votes.

The council approved a request from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to use a drone to take photographs and videos for a survey of recent paving on Main Street. Three areas would be surveyed: near the public library, the harbor, and Mission Point Resort. The drone will take off vertically and won’t be flown laterally. The flights were to be conducted early this month.

While the council has tried to limit the use drones in the city because of the threats they pose to horses, a state law gives the state exclusive regulatory power over the remote controlled flying machines. Drones are banned in Mackinac Island State Park, unless given permission.

The council voted 5-1 to allow the transportation department to use a drone. Mrs. Hoppenrath voted against the request, citing several concerns and questioning whether the person who made the request actually works for MDOT. request actually works for MDOT.

Nearly five years after the Native American Turtle Burial Mound was created at the Catholic cemetery, the city has agreed to let the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians maintain it. The city’s cemetery board recommended that the council sign a memorandum of understanding with the tribe. Colleen Medicine, the Sault Tribe repatriation specialist, and Mr. Ruddle will be in charge of the maintenance.

The tribe has agreed to donate $1,872 this year to cover the cost of care by a city crew. The tribe has madeaa$3,000donationforupkeep, $300 of which is the cemetery plot fee, and a $2,700 donation for maintenance work. The mound is on state park land that is leased to the city.

Council members voted to remove the cemetery board’s perpetual care funds from a certificate of deposit account at First National Bank of St. Ignace, which has an interest rate of 0.75%. The $220,937.20 balance in the account includes perpetual care funds, cemetery plot fees, and other funds. The city may set up a new perpetual care fund through the Mackinac Island Community Foundation to get a better interest rate.

Council granted permits for the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, which will be held Thursday, August 23, through Sunday, August 26. Its main feature is fudge-making demonstrations at fudge shops from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday. The array of activities will include the weekly Friday night Market Street Art Walk and a children’s magic and music in the yard behind the Stuart House Museum.

As the festival continues Saturday and Sunday, there will be a bounce house and mural on Windermere Point for family games. There will be two concerts by Three Men and a Tenor and an outdoor showing of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” also on Windermere Point. Sunday, there will be a children’s chocolate fudge egg hunt on the point. Kids games, the movie, and concerts will be held in Community Hall if there’s rain.

The council also approved a fun run from the Grand Hotel tennis courts to Mission Point and back that was held Monday morning, August 6, as part of a Midwestern Surgical Association convention at the hotel. Approval followed some concerns about the expected 80 participants running downtown at the peak of the tourist season and amid earlymorning freight deliveries. Grand Hotel Managing Director John Hulett told councilmembers the runners probably would be spread out, not in a crowd, as they passed through downtown. Corporal Ken Hardy, attending for Police Chief Lawrence Horn, said he would notify police officers of the race and start the morning shift at 7:30 a.m. that day.

Councilmember Bradley reported that citizens have asked him whether two signs on the new Mackinac House hotel, under construction on Market Street by Andrew Doud and Bob Benser, are actually billboards. The city’s sign administrator and building inspector, Dennis Dombroski, said the signs are permitted because they are within city dimensional restrictions.

Mr. Bradley also complained about activities by the Island’s dock porters, some of whom, he said, are carrying loads of luggage on their bicycles that are so large their view is obstructed as they wheel through the streets. He said he saw one dock porter take a shortcut, prohibited by the city, through the park area between the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau building and the Carriage Tours ticket booth, past the public restrooms and Veteran’s Memorial. Mr. Hardy said police will keep an eye on the porters.

Eight temporary motor vehicle permits were approved for Mission Point Resort to receive propane deliveries for the remainder of the season.

Deliveries will be made at the state dock at British Landing August 21, September 11, September 25, October 16, October 30, November 13, November 27, and December 18.

The council approved the extension of a temporary motor vehicle permit through August for a forklift operated by Bouma Corporation in a construction project at Silver Birches. It granted an off-Island business license to Hovey’s Construction of Cheboygan and a sidewalk obstruction permit to Cryderman Builders of St. Ignace, which planned to spend two days painting the First National Bank building on Market Street sometime between August 1 and August 15.

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