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Calumet planning commission readies zoning ordinance

Hancock is not the only municipality preparing to bring a revision of its zoning ordinance before its council. Calumet has employed Beckett and Raeder of Ann Arbor, Michigan to help prepare its 189-page rough draft. Members of the Calumet Planning Commission presented on their work and fielded questions at the council work session held Tuesday night.

Councilor Andrew Ranville serves on both. He said the hefty length is slightly misleading in that there is a sizable section devoted to definitions and the project consultants have added boilerplate language consistent with what is being adopted by other smaller municipalities across the state. Member Tim Bies had some philosophical disagreements with the scope of the zoning ordinance.

There’s a lot of stuff in here that’s overreach. I mean, you can’t put snow in a parking lot, only in certain sections? Have you been here in the winter? You can’t have outdoor seating, you can’t have umbrellas, you can’t have writing on it. I have a whole list of things, and lighting? Oh!

He also points out that without a staffed village police department, it will be hard for Calumet to make sure residents are complying.

How are we going to enforce this? Who’s going to be the administrator. Are they going to walk around? Do they have to have a ladder to go up and see what kind of bulbs are in the fixtures? As a business owner, or as a property owner, if I live in a residence and want to build a garage, you gotta have a site plan to scale. For a lot of people, that’s kind of onerous.

An overhaul of the document is required for Calumet to be eligible for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Redevelopment Ready Community program. Several grants are available exclusively to municipalities with the certification. The City of Houghton was able to leverage the credential to get state aid to install a new pier downtown.

It opens up a battle over the scope of local government. Critics of comprehensive planning say that it includes government in too many aspects of daily life. The draft is available on the village’s website.

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