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Houghton council acts on parking deck recommendation

In a 6-1 vote, with member Jan Cole the lone dissenter, the Houghton City Council adopted the recommendation on the parking deck from the Planning Commission. It is now the city’s position that the structure will come down at some point in the future. This allows staff to begin to figure out the details on a parallel track with a process to determine what is next for the space in a way that involves public engagement on the issue.

All other matters before the body passed unanimously, including resolving a platting error on a sliver of land in front of 102 Frue Avenue. Manager Eric Waara says the issue dates back to 1980 and concerns a parcel bought originally in the 19th century.

This was an 1800’s lot in Houghton owned by this family. It was a surveyed lot, an ancient deed that was probably written on sheepskin.

While the 1800’s deed was probably not made of sheepskin, it has caused some issues over the years. Platting is now done electronically and would have caught the accident, if it were carried out today. Vacating the right of way allows the current property owners to pursue a sale potentially.

A lot split was approved on Military Road. It is a large plot of land, close to two city blocks, bordered by Sibley Avenue, Baraga Avenue, and Quincy Street. Waara says this too is meant to help a potential real estate transaction.

The property owner has a willing buyer who wants to buy a piece of proerty from them, but the council has to approve any lot splits. They got the surveying done, gave us the property description, and requested the split into these two pieces. Legally, it’s one piece of property. They want to make it two.

Waara left open the possibility of subdividing the property further. Normally, the concern is that a lot split will leave a parcel too small for a future purchase, but that doesn’t apply in this case.

The council signed off on facade mini grants for five buildings on Shelden Avenue and Lakeshore Drive, including businesses such as Nitro Consulting, The Print Shop, and the new Copper Range Depot. The total for the work is $16,614, below the $20,000 budgeted by the Downtown Development Authority.

Supply chain constraints continue to be a concern, and that has the city committing to a year’s worth of public works equipment purchases now. Four vehicles, a 2022 one-ton diesel pickup, a 2021 mini loader, a dump truck box, and pickup service box will all have orders placed soon. The expectation is that some may not be fulfilled for months. The four items add up to $129,500, to be pulled from Houghton’s Equipment Fund.

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