Family Dollar has officially opened its doors in Chikaming Township.
At his first Township Board meeting as Chikaming Township Supervisor Thursday, Dec. 8, David Bunte explained that he met with Township Attorney Charles Hilmer and the Township’s Zoning Administrator, Van Thorton, to review a letter that was signed bya group of residents alleging that several non-compliances with the Township’s zoning ordinance were taking place at the construction site of the Family Dollar store at the corner of Sawyer Road and Tatro Avenue in Sawyer. The letter gives a brief summary of issues presented in the project’s site plan that the signees allege conflict with the Township’s zoning ordinances. Among the alleged deficiencies of the site plan include the lack of landscaping as well as some of the signage remaining uninstalled. The letter signees said their main concern was that a Certificate of Occupancy would be issued to Family Dollar before the alleged deficiencies were addressed.
Bunte said he, Thorton and Hilmer looked at all the points that were made in the letter, as well as their documentation, their site plans and what had been approved and the site plan with the building permits and concluded that it was within the Township’s “best interest” to issue Family Dollar a temporary, six-month occupancy permit. Within those six months, Bunte said Family Dollar must finalize and complete their landscaping requirements as well as finalize and ensure that their signage fell within the site plans. Bunte said they planned on “continuing the dialogue” with Family Dollar and making sure they completed all their requirements.
Bunte added that a ribbon-cutting was held Saturday, Nov. 18, which was attended by Board Trustee Bill Marske, himself and Treasurer Liz Rettig.
“I think at this point it may behoove us to show some support and not turn our back on them, since they are an operating entity,” he said.
In other business, Board members approved a recommendation that was made last month by the Planning Commission for a 12-month moratorium to be placed on all newly proposed commercial development requiring a site plan review on Red Arrow Highway’s Green Corridor. Mention is made of the Green Corridor in the Township’s Master Plan.
As explained by Park Board member Joseph Reed, the moratorium would give the Township “a little safety haven” from “falling into more loopholes” in the near future until they finish correcting the Township’s zoning ordinances. Currently, the Township is working on aligning its ordinances with its Master Plan.
In a related matter, Board members also approved the consulting firm McKenna for the Planning Commission for their zoning ordinance review. Two other firms were also considered by Commissioners.
Board members approved the retention of legal counsel Foster Swift’s Michael Homier for Cherry Beach and authorized Bunte to sign the letter of intent and conflict waiver.
As explained by Reed, a subcommittee has been formed within the Park Board regarding how to “sustain the future of Cherry Beach.” Last October, residents voiced their concerns at a Michigan Department of Environmental Equality (MDEQ) public hearing over a proposed large home and auxiliary structures being developed on a property located in the 1300 block of Cherry Beach Road in Lakeside, Michigan. No decision has yet been made with regards to the MDEQ issuing a permit to the property’s owner, Reed Beidler of The Beidler Trust.
Reed said they plan on taking a “collaborative approach” with regards to preserving Cherry Beach, as Homier will also be working with the Township’s attorney. He added the subcommittee will probably be meeting again to discuss how to best move forward once the Township has approved the signing of the documents.
Board members approved a motion making it mandatory for all Township employees, commissioners and board members to use an official Township email to conduct Township business beginning Jan. 1, with a written policy to be reviewed at the next Board meeting.
As explained by Bunte, too many people serving on their boards use their personal emails or don’t use an email at all for Township communications. He said that having all employees on a Township email was important for “protection purposes,” as well as ensured the overall communication process ran more smoothly.
Sullivan agreed with Bunte on the need for more protection, saying it’s been a “pet peeve” of his since he first joined the Township Board four years ago that it wasn’t required for elected officials to have an email.
“We’re protecting ourselves and also protecting the public,” he said, adding that “too many things” have gone on within the past year “behind our backs.”
Board members approved adding an additional $2,000 for the police budget for the purpose of purchasing two new computers for Township patrol cars. Chief Todd Taylor explained that he was recently turned down by The Pokagon Fund after applying for a grant to help pay for the computers. Both computers would cost approximately $4800 and he said he needed $2,000 to make the purchase.
Board members approved the attendance of Dudiak and Bunte at a New Official Training for Clerk and Supervisor Michigan Township Association Conference in Kalamazoo Thursday, Jan 19.
Board members approved a Review of Demolition application for use within the Township’s zoning department.
Board members approved a motion that they provide healthcare benefits for elected Township officials serving 30 hours or more per week. Since they work 30 hours every week and were directly affected by the motion, Dudiak and Bunte abstained from voting.