Rezoning on Canal Road, construction and triathlon updates, and the saving of a tortoise
Houghton City Council, July 14, 2021
During City Manager Eric Waara’s report, he highlighted ditching, beach cleanup, and other work done by the Department of Public Works. The work on the water plant’s roof has begun, as has trimming of some low-hanging tree branches. A grant proposal through MEDC is moving forward. Work on the lift bridge is going to resume next week. The box culvert for Huron Creek, under Sharon Avenue, has been placed, now the work to rebuild the grade and road on top of it can start. Waara said the material that has been falling off of the downtown parking deck is almost entirely from patches done 5-6 years ago, and that an inspection of what remains would be done, for safety. The dog park planning is continuing, looking at a phased development. There is also some planning for an end-of-summer event hosted cooperatively between Hancock and Houghton, likely to include fireworks.
(The sounds of incredible flatulence in the video are from the council’s leather chairs. Not much I can do about it, but the timing is sometimes hilarious.)
During Police Chief John Donnelly’s report, he covered arrests and accidents, and the story of a stray tortoise, saved by a passerby on U.S. 41 and whose owners Lt. Nick Roberts found (you should really hear it for yourself). He said calls to the department are back to about what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proposed Rezoning Ordinance 2021-321
The zoning ordinance came up twice during the meeting, first during the public hearing, and again when the council took it up to vote.
During the public hearing, two people spoke in favor of the rezoning, and none were against it. One of those who spoke was the attorney for Derek Bradway, the developer applying for the rezoning. She highlighted the work the developer had done with the neighbors and his plan’s compatibility with the city’s master plan.
During the council’s discussion, Waara reminded the council of the 17 factors the council is supposed to consider in the case of a rezoning ordinance. Councilor Brian Irizarry recognized the potential for increased traffic because of the development but expressed his belief the city could adapt in the future if that occurs. The council voted unanimously in favor of the rezoning.
During public comment, the board got a brief update on the organization of the triathlon to honor Verna Mize. Businesses are signing up as sponsors, and information is being distributed to racers at the Canal Run.