2018-01-10 / News

Imlay City set to add alternates to ZBA

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

IMLAY CITY — Last month the city nearly had to delay consideration of a $3 million, 40-unit assisted living project on the city’s south side for a month when the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) almost missed a quorum.

City Manager Tom Youatt told city commission members Wednesday (Jan. 3) that ZBA member Earl Gass, who was ill, came in at the last minute.

Youatt said the city charter allows for two alternate ZBA members. He said the seven-member ZBA only meets “as needed,” and has only met “a couple of times” in the last three years.

However, he added, with projects like the DeShano Companies, Inc’s proposed assisted living facility on South Almont Avenue and a few other in the pipeline, it’s important to have a quorum when the ZBA needs to meet.

City Commissioners Bob Tanis and Mike Romine volunteered to serve as ZBA alternates.

David Churchill, the city’s attorney, said he would make sure it’s permissible for the two commissioners to serve on the ZBA. He said that while it’s generally prohibited for city commissioners to serve on these kinds of board, there are a series of exceptions for cities with populations under 20,000.

Youatt added, “It could be uncomfortable, if someone appealed a decision.” But he said it’s important the ZBA be able to make quorum.

He hopes to have two names commissioners can vote on when they meet Jan. 17.

In other action:

• Commissioners voted to give four property owners pay up nearly $1,300 in unpaid special assessments.

Youatt told commission members, “The list is smaller this year, which is a positive thing. He said assessments not paid by Jan. 31 will be added to the property owner’s summer tax bills.

The largest outstanding bill is $530 for a North Cedar Street property owner. A North Main Street property owner owes the city $498 in special assessment fees and property owners on Borland Road and West Sixth Street each owe $125.

• Commissioners voted to write the last check for this fall’s $285,648 project to resurface part of North Fairgrounds Road and East Capac Road. The final $2,843 payment to Rowe Engineering means the city can now file its paperwork with the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality to get its Scrap Tire Grant reimbursement.

That will trim the final cost to the city for the paving project by half.

• Youatt told commissioners that the city’s Gateway project on M-53 is on track to start construction in early summer.

• He added the city is also zeroing in a closing date for the 2.66-acre DNR site on Borland Road. Last month city commission members agreed to pay $184,000 for the property.

Youatt told commissioners DNR will give the city a quit claim deed to the property, but won’t provide title insurance and will retain ownership of any antiquities found on the site.

Youatt said the city should be able to purchase its own title insurance. Mayor Walt Bargen suggested the city also have an environmental assessment done.

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