Listen to- May 13 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting
Listen to- April 23 2019 Special Board of Trustees Meeting
Special Hearing to be held on March 13th
Cement batch plant may be permanent
The Monday, February 11th Board of Trustees meeting was as different from the meetings of the former board as night is from day. This board efficiently clicked through a page full of agenda items in 90 minutes and just as important when you entered the township hall they had an 8 -foot table full of a dozen handouts documenting every expenditure and projection that they would discuss during the meeting. This board is totally dedicated to informing the residents on everything from soup to nuts!
During public comment, residents continued to stand and laud the new members, Clerk Warren Nugent, Treasurer Julie Collard, and Trustee Bob Jess for their knowledge, preparation, work ethics and their ability to communicate with the public. They join Supervisor, Ron VanZee and Trustee Matt Cunningham in bringing a 5 member harmonious yet inquisitive approach to each and every discussion.
They are willing to listen to members of the audience, and that characteristic was on display throughout the 90-minute meeting.
The paper handouts for the public included non-park cash flow information, a grant summary complete with monies paid to date and monies yet to come, five township bank accounts and their balances, a Camp Sea-Gull Park cash flow analysis complete with available funds, a set of Charlevoix County Road Commission estimates to repair roads in Susan Shores, Bay Shore Streets and Upper Bay Shore Rd, minutes of previous meetings, a complete list of bills to pay with six columns of vital information, a poverty asset test to help township residents who find themselves in dire straits get an exemption in whole or part from property taxes, and a 3 page handout explaining the anticipated purchase of a 4.3 acre park parcel currently owned by the DNR and offered to the township for sale for $1. The public is invited to stop by township offices and pick up these handouts.
Larry Sullivan, the Zoning Administrator, reported that the Odawa Tribe of Petoskey, who purchased Bayshore Steel on US 31, has requested a site plan review that will ask for approval of a sign, which would be larger than the ordinance would allow. Sullivan approved a freestanding sign, which would stand between their building and US31; however, he denied the Tribe a wall sign.
According to Sullivan, the Tribe purchased Bayshore Steel to fulfill a need to diversify holdings, to provide jobs, and to have access to contracts that the previous owners would not have. The sign issue will come before the planning commission for a decision if the Tribe decides to make the wall sign part of their site plan.
As reported earlier, Elmer’s, a large construction company headquartered in Traverse City has purchased the former C.H.Smith property on the corner of Boyne City Road and Maple Grove Roads. The 46 acres is currently zoned 1/3 industrial and the other 2/3 is zoned agriculture. Elmer’s wants to erect a temporary 2-year cement batch plant, later asking for a permanent permit to operate the plant.
Elmer’s will be submitting a site plan asking the Planning Commission for a special use permit. In addition, they will be asking the Zoning Board of Appeals for approval to exceed the current maximum structural height of 50 feet. Elmer’s wants to erect a 70 foot stack that will emit “wet controlled cement dust.”
The site presently is a “sand and gravel operation with a grandfathered non-conforming use” which preceded the adoption of the Hayes Township Zoning Ordinance. Read more...
by RON VANZEE, Supervisor
It always amazes me how fast time flies by. I remember my grandfather at ninety-nine years old saying “it went by so fast.” I’m not sure if it’s my age or just the fact that there are so many things going on. However, it is almost time for March Board of Review.
When most property owners hear or think about the BOARD OF REVIEW, it is with FEAR AND TREPIDATION. I was fortunate, my father served on the Board of Review for many years downstate when I was growing up. I got to hear all the stories. No names, but really good stories. He always took his checkbook with him just in case someone really believed his or her property wasn’t worth the assessed value.
But no one is perfect. Mistakes are made and thus the need for Board of Review. If you notice a sudden change in your assessment and you have not made improvements to your property; if you are a disabled veteran, your household income is below the Federal Poverty level for this area; or you have changed your primary residence in the last year and your tax statement does not reflect your primary residence exemption, you should come to Board of Review.
I serve as the recording secretary for the Board of Review. It is always interesting to hear cases involving assessments, military disabilities, and poverty exemptions. The Board also receives and reviews the assessment roll. I am always amazed how organized and prepared Alisa Albiney, our assessor is for these meetings. We are very fortunate to have her as an employee of our township.
Our Board of Review consists of Jim Rudolph, Jannelle Kassen, and Omar Feliciano with Roy Griffitts and Joni Hosler as alternates. They have a tough job that requires them to be prepared both through experience and education. All take this responsibility seriously asking the hard questions while evaluating properties with comparables following State and Local Assessment Laws and Guidelines. The answer they give may not always be exactly what you had in mind but I promise they will be fair. I also promise you will have nothing to fear. Serving on this Board is giving back to the community and I appreciate all they do. I believe you will also.
The March Board of Review will be meeting on Monday, March 11, 2019 9am-12pm and 1:30-4:30pm, and on Tuesday March 12, 2019 1-4pm and 6-9pm.
If you have any questions concerning your property taxes you should call or email the Hayes Township Assessor, Alisa Abiney at (231) 497-9361, email@example.com. If Alisa cannot solve the issue, you need to call or email me to set an appointment for the Board of Review (231) 497-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org.
by WARREN NUGENT, Clerk
Since my last article Township Treasurer Julie Collard and I have spent a lot of time looking over the Township Finances. We have found that concerns raised by Township residents regarding the financial impact of the Camp Sea-Gull boat launch were well founded. Some members of the previous board were playing sort of a shell game with our finances to make it look like all was well but it wasn’t. The former board used the total of all monies in all accounts to justify their park plan. They used the same restricted funds as matching funds for at least two different grant applications. This is just one of the reasons we find ourselves in difficulty moneywise right now.
It is true that the Township as of 8/1/19 is projected to have $723,636 in our bank accounts however $713,431 of that money is restricted and can only be used for designated expenses. The $713,431 of restricted funds consists of $332,621 from road millage funds that can only be used for roads, $210,000 state mandated reserve funds for emergencies, $134,562 that is Phase 1 construction retainage funds that belong to the contractor and we hold as an insurance policy, and $36,248 Metro Act funds specified for utility construction expenses.
Without dipping into the emergency reserve funds, that would leave the Township about $10,205 to spend on overdue Engineering bills of $9,700 and expected monthly Township obligations of $30,000. We expect approximately $145,000 in winter tax revenue this month that will give us breathing room but we will have to hold our bills until this money is deposited into Township accounts.
Looking at the expected Township cash flow over the next year, our spendable balance continues to shrink and we may have to use emergency reserve funds starting in August as we wait for summer tax revenue to come in.
Over the next few years we will have to keep a close watch on income and expenses to keep our heads above water. The good news is the current Township Board is keeping a close watch on this and will make wise decisions with your tax dollars to get us in a better financial position going forward. We will spend money on projects and issues the residents really want. We are always interested in your opinions and we pledge to remain open and transparent.
In the near future I will be adding a Deputy Clerk to assist in all my election, record keeping, budgeting, and payroll duties. The hours would be somewhat flexible and average about 12 hours per week. If you are interested or know of someone who would be interested in this position you can contact me at 231-547-6961 or email me at email@example.com.
If you have any questions, concerns, or need help with anything you can contact me by the same number and email address. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Township Clerk
by JULIE COLLARD, Treasurer
There once was a park, a peaceful rustic sanctuary, where old growth trees and lady slippers kept watch through all time,
Strength that withstood centuries of Mother Nature’s wrath; extreme and diverse seasons passed thorough the branches of the sublime,
A powerful lake that borders the southern scope of the land had brought warm July breezes and harsh winter whipping winds alike,
Echoes of songs and campfire stories haunt the former summer camp grounds; where cabins wilt by paths worn down by hikes,
From the serene to obliteration; land that stood its ground against the elements was no match for the power of man’s device;
To detail the events that followed would be to tell one of the saddest tales this land has known—and this is not a tale of woe, imagination will suffice--
This is a story of hope.
No way to step back in time; trees, plants, flowers now face reality of the altered version of this land,
As there was compassion for this park before the gutting, there remains a dedication to not only salvage, but to take a stand,
Clear out the broken down; re-claim the waterfront for the picnics and kite flying, sunset watchers, star gazers, and nature lovers,
Re-plant with abandon--trees, grasses, flowers, and fauna that will fill in the gaps, as the land slowly and peacefully recovers,
A bright and cheerful playground, longing for the laughter and shrieks of daredevil children, is right on the horizon,
Picnic pavilion, for parties, reunions, children’s groups, and families to sit and enjoy the tranquil interior beauty to lay their eyes on,
Nature center with summer programs, to educate, honor, and embrace the wildlife and plant life within, history around,
Everything in this vision is not only possible, but within our reach and deeply profound,
Within the embrace of the community around it, this park will become a haven for families and the empty space will re-grow,
A new narrative will begin; one of beauty, of restoration, of a new era of moments that create incredible memories—-This I know.
The story of hope has begun.
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Cement Plant Hearing to be held March 13th
The Planning Commission held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 19th and of vital importance to the public is the Commission’s decision to hold a public hearing on March 13, 2019, regarding the zoning request by Elmer’s of Traverse City to construct a concrete batch facility on the old C.H. Smith property. Elmer’s recently purchased the 46-acre site at the corner of Boyne City Road and Maple Grove and will need a special use permit that would be issued by the Zoning Administer if approved by the Planning Commission at the public hearing.
In addition, Elmer’s will need a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to erect a silo 70 feet high. Presently, the township ordinance only permits structures no higher than 50 feet so a variance is needed for a 70-foot structure.
Further, Elmer’s intends to build a 60x80 foot building that will enclose aggregate bins, scales, and conveyors necessary to load sand, stone, and cement through a dust collection system. Cement trucks will process the cement in transit to various building job sites.
During the construction phase, Elmer’s intends to install a temporary portable batch plant so they can start serving cement customers in the area.
If approved, the permanent plant will be installed and operational within 24 months from approval at which time the portable plant will be removed.
Prior to Elmer’s purchasing the property, the Smith family operated a sand and gravel business for decades which was grandfathered in because it preceded the adoption of the township Zoning Ordinance in 1976.
The zoning permit application and site plan are available to the public by contacting Larry Sullivan, Township Zoning Administer at the township hall. Elmer’s has up to 15 days prior to the March 13th public hearing to make changes to the site plan.
Doug McComb, who lives on Maple Grove Road, asked about air quality if the permit is issued. Larry Sullivan stated, “The Township does not have the ability to review air quality. That is a DEQ issue.”
In other business, a representative of Scott Law and other investors withdrew their proposal for a PUD permit to develop the approximately 350 acres at the southeast corner of Boyne City Rd. and Quarterline Road, because they are uncertain that a PUD permit is required for the current plan for their site. Their plans now are to continue going forward with developing private recreational and residential buildings.
Some in the audience speculated that a PUD required placing 50% of the 350 acres into a conservancy and that would not be in the future best interest of the development nor the investors. "It will probably not be a PUD at all," said Dan Barron of Charlevoix, who represented the owners. Larry Sullivan, Zoning Administrator said, “This is the first PUD permit I have seen.”
In other business, Marilyn Moorehead, Chairperson of the Shoreline Protection Sub-Committee, reported that the Committee met with representatives owning a parcel on Lake Charlevoix who are willing to do extensive plantings to protect the shoreline. She reported the owners and representatives were very co-operative. “They did a great job,” she said, “and the committee recommends approval of their site plan.” The motion passed unanimously.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 19th however; the special Public Hearing on Elmer’s permit is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13th.
Hayes Township is currently accepting applicants for a Recording Secretary for our monthly Township meetings. This is a paid position. If you are interested, please contact Clerk Warren Nugent for an application. (231)547-6961
The Sentinel’s next publication will be mailed to your home at the end of April. Between now and then, the Township will be writing and producing their own quar- terly newsletter full of pertinent news and information. The Sentinel will be back in April so that you can continue to have up-to-date information. Many thanks to all who have sent in donations; your generosity and kindness are much appreciated. All donations go toward producing the newspaper. Your Publisher and Editor do not receive a single penny. We donate our time and efforts to the Sentinel, but we do have to pay for printing and postage. You can send donations to The Sentinel, P.O. Box 581, Charlevoix, Mi 49720.
Since October of 2017 I have been writing about our $5.8 million park fiasco, Camp Sea-Gull Boat Launch, but this month I want to switch gears and talk about our Super Mario Supervisor, Ron VanZee.
On his very first try at running for office in Hayes Township, Ron beat his opponent in the August 2016 primary, and in the November general election he won with 98.5% of the vote. For the past 27 months he has been a whirlwind of non-stop activity.
In addition to his Supervisor duties, he is the “Construction Manager” for the township, negotiating with the contractor and engineer on Camp Sea-Gull Park. He also is currently Chairman of the Charlevoix County Planning Commission and is Zoning Administer for Bay Township.
Ron not only chairs the monthly township board meetings, he answers dozens of calls weekly from residents who want answers to their zoning questions, their assessments, when the pot holes in their road will be fixed, why there is no cable on Maple Grove Road or most anywhere in the township, hears complaints about the noise from construction at the park, is asked why no bathrooms at Eastern Ave. Beach, when will I get natural gas, where is my property tax receipt, my neighbors are having a loud party(especially on Lake Charlevoix) and listens to property encroachment reports from residents at the end of Maple Grove Road. On and on….it never ends! I got tired just writing the above sentence!
To the average resident, the multi-tasking would be overwhelming at best. Why? Because not only does Ron handle all these “township” business issues, he runs a large 52 acre horse farm, Maple Ridge Iberian, which cares for 35 horses. Maple Ridge houses a training facility, a large covered arena for year around riding and in addition to that Ron fells his own trees, chops his own firewood, feeds a large outdoor wood boiler, feeds the horses three times daily, leads them from the field to the barn on cold days, mows hay, buys hays and trucks it from Buckley, Michigan and each winter travels to Florida with a load of Michigan Hay to help his wife, Julie, establish her winter teaching program in Wellington, Florida. Now that is a mouth full in anyone’s book!
In addition, Ron and Julie primarily buy, raise, train and sell Dutch Warmblood horses bought in the Netherlands. These amazing animals have been ranked the #1 jumping breed in the world as well as dressage. Several Warmbloods have been Olympic champions.
Oh, and Ron and his wife Julie, are raising 3 children ages, Kaira (13) and twin boys, Jack and Lukas, age 11.
Ron attends to his children’s music interest and their love of sports, attending weekly basketball games and spending Saturdays from 9am to 3pm in a gym somewhere in Northern Michigan.
I’ve been looking at pictures of the new boat launch and fishing pier at Hayes Township’s Camp Sea-Gull Park. It looks sturdy but barren, with the surrounding landscape gouged out and leveled where once cabins and trees and the hillside stood. It looks like a moonscape this winter. Mostly it’s a gigantic change. And change is hard for me especially when it is ill -conceived, ill -reasoned, and ill-financed. Sadly, not one of the 3 trustees who voted for this $1.6 million preservationist’s catastrophe ever spent a night at Camp Sea-Gull, listening to the crickets chirping and the waves lapping just outside the door, or relishing the smell of pines and cedars as they drifted off to sleep. So how, pray tell, would any of them know what to save? All they knew was how to destroy!
I fought hard to preserve the Camp Sea-Gull that Hayes Township purchased with money given because of false promises of a “small” launch and a family park. Well that ship sailed with the last election and now we have an opportunity to protect and restore a badly damaged piece of the Park, and I desperately want that to happen. My desire is wrapped up in memories of what Camp Sea-Gull taught a 10-year-old girl a long time ago about the balance between life in town and life in the woods. And I remember.
It was 1957 and the recession of the ’50s left its mark on Northern Michigan. Most of us “town” kids did not get to go to summer camp, ever. Money for most of our families was tight so such opportunities were non-existent. However most of my townie friends and I were in Girl Scouts and thanks to the generosity of the Camp Sea-Gull owners, we could go to camp, real summer camp, for a week in June each year. The Camp owners let the girls and their adult leaders and volunteers have the run of the whole Camp free of charge for the week right after school got out. It was a ticket straight to Heaven for us locals. There were 10 cabins with baths and showers, one for each Scout Troop (I was a proud Troop 8 member), an arts and crafts building where we could learn to make fruit bowls out of old 78 records. There were canoes and rowboats to use, and a big log-built lodge with a dining room and meeting rooms and a huge fireplace you could stand in, as well as places for staff members to sleep. And everywhere there were trees, trees too numerous to count--oaks, maples, pines, cedars, ash, poplar, all standing guard over a passel of town girls for the first week in June each year. And there was Lake Charlevoix beckoning every day. We were required to slather ourselves in vaseline before going into the water because it was so cold that the adults thought we would last longer if we were all greased up! I really hated that but was willing to comply for a chance to go in at will.
So that Sunday in June of 1957 I stood in line in front of the Clinic Cabin halfway down the hill road on the Lodge/cafeteria building level, with my bed-roll (we couldn’t afford sleeping bags) and suitcase, my extra tennies to wear in the water (rocks like you wouldn’t believe and they are still all there on the lake bottom) my bug stuff and whatever else I might need for a week in the woods on Lake Charlevoix. I learned that Troop 8 would be assigned to Cabin 9. I was nearly beside myself, because it meant a week of swimming, canoeing, playing softball and tennis, campfires, telling ghost stories, staying up late, singing camp songs, short-sheeting the counselors’ beds, hoisting underwear up on the flag pole (we only did that once), forging friendships which I still enjoy today, and learning about serving each other and the environment. Camp Sea-Gull was an oasis for us in the midst of the trials of growing up, a haven in the natural world where we could learn about trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits, ferns, a safe way to blaze trails, the best way to build a fire, to care for the woods, and to enjoy the peace that the quiet of the woods could bring. I looked forward to that week each year for all four years I was in Girl Scouts.
Camp Sea-Gull taught me that everyone needs access to such places, that community service is important, that our best chance for survival is always within an unselfish group and that nature matters. When those places of respite are gone or over-developed we begin to lose parts of ourselves. We lose the peace.