State Grantors may release funds if Hayes opens Camp Sea-Gull in stages

Camp Sea Gull orange fencing

Halloween came early to Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull this year as many rolls or orange safety fence went up along and around all hazardous areas of the Park. The fencing will remain until funding is secured to remedy the situation.

Supervisor Ron VanZee reported to the Board and the public at the regular September Board meeting on September 9, that the State of Michigan grantors confirmed by email that if Hayes Township opens Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull in safe stages beginning with the top half of the Park, the grantors may release the rest of state grant monies (approximately $107,000) to Hayes Township. The Park has remained closed all summer because of infrastructure and safety issues cited by the Township’s liability insurance risk assessor and upon the advice of Township attorney Bryan Graham. Graham has cautioned the Board that if it opens the Park without attending to the cited safety issues, each Board member is personally liable for any damage or harm to those visiting the Park.

Van Zee and the rest of the Board stated emphatically at the meeting that they all want the Park opened as soon as possible. They were responding to oft-repeated criticisms and on-going pressure and accusations of intentional delay in opening the Park from Paul Hoadley and Bill Henne during the public comment sections of the meeting. However the Board insisted that the Park remain closed until it is certain that the Park is as safe as it can be and will take no chances. The risk assessor will have to agree that the Board has done enough.

Subsequently the Board spent most of its time at the meeting setting priorities and staging the necessary tasks to be completed in order to get the Park open and safe. The Board noted that timelines for completion of these three stages are dependent upon approval from the Township’s insurance risk assessor and of course finances. They defined three stages.

Stage One, which will take 2-3 weeks, is opening the Park from the Boyne City Road to the top of the ridge, where the top level safety fence has been installed and is finished. The tasks to be completed before the top of the Park is opened include fencing off the old playground area until it can be cleared, Install a gate to block road access to the lower park area, lock the electrical panel by the old cabins on the top side, bury exposed electrical lines, bring in a port-a-potty, and install the Park entrance sign.

Stage Two involves opening the lower half of the Park including the fishing pier, in 45 days, and puts the possible opening at the second or third week of October. The Board believes it will take this long to complete the following list of tasks.

Parkluck Event makes friends out of neighbors, declared a success

Camp Sea Parkluck banner

Sunday, August 25 dawned sunny and breezy, a perfect day for an annual celebration at the Hayes Township Hall (Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull is still closed). Volunteers had scrubbed and hauled canoes and benches for the silent auction, and others bravely put up a large pavilion tent with absolutely no instructions! The tent provided shade for those who wanted to eat outside and listen to the Dorothy Gerber Strings, a local strings education group to which Jack and Luke VanZee belong. Charlie Whittoff, a Hayes resident, lent his blues/rock talent to the occasion as well.

Attendees dined on grilled-to-perfection hot dogs, fresh sweet corn, and a variety of pot luck dishes fit for a king. Approximately 90 folks attended throughout the afternoon.

Katy Hill put together an informative and interesting slide show featuring all the Township Parks and guests stuck post-it notes on the current drawing of the Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull stating their opinions regarding what we should provide there. There were no surprises; they still want beach access, playground areas, handicapped access to the water, and restrooms! They added rustic camping to their list of suggestions.

The silent auction offered six Camp Sea-Gull canoes filled with treasures from the storage barn, benches from the original dining hall and arts buildings, picnic tables, signs, and more. The auction netted over $4,300 for the Park, due to some generous anonymous donors. The Board also received a John Deer tractor and a regulation volleyball net from others. Supervisor VanZee said, “We made more money than the big auction at Camp Sea-Gull a few years ago!”

The Parks and Recreation Committee reports that they have learned quite a bit about planning and running an annual celebration and have already begun to plan for next year’s event to be held at Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull. Special thanks go to the Tent Crew: Bob Jess, Ron VanZee, Matt Cunningham, Tom Cunningham, Gary Janz, Abby Cunningham, Jack VanZee, Luke VanZee, and Kaira VanZee.
The Park and Rec Committee and additional volunteers went above and beyond. Thanks to Paul Zardus, Susan Pyke, Michelle Biddick, Lisa Kuebler, Katy Hill, Brandon Hill, Julie Collard, Warren Nugent, Mary Nugent, Kristin Baranski, Dee Janz, Jennifer Cunningham, Alessandra Jess, Sophie Herboleshiemer, and Cris Cunningham.

Camp Sea Gull Parkluck footer

Revising the Master Plan

by ROY GRIFFITTS, Chair of the Hayes Township Planning Commission
According to the Michigan Planning and Enabling Act, as amended in 2008, the Planning Commission is mandated to make and approve a master plan as a guide for future growth and development. This plan must address land use and infrastructure and should project these 20 or more years into the future. The final master plan is approved by the township Board of Trustees. The master plan must be updated every 5 years. The Planning Commission is currently involved in updating the 2013 Master Plan which it hopes to have completed and adopted in 2019.

This plan serves as the basis for developing zoning regulations and amendments to the current Zoning Ordinance, for land use in the township. The goal of the master plan is to establish compatible land uses, protect natural resources and provide guidance for any citizens who wish to develop their property in a manner consistent with the character of the township. It is important that the resulting Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance reflect a balance of growth and community character. To accomplish this, the master plan must include land uses for agriculture, residences of differing sizes and type as well as for commerce, industry, recreation, forests, woodlots, open spaces, wildlife refuges, and public buildings and facilities. The plan must also consider conservation of the soil, waterways and lakefront areas.

The first step made by the Planning Commission was to commission a survey of the township views on important issues. The firm Beckett and Raeder, a landscape architecture, planning, engineering and environmental firm was hired to assist in developing the survey and analyzing the results. The final report contains answers to specific questions as well as the additional comments provided by some of those surveyed. This data was compiled in the analysis which will help to guide the Planning Commission in developing this Master Plan. With the help of Beckett and Raeder staff, the Planning Commission also reviewed the current land use map in the current Zoning Ordinance to see what exactly has changed in the township in terms of land use and where it is most likely to change in the next 5 years. This information is combined with other sources of information to help in forming the draft of the plan.

Once the Planning Commission has a comprehensive draft of the Master Plan, we will be holding several open houses to gather community feedback on the draft. We cannot set the dates yet, but people in the township will be notified in ample time to attend and put in their “2 cents” on the draft plan. Before the adoption of the Master Plan, the feedback and comments from the township wide open houses will be reviewed and used for final input into the Master Plan and a public hearing will be held prior to it being approved first by the Planning Commission and then by the Board of Trustees.

The Master Plan process is also part of a broader effort in the state to share and coordinate experiences and issues common to many. To that end, the draft plan is shared with neighboring townships, local governments, and the Charlevoix County Planning Commission for feedback and comments. Recognizing the shared projects and interdependence we have with our neighboring townships creates the opportunity for meaningful joint goal setting on projects that benefit us all.
Editor’s Note: The survey Mr. Griffitts refers to in the above article can be found on the website or at the Hayes Township Hall, Corner of Burgess and Old US 31, Charlevoix Mi 49720

Camp Sea Gull Launch Fence

The edge of the cliff at the top of the launch excavation has now been completely fenced of with a rustic rail fence with dark green wire mesh behind designed to keep both people and pets from accidental falls. See the chart to the right for a complete summary of the consulting engineers’ recommendations and costs.

BRI Report

Beckett & Raeder Cost Summary taken from the July 19, 2019 Project Memorandum to the Hayes Township Board of Trustees:

As part of the Sentinel’s on-going interest in fiancial transparency in Hayes Township government, we are publishing the summary cost sheet from the Beckett & Raeder Consultant’s report, released to the public by the Hayes Board on August 12, 2019. The 28 page report goes into detail as to what the Board must do to make Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull as safe as possible to open for the public. The complete report can be found on the website and on the Hayes Township Sentinel’s Facebook page. Keep this summary sheet handy, along with the budget sheets we published last issue and refer to them often. You can see the fund raising challenges we face here.

Hayes 2019 Meeting Dates

October 7, 5:30 Park and Rec
October 14, 7pm Board
October 15, 7pm Planning Com

November 6, 7pm Park and Rec
November 11, 7pm Board
November 19, 7pm Planning Com

December 4, 7pm Park and Rec
December 9, 7pm Board
December 17, 7pm Planning Com

Opinions Header

Change Orders and Safety Measures Wiped Out Contingency Funds

Have you ever tried to clean out an old abandoned shed, or a musty basement and had to first knock down, sweep away, and clear your face of those sticky, stubborn, gray spider webs that can fill an old room or niche? It can give me the shivers, and easily distract me from what I started to do which was to clear a space, and send me off cursing! But the cobwebs have to go in order to get things cleaned out and ready for progress.

In the same way, the Board of Trustees has to deal with the tangled cobwebs of misinformation that have gotten in the way of making a clean move forward to get Hayes Township Park Camp Sea-Gull moving forward and finished-for-now, and to clean up the gray, sticky, opaque bookkeeping they found when they achieved a like-minded majority after the recall election.
Now that the hard work has begun in earnest to finance and finish Camp Sea-Gull and the accounts are all straightened out (monies that were restricted have been put in their proper places), we can all see more clearly what the task at hand is.

One of the issues that has been coming up repeatedly at monthly board meetings is that the “contingency fund” allocated for unforeseen but necessary items when the plans were made (we had at least 23) and would cover the expenses of installing the safety requirements for the boat launch and park.

Contingency funds are set up for construction projects typically at a rate of 10-20% of the contract, and then added to the contracted amount on top of the engineer’s estimate. In the case of Phase 1 of Camp Sea-Gull, the Board set aside $71,636.18 which is 5% of $1,432,723.55 making the total contract $1,572.980.86.

There has been an ongoing misunderstanding about how much is left in the contingency fund and so Clerk Warren Nugent has prepared the following chart showing exactly what has been spent so far and what the Board has pared down from the Beckett & Raeder list of priorities to do by the spring of 2020. You will see that the contingency fund is in the hole to the tune of $69,009.63 and the Board will have to make up the difference out of Township reserve funds if grant funding does not come through. These figures are all taken directly out of the books and can be verified in the accounting program and the checkbook.
These charts represent the bare bones financial facts that the Township has to deal with in the immediate future. In total we have spent almost twice what was projected for the contingency on this project. In addition we paid for a mistake in road design and we paid to re-connect both electricity and water to the host house when it was cut by the contractor. In this writer’s opinion, the project engineer is responsible for reimbursing the Township for those mistakes. With no certain grant funds available, we had to go to into our reserve funds.

Then there is the issue of the “Additional Unplanned Cost Items.” These are all logical safety and environmental issues that should have been included in the original plan. If you know you are digging in shale (proper borings would indicate that) then you might want to do some more investigating before removing twice as much hillside as planned to get the launch in. You could take plenty of time to create a plan (#24 or 25) to accommodate a shale wall, do the research, include a fence at the top of the cliff—not rush to dig at any cost. The $95,325 to mitigate a slip-and-slide pedestrian walkway, railings, fences, and fixing non-functioning rain gardens will again eat deeply into our reserve funds.

So the cobwebs are thick and sticky and the Hayes Board has to clear them away at every meeting. But they have not given up and kudos to the Board, and to all the volunteers who are brainstorming and working to get this park in shape. The Supervisor and Clerk will have had another conference call with the state grantors by the time you read this and hopefully the grantors will accept the Board’s three stage park opening plan. We are moving forward.

Meanwhile the Parks and Rec Committee is looking at other grants to help us down the road to fund picnic areas, pavilions, sports areas, an interpretive center, and real running water restrooms!
The Hayes Board remains committed to fixing and restoring the park without proposing a millage. So we need all hands on deck when it comes to thinking, imagining, fundraising, and preparing for the future here in Hayes Township. And we need you to have the facts, not some deceptive sticky web clouding your eyesight. The next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee is October 2, at 5:30pm at the Township Hall and the next regular BOT meeting is at 7pm October 14, at the Township Hall. Mark your calendars and plan to participate.

Phase 1 Contingency Allowance