Clare approves amendments

May 18, 2017

By Pat Maurer

In two separate actions Monday evening, the Clare City Commission approved a “clean up” of wording on the City’s zoning ordinance and approved a change that will allow multiple marijuana facilities on the same industrial zoned property in the City as long as they have the same owner.

The approval was originally scheduled as one action, but changed to clarify the multiple use. Mayor Pro-tem Jean McConnell said she was confused about whether the City would be liable for taxes collected from a marijuana facility.

Both City Manager Ken Hibl and Treasurer Steven Kingsbury assured her that although marijuana facilities were prohibited from Federal bank uses, they could still pay taxes in cash as many other property owners in the City already do. “We are not responsible for where the payments come from,” Kingsbury said.

As far as allowing multiple facilities on the same property, Hibl said, “We already do allow that for other property owners.”
Hibl said the Planning Commission would be considering an application for a grow facility in an existing building in the south Industrial Park.
In another matter the Commission approved a property donation of the parking area (.4 acres) at the corner of Third Street and McEwan (the old Consumers location) from NORTH TEN with stipulations that the City pay for an environmental study, deed transfer, title insurance and legal services, a cost of approximate cost of $2,500.

The other condition is, according to the agreement that, “This donation is on the condition that the CITY allocate the property for a parking lot and green space ‘gateway’ to the City of Clare. The “gateway” into the City of Clare and/or green space will be designed within the CITY’S discretion and construction commenced within three (3) years after the property is donated. If for any reason CITY cannot complete the parking lot/gateway project before five (5) years have elapsed, the property will revert to NORTH TEN.

Hibl estimated that would cost the City “in the neighborhood of $150 to $200,000 and that funds could be raised to cover those costs similar to the Clare Depot project.

Commissioners discussed the option of using the property for a park with walkways and bathrooms because of its proximity to the Rail Trail, rather than as additional downtown parking. Hibl said with the board’s approval he would look into developing a plan for the property.

The formation of a Clare Beautification Committee was next up on the agenda. Hibl reported that a Clare resident had recommended that “the City Commission establish a formal City-wide beautification program and establish and appoint a committee to oversee and manage the program. “I believe the suggested program has significant merit and could prove to be a catalyst for improving the appearance and pride in in many of our residential and business neighborhoods for what should be a relatively insignificant cost.” He said, “There is no immediate direct fiscal impact to the City.”

The Commission thought the project was a good idea and gave Hibl the go ahead to develop the framework for the program by October 1.

Another unique first for the City was a request from James Crawford to operate a non-motorized Pedi-Cab business inside the City of Clare. Crawford said his inspiration to develop the service was to give senior and handicapped persons a chance to enjoy a ride on the rail-trail like others can. He said he has the service in Mt. Pleasant and Alma.

The Commission approved the permit/license for the new service.

Other business at the City meeting included:

*Approval of a permit for the Summerfest fireworks to be held June 23 from the island in Shamrock Lake.

*Approval of a low bid of $199,240 from Robbin Harsh Excavating for construction/earth moving work in the South Recreation Complex. The Commission approved up to $241,990, which would include a seeding bid of $42,750 from Murin Company of Freeland.
*Approval of a quote for the South Recreation Complex Irrigation system of $32,000 from Thielen Turf of Mt. Pleasant.

*Approval of an Engineering Services Agreement for the Clare Municipal Airport Taxiway project. The cost for the services is $111,395.60 and the City’s cost will be five percent or $5,569.70.

*The appointment of Martin Eltzroth to the Airport Advisory Board for three years, replacing Jim Allen, and reappointment of Roger Hicks for another three years to that board.

*The City Manager’s report which included notification of three open House events: The Blind Tiger (formerly Brewin’ on McEwan) on May 19 at 11 a.m.; Rhythm Studios on May 21 at 1 p.m. and ABC (Advanced Battery Concepts) on May 31 from 4 to 7 p.m.

A report from new County Clerk Lori Martin outlining accomplishments and goals including new election equipment which will be implemented in November.

*The payment of bills totaling $164,389.47.

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