6520 Center Street, PO Box 68
Ellsworth, Michigan 49729
Phone: 231-588-6126
Email: bankstownship@bankstownship.net

July 2019

Banks Township Board Meeting

Monday, July 15, 2019

  1. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Supervisor Thomas Mann. Present were Supervisor Mann, Clerk Donna Heeres, Treasurer Katy Postmus, and Trustee Tom Cooper. Trustee David Rasmussen arrived at 6:05 P.M. Also present: Tina Sundelius, Rick & Wendy Sutherland, Maureen Frey, Andrea Hoeksema, Candace Hoeksema, Mike & Chris McCreary, Kim Hoeksema, Brandie Heeres, Erin Heeres, David Marr, Rick & Kathy Luther, Tracey Allen Johnson, Nathan St. Pierre, Michelle Merrifield, Judy Bradke, Ward St. Pierre, Cindy Unger, Dan Brotom, Al d’Entremont, Alex Busman, Don Miller, Laurie Grear. Supervisor Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the Invocation. Hugh Campbell arrived at 7:15 P.M.
  2. Presentation: Attorney Bryan Graham presented a revised STR Licensing Ordinance proposal and explained why it is changed: State Fireworks laws have changed. The township may wish to enact a fireworks ordinance to supplement the State’s laws.
  3. Public Comment: Kathy Luther, property owner on Timberlane Drive asked when the proposed ordinance would go into effect. (Answer is January 1, 2020, as written, could be amended when adopted.)
  4. Public Comment: Alex Busman, 11060 Atwood Road, commented that the prohibition of uses of property is reflected in lower property values. 60 minutes response time is not enough. Need to balance property rights and privacy.
  5. Public Comment: Michelle Merrifield, Farrell Road, stated she and husband oppose the ordinance in any form. However, if adopted, the 60 minutes response time is too short.
  6. Public Comment: Maureen Frey, Timberlane Drive, asked about the definition of a bedroom under the ordinance. Does it need to conform with building dept regulations and therefore have egress windows? Lack of these windows is a safety issue.
  7. Public Comment: Tracy Johnson, 101 Division, East Jordan, reported he has a house across from him that is a STR and he feels STRs have a positive influence on the community.
  8. Public Comment: Al d’Entremont, Antrim Lane, commented that 60 minutes is too hard to comply with. Fireworks and alcohol at 3 AM are not enforceable by average landlord or local agent and need law enforcement. Opposed to the ordinance due to difficulty of enforcement.
  9. Supervisor Comments: Supervisor Mann commented that representatives of the Township have met with Matt, Erin & Brandie Heeres regarding the motocross track and asked Erin & Brandie to confirm their understanding of the process needed to bring their proposed use into compliance with the zoning ordinance. They confirmed understanding.
  10. Public Comment: Erin Heeres, Byers Road, “We have had two events. Why do we need permits now? How is this different?”
  11. Public Comment: Don Miles, PC Chairman, reported the idea for a course was brought to the PC in public comment only. There is no provision for that activity in the Zoning Ordinance either as a permitted use or a special use.
  12. Public Comment: Tracy Johnson, EJ resident, City Commissioner, snowmobile & ORV participant, stated the races can be a boost to the community. He has faith in the planning process doing the right thing.
  13. Public Comment: David Marr, Miles Road resident, is a motocross rider and these events are family oriented and provide good interaction between generations along with entertainment.
  14. Public Comment: Mike McCreary, White Street resident, inquired how long it will take to get this approved. “Let them continue this year to help them cover the costs of the track while getting permits.”
  15. Public Comment: Chris McCreary, White Street resident, stated “the world is different now, we need to get the kids outside with things like this. What attracts people to come here?”
  16. Public Comment: Nathan St. Pierre, Rex Beach Road resident, stated he is a motocross rider and there are not a lot of places nearby to ride. “Riders spend a lot of money and with a local track, the dollars would remain here” (local).
  17. Public Comment: Alex Busman, Atwood Road resident stated he understands the need to change the rules to allow this use, but it is the property owners’ rights to use their property. He supports the Constitution and personal property rights.
  18. Public Comment: Wendy Sutherland, Byers Road resident and family member of the motocross owners, stated she hunts on the property and the animals that live on the land adapt to the changes. She doesn’t hear noise from her home and the view is camouflaged. She stated the track could be a positive for the economy and that other local businesses will benefit. “The track will attract visitors to the area and other activities to keep the kids here.”
  19. Public Comment: Ward St. Pierre, Colby Drive, stated he attended one event that has been held and that he had had no prior exposure to this type of event. “The participants are athletes, take the sport serious, they are prepared, nice & encouraging to each other.” “this type of individual sports is good, especially for kids who don’t play team sports.”
  20. Public Comment: Chris McCreary, White Street resident, stated there is no skateboarding, 4 wheeling and snowmobile trails locally and she encouraged development of this track to provide recreation for kids.
  21. Public Comment: Michelle Merrifield, Farrell Road, stated her husband and son used to ride motocross. Also, when she & husband were opening a business at their home, there was no need for lawyers as the Board worked with them to make their use compliant with the zoning ordinance. “The Board is good to work with.”
  22. Board Comment: Clerk Heeres addressed the audience stating the Board is not anti-motocross track but rather wants all property owners to follow the rules established by the zoning ordinance.
  23. Public Comment: Nathan St. Pierre, Rex Beach Road, stated a nice track would be great. The zoning restrictions are “crap”.
  24. Minutes: The minutes of the June 17, 2019, regular Board Meeting were presented. MOTION was made by Mann, seconded by Cooper, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED. The minutes of the June 10, 2019, Public Hearing on STRs were presented. MOTION was made by Mann, seconded by Cooper, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  25. Fire Department: Fire Chief Mark Groenink asked for the project at the Atwood Fire Hall to be rescinded for now as the needs have changed. He will meet with Trustee Rasmussen and a contractor and report back to the Board on the revision of the plans. He asked the Board to purchase a membership for the State of Michigan Purchasing Program for $180 per year. This membership will allow him to “shop” for replacement vehicles, equipment, etc. The budget will support this purchase and it was approved. The waterslide that was scheduled as part of Pig Roast, but canceled due to inclement weather, was held July 6 and was enjoyed by many kids.
  26. Township Hall: The refrigerator was not working; repairs were made today. All seems well.
  27. Treasurer’s Report: Tax bills were mailed approximately July 1. Report of incomes and balances was presented by the Treasurer. General Fund Balance: $323,640.50, with $60,000 due from the Fire Fund. Fire Fund Balance: $154,726.57. Liquor Fund: $1,132.11. Roads Fund: $126,463.94. Vehicle Fund: $76,051.59. Grand Total: $682,014.71. Bills represented by the attached list were reviewed for approval for payment. MOTION by Postmus, seconded by Rasmussen, to pay the bills as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  28. Village Report: Hugh Campbell reported on the Village’s application for Recreation Passport Grant to update the tennis & basketball courts. Village has applied for Paddle Antrim grant for a site plan for a universally accessible Kayak launch at the Community Park. The Village adopted a fireworks ordinance to prohibit fireworks within the Village limits on dates/times other than specified under State law. Village website maintenance has recently been changed to ProWeb Design. Wi-Fi has been upgraded at Woodenshoe Campground. Approval has been received for a USDA grant application for a pavilion at the Community Square. The grant application for sewer system is still held up for a letter of support from the Health Dept. Sanitarian. They expect a 50% cost share. As a Redevelopment Ready Community, the Village qualifies for funding of 20% from the State. A radar speed limit sign will be permanently installed at the ballpark. The Farmers’ Market has been going very well with 5-8 vendors and lots of customers.
  29. Zoning Administrator: Dave Muladore reported on progress of blight elimination on Coeling Road, complaint of a motorhome illegally parked in Timberlane Terrace, a cargo container that is in violation of the blight ordinance on Simmons Bluff, many calls with questions on the accessory buildings ordinance amendment, complaint of a camper trailer being used as a residence and rented out long term on Coeling Road.
  30. Planning Commission Update: Trustee Cooper reported on last week’s meeting. Lots of motocross enthusiasts were present. The ordinance amendments for marihuana facilities and ag zoning district regulations were sent to the County Planning Commission for review. The Master Plan was adopted. The PC will address the By Laws at the September meeting. Don Miles, PC Chair, stated that the Marihuana and Ag Zone regulations have not been addressed by the County Planning Commission yet and therefore should not be voted on by the Board at tonight’s meeting. He appreciated the work on the amendments and Master Plan by the PC and Consultant Claire Karner. Supervisor Mann echoed these thoughts and thanked the PC for their thoroughness.
  31. Correspondence: Newsletter from Fleis&Vandenbrink with article on Land Division policies related to new law requiring recording of surveys and unintended consequences if the land division is not approved. Sheriff’s Report of 911 calls was shared. (75 calls in June.) Antrim Conservation District newsletter: article on Chain of Lakes Flooding, Produce Safety Rule, Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days in Bellaire (August 3) & Mancelona (September 14). L-4029 for 2019 was completed and returned to Equalization Office. NLEA member investment letter was shared; joint membership with the Village of Ellsworth continues.
  32. Township Park: Repairs have been completed and drain installed. Grass is growing well thanks to Fire Dept’s watering of the area. Brian is working to repair the poles of the grills as they are rusting through. Heidi Shaffer has given permission to remove the silt fence. Brian will provide an estimate for removal of the steps and move the split rail fence to that area. Beach access would be at south end (old launch area) and north end beach grass area. The paint on the concrete is all but gone. Brian will power wash and prepare for a repainting. Dog Owners must clean up after their pets! Discussed ways to get people to be more considerate.
  33. Atwood Catholic Cemetery: The Deed from the Gaylord Diocese has been received and registered at the County Register of Deeds Office. To be sent to the Township after registration is completed.
  34. Ordinance #2 of 2019: Accessory Buildings: MOTION by Rasmussen, seconded by Mann, to adopt this ordinance. MOTION CARRIED. Ordinance will become effective 8 days after publication. (August 2, 2019) Ordinances #3 & #4 will be acted on following County Planning Commission Review.
  35. Master Plan: The Board noted that the Planning Commission adopted the revised Master Plan of 2019.
  36. July Board of Review: Set for 4 PM on July 16.
  37. Lot Line Adjustment/Parcel Division application: Assessor, Zoning Administrator have reviewed the application of Larry Hirschfield. Clerk advised the Board that the proposed resultant parcel will not be compliant with zoning regulations of 150ft lot on Wilson Lake. ZA will contact the applicant and offer suggestions to accomplish what the applicant wishes.
  38. Roads: Supervisor will contact the Roads Committee to meet & prioritize future road work. It was reported that Lore Road has huge potholes, Scott Road needs attention. Supervisor reported Essex Road is to be resurfaced from Ellsworth to US 31 next year. He will contact ACRC to see if they can fix the intersection of Essex Road and Church Road when they resurface Church Road this year. No word from Central Lake Township on cost sharing for improvements to Bennett Hill Road.
  39. Public Comment: David Rasmussen commented on parking on US 31 north of Atwood Road and asked Officer John Morris to be observant for violations there.
  40. Public Comment: Don Miles thanked the Board for the opportunity to attend the Planning & Zoning Retreat at Shanty Creek Recently. He suggested that using Crown Vetch to hold the soil at the Township Park would be more successful than grass seed.
  41. Public Comment: Alex Busman asked what did the new ordinance cover. He was provided a copy of the ordinance.
  42. Next meeting Monday, August 19 at 6 PM.
  43. The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna L. Heeres, Banks Township Clerk