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

June 2019

Banks Township Board Meeting

Monday, June 17, 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. Absent Trustee David Rasmussen. Also present: Julie Waterman, Tina Sundelius, Robert & Cathy Russell, Sheriff Dan Bean, Deputy Skyler Skrobeck and Canine Deputy Bricko, Rick Luther, Jeff Lipshaw, Erin Heeres, Luke Heeres, Dennis B. Snarey, Tom Bronson, Laura Reid Edwards, Phil Edwards, Beth Bentley, Heidi Cooper, Judy Bradke. Supervisor Mann led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the Invocation.
  2. Public Comment: Rick Luther, property owner on Timberlane Drive made comments comparing the seat belt law to STR rules & regulations. Landlords & Neighbors have the same dread: disturbance during the night. Most renters are considerate, but we all fear the ones who are not. Appreciate work of the Board on this issue.
  3. Public Comment: Cathy Russell, 10033 Church Road, owner of Torch Valley Farm, commented on motocross track recently installed nearby. Asked for enforcement of zoning regulations specifically uses in Ag district, including uses allowed with special approvals, of which racetracks are not listed. Other areas of Michigan have not allowed racetracks in Ag districts and court decisions have supported them. If the Township doesn’t enforce the zoning ordinances, they don’t mean anything. The laws make it clear that this is an Ag area and the Township has the responsibility to enforce the laws. “I can’t imagine anything worse than having our beautiful township invaded by thousands of motocross fans.”
  4. Public Comment: Phil Edwards, Church Road neighbor to the track, commented that he is disappointed on the lack of notice of this change of use and the owners couldn’t have picked a worse place. The pond to the southeast of the track is protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Initially, he was willing to compromise on two events per year but now has changed his mind as his “quality of life is being threatened.” He would like to see the motocross stopped and the ground restored. Additionally, something was buried at the end of the pond and he has concerns it may be hazardous.
  5. Public Comment: Dennis Snarey, 10634 Skyline Drive, Little Torch Lake Subdivision, commented he does not want to live close to a racetrack. The area “should be quiet and peaceful.”
  6. Public Comment: Erin Heeres, co-owner of the motocross track, is disappointed that the neighbors didn’t say a word sooner. “We don’t want to destroy anyone’s tranquility.”
  7. Public Comment: Heidi Cooper, 11690 Essex Road, commented on the Public Hearing on STRs last week and stated it was well run. She is not opposed to having the ordinance as it is good to have guidelines but does have concern with the one-hour response time to complaints. She stated she has applied for a temporary license from the Health Department for a campground event on August 2-4. Music will only be on Saturday with a “hard close” at midnight for this family friendly event.
  8. Public Comment: Judy Bradke, Lore Trail resident, also thanked the Board for the Public Hearing last week and stated she is impressed with the number of landlords who do a good job with STRs. “They won’t be affected as they already do a good job.” “The 24/7 issue concerns mostly the non-present owners.”
  9. Supervisor Comments: Supervisor Mann again suggested the Sheriff’s office be contacted with problems.
  10. Public Comment: Deputy Skyler Skrobeck and Canine Deputy Bricko were introduced and gave demonstration and information on the dog’s duties: narcotics searches, tracks missing people, article searches, assist other officers in apprehension of suspects. He asked if he and the dog might have access to the township hall at night for training purposes. The Board will consider this request. The Sheriff stated the dog was purchased with endowment funds & insurance monies after the previous dog was injured and died.
  11. Public Comment: Closed at 6:42 PM.
  12. Minutes: The minutes of the May 20, 2019, regular Board Meeting were presented. MOTION was made by Mann, seconded by Cooper, to approve the minutes as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  13. Sheriff Bean: Sheriff’s report of 911 calls for May was shared. There were 73 calls in May; 4 were medical and 23 were traffic stops. A brochure for Smart911 was shared. Personnel needs were reported. The Dept is accepting donations for the dog’s care and training. Donations should be tagged for the Canine Program.
  14. Village Update: Minutes of the June 10 meeting were shared: Sidewalks are to be repaired and the campground will have new Wi-Fi this week.
  15. Pig Roast: The annual event was held this weekend. Kudos to the committee that worked so hard and battled the weather! Tom Cooper, Tina Sundelius, Lynn Spearing, Betsy Randall, Christina Charbonneau, Marci Potter, Amanda Terryberry, Jen Russell and many others.
  16. Farmers Market: Julie Waterman reported the vendors and offerings are picking up as are the customers!
  17. Township Hall: Clerk reported a report of a person falling on the sidewalk/front step on May 13. She has been trying to contact her via social media (that is how it was reported). So far, has not been able to get a response. Discussion regarding potential use of the Township Hall for events during Pig Roast was discussed. With the weather this year, one event was moved inside and potentially the meal could have been served inside as well. Consensus was the building and equipment could be used on a last-minute basis for the events as deemed appropriate by the committee at no charge to the event. Fund raisers would be asked to pay on the usual rate scale.
  18. Treasurer’s Report: Tax bills will be mailed approximately July 1. Report of incomes and balances was presented by the Treasurer. General Fund Balance: $320,485.18. Fire Fund Balance: $140,968.21. Liquor Fund: $1,130.02. Roads Fund: $126,398.12. Vehicle Fund: $75,917.60. Grand Total: $664,899.13. Bills represented by the attached list were reviewed for approval for payment. MOTION by Heeres, seconded by Postmus, to pay the bills as presented. MOTION CARRIED.
  19. Fire Department: Lawn care at Ellsworth Fire Hall was discussed. Consensus to ask Brian Darrah to begin mowing this yard in addition to the contract parcels. The Board expressed appreciation to John Hastings for doing the lawn care at the Ellsworth FD for many years.
  20. Zoning Administrator Report: David Muladore reported on a pending permit for a new sign for a business in Atwood; permits issued for a demo, a woodshed, and a garage; his attempts to meet with owner of new racetrack that was built without permits. Legal counsel will be contacted about next steps. He is investigating complaints on illegal camping, blight issues, motorhome on a residential parcel in a subdivision. Some progress on blight cleanup.
  21. Planning Commission: Trustee Cooper reported a short meeting was held last week. PC will hold off on STR zoning regulations until the Board makes a decision on the PPO version. A Public Hearing is scheduled for July 9 to hear comments on Ag district parcel sizes, marijuana regulations, and Master Plan update. Also, the Bylaws will be reviewed and updated at that meeting. The MTA Planning & Zoning retreat is scheduled for July 9 & 10 at Shanty Creek. Don Miles will attend this training. Don will be out of town for the August 13 meeting and Rick Diebold will chair the meeting.
  22. Ambulance Authority: Julie Waterman reported the Ambulance Authority Board will meeting June 18.
  23. DDA: Julie Waterman reported Farm Markets have been held weekly and vendors are satisfied with sales. Next meeting is June 24.
  24. Breezeway Task Force: Clerk Heeres reported new signs have been approved and the committee hopes to have them available to be installed this summer.
  25. Correspondence: Letters from: Fireworks Committee regarding schedule for July 5 at 10:30 pm with Freedom Salute beginning at 5:15 pm; Soil Erosion Permit & DEQ Permit for shoreline stabilization at 8928 Main Street in Ellsworth/Ellsworth Lake; Letter from Janell Bates regarding STRs & in opposition to the licensing proposal; Bill for Fire Dept services to Norwood Township was shared; ACRC letter regarding brine for gravel roads is no longer available free of charge and dust control products will now need to be purchased. One application will be done this year; additional applications will require townships or others to cover the cost of the materials. Vanessa Le notified the Township of her plans to resign as webmaster effective June 30 due to life changes. The Board thanked her for her services.
  26. Public Hearing on STRs: Supervisor gave summary of comments and widely varying opinions of residents and business owners. The Board will review all comments and discuss at the next meeting.
  27. Township Park Repairs: Have not been started yet due to extreme amount of standing water. Discussed contacting neighbor to the north regarding discharge of water into the ditch that is contributing to the overload of water in the park. Board agreed this should be done.
  28. Lakeshore Drive: Treasurer Postmus reports the road is in pretty good shape this summer.
  29. Atwood Fire Hall: Proposal from BD Services to install 7” diameter Yellow Guardian Safety Bollard Covers to the 9 existing bollards located at the fire hall at a cost of $685. Estimate to prime & paint them is $475 plus materials. MOTION by Cooper, seconded by Postmus, to approve the proposal for the bollards. MOTION CARRIED.
  30. Ordinance #2 of 2019: Accessory Buildings: Action tabled for PC review of recommendations by the Antrim County PC per request of Trustee & PC member Cooper.
  31. Roads: Supervisor will contact the Roads Committee to meet & prioritize future road work.
  32. Banks Township Historical Society: Clerk reported contact from several members of the BTHS regarding repair/replacement of the front steps, replacement of front door and possible removal of the front “garden” area. However, a solid plan has yet to be developed by the group for presentation to the Board.
  33. Dunn’s/Brady’s Business Systems: Updated maintenance agreement was received with new ownership of the business. The minimum charge per machine is $300 per year and is based upon usage. MOTION by Postmus, seconded by Mann, to approve this contract and authorize the Clerk to sign it. MOTION CARRIED.
  34. Citizen of the Year: Congratulations to Pastor Christopher Wallace on his selection as this year’s Citizen of the Year for Banks Township. A Special tribute from State’s officials and the Township was presented at the Pig Roast.
  35. Public Comment: There was none.
  36. Next meeting Monday, July 15 at 6 PM. Public Hearings on Ag District Parcel Sizes, Marijuana Regulations, and Master Plan Update by the Planning Commission on Tuesday, July 9 at 6 PM.
  37. The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna L. Heeres, Banks Township Clerk