Board approves access review

MARQUETTE — Chocolay Township officials will conduct a comprehensive review of its ordinances.

The Chocolay Township Board unanimously approved a motion Monday to form an ad-hoc committee to review the bulk of 28 existing ordinances for inconsistencies and language issues.

The committee — consisting of two members of the township board, the township supervisor and two planning commission members — will meet with township staff, including the police chief, township manager and the township planner, on a monthly basis to go over a few ordinances at a time.

Township Supervisor Richard Bohjanen brought up the issue during his monthly report, citing inconsistencies and other potential issues.

“Some of which have developed because of changing times, and some of which are technical errors in design of the ordinances,” Bohjanen said.

The planning commission has set review of the existing ordinances as a top priority, he said.

In the past, Bohjanen said, the board has discussed hiring a professional consultant to review the ordinances and make recommendations.

“The problem with that is that we don’t really know what we want our ordinances to say for sure and we don’t necessarily want an outsider making plans for those,” Bohjanen said.

Bohjanen said if two or three of the ordinances were reviewed each month by the committee, and recommendations were made regarding possible amendments, elimination or the creation of a new ordinances, the board could decide how to proceed from there.

“The budget process for paying for a consultant would not involve the year 2018,” Bohjanen said. “But making decisions on that could.”

The board also approved the first reading of a mixed-use overlay zoning ordinance, as well as the first reading of a noise ordinance.

Chocolay Township Planning Director Dale Throenle said the purpose of the mixed-use overlay district is to permit a mix of residential and commercial uses along a designated corridor from the Welcome Center on U.S. 41 South to the intersection of U.S. 41 South and M-28. The primary goal is to attract small and medium-sized businesses to the corridor, he said.

“The intent here in this overlay district is not to develop strip malls,” Throenle said. “The overall intent here is to allow residents to have businesses on the same property and vice versa. The concept is old-school from the standpoint of ‘I have a store and I live on the premises.'”

The mixed-use overlay district would include identified parcels from the northwest boundary of the township on U.S. 41 to the intersection of U.S. 41 and M-28; parcels south of the intersection of U.S. 41 and M-28 for about a quarter mile; parcels on the north end of Cherry Creek Road from the intersection of U.S. 41 and M-28 for about a quarter mile; and parcels east of the intersection of U.S. 41 South and M-28 East for around a half mile.

The new noise ordinance, if approved, would repeal and replace the township’s existing one, which was enacted in 1988.

The ordinance will “remove conflict with modern practices.”

The use of fireworks within the township is not addressed in the proposed noise ordinance. A separate fireworks ordinance is being considered by the planning commission, which will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday on the issue, Throenle said.

The township board will hear a second reading of the mixed-use overlay district ordinance and the noise ordinance on March 12.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.