Calumet Village Council adds members
By GRAHAM JAEHNIG
CALUMET — Village resident and business owner Pete Hahn was appointed to the Village Planning Commission at the regular January Village Council meeting last Tuesday. Former member Chris Green was also re-appointed, in spite of a bitter objection from Trustee Roxanne King, ending a months-long shortage of commission members, a shortage that had left the commission unable to function properly.
Colleen Kobe, planning commission chairwoman, read aloud an email she had earlier sent to the council members, in which she told them that the planning commission is in great need of additional members.
“We are allowed up to five members, but only have three, which is barely a quorum,” she said in the email. “We may have either a new member from the village, or elsewhere, or two new members from the village.”
Kobe said that announcements asking for volunteers have been posted on the door of the Calumet Theatre, and on the village website, for months, but had brought no interested parties.
She told the council that it is difficult enough to get vote passed and business conducted when there are five people on the commission, but “to share the load, but with three, it is a bit of a burden.”
Village President Brian Abramson at the Dec. 15, 2020, regular council meeting had nominated lifelong resident, historian, local history author, and former trustee, Peggy Germain, to a seat on the planning commission, after she had submitted a letter of interest along with a request to join the commission. He also nominated Chris Green, who had previously sat on the commission, but his appointment was blocked by King. According to the December council meeting minutes, however, because Kobe was absent from that meeting, she was not aware of King’s objections, which was reflected in Kobe’s email.
“Chris has served on the Planning Commission for the three years I have been chair,” Kobe’s email stated. “He’s proved very valuable from the start. He knows about processes, he has an excellent memory for details, and he’s a hard worker. He knows where to look to find regulations that I don’t even know about — yet — because I am still learning, too.
“I know Chris’ re-appointment was blocked at the Dec. 16, 2020, meeting,” the email stated. “I don’t know exactly what the objections to his appointment were, and frankly I don’t care. I do ask that those of you who declined to second, or who voted no, to set aside your objections for the benefit of the village. Reconsider your vote. The PC needs more experienced members with his skill set.”
When Green was again nominated, King again objected, saying that in her opinion, Green wants Calumet to be a historic village.
“He does not want it to be a modern village with a historic overlay. He wants — well -that’s my impression,” she said. “And that is not what the village of Calumet needs. The village of Calumet needs people who are going to guide Calumet into the 21st century strong and profitably, not as a historic theme park.”
She denied objecting to Green because he was opposed to marijuana in the village. That, she said, had nothing to do with her objections.
She also stated that will continue to oppose Chris Green.
“In terms of Peggy German,” she went on, “Peggy Germain went on a rant when I asked her why she thought she would be a good member of the planning commission. She never did answer that question. I’m done.”
Germain officially withdrew her letter of interest and request to join the planning commission after she was, as one attendee at the meeting said, treated very unfairly by one of the council members.
In spite of objections from King, however, Green was re-appointed, with King’s being the sole dissenting vote.
Hahn was also appointed.
With a full membership now, said Village Manager Caleb Katz, the Zoning Ordinance overhaul, and the passage of Ordinance 153 should move forward smoothly and quickly.