Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘WTFF (What the Frankfort)’ Category

Guest Column: Electric Skateboard Debate Ramps Up

In Activism, Breaking, Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Politics, Public Safety, Tech, Transportation, WTFF (What the Frankfort) on July 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Please help stop Frankfort City Council’s ongoing effort to create an ordinance banning electric skateboards citywide.

By Carolyn Thayer

July 14, 2017

I’m asking for your help to spread the news about the Frankfort City Council’s ongoing effort to create an ordinance banning electric skateboards citywide based on the potential for a public safety problem.

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Residential Solar, Residential Care

In Green Elbertians, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, WTFF (What the Frankfort) on March 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm

CITY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING, FRANKFORT—Jim Barnes of 823 James Street needs to submit drawings showing his plan for the solar panel array he intends to mount on his garage to the Frankfort City Planning Commission, plans that demonstrate adequate steps taken to reduce the chance that someone walking through his yard will bang their head on the structure. The commission expressed a general feeling of favor toward the project. Commission member Pat Storrer remarked: “I’m glad you’re doing this.” Josh Mills said permission could be granted on the basis of institutional use provisions within the existing ordinance despite the moratorium on alternative energy projects in the city. The moratorium continues, and each type of alternative energy will be considered separately, with solar energy being the first under consideration, Chairman Bruce Ogilvie said. The commission has some concerns about batteries and their storage, among other potential hazardous unknowns with the various technologies. Since Barnes’s installation will be grid tied and will not require batteries to store the generated power, the commission seemed to feel comfortable entertaining approval of his project given appropriate drawings and regular county building and electrical permits.

Jim Barnes describes his residential solar project to the Frankfort Planning Commission.

Jim Barnes describes his residential solar project to the Frankfort Planning Commission.

In other news, Ogilvie was reeappointed chair, and submitted his 8 page draft of a proposed medical marijuana ordinance (see below, obtained with permission). The board will review the ordinance as will the city attorney; it will be made available to the public ahead of a public hearing.

The commission also approved architect Jordan London’s site plan for the new Maples facility, provided the wall separating the facility from its neighbors to the east be extended, and that it be attractive. The commission expressed a preference for dark-skies-compliant lighting (which is promised) and native species in the plantings. The zoning board of appeals is scheduled to meet on the 19th to consider a variance related to the parking area.

Placement of MDOT-ordered sidewalks on the east side of town was discussed, with the commission expressing a desire to do whatever possible to prevent MDOT from removing any maple trees along 11th Street in the process, including possibly suggesting the sidewalk be installed only on the east side of 11th, along the fence beside the bleachers.

Josh Mills mentioned the possibility of a webcam on the lighthouse that would provide live information on lake conditions on the home page of the Frankfort Wi-Fi portal set to launch this summer.—Emily Votruba

Draft Frankfort Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Proposed Downtown Development Authority Would Sequester Funds for Improvements to Entice New Businesses

In Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Politics, WTFF (What the Frankfort) on January 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm

FRANKFORT CITY HALL—Frankfort City Council held a public hearing this evening on its proposed Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Development District (seen below outlined in yellow).

City Superintendent Josh Mills made a presentation on the proposal, along with city attorney Peter Dorn. Business owners Dale Evans, Bob Korten, and Steve Christian had prepared a handout (see below) with questions and some answers provided them before the meeting by Josh Mills.

The Downtown Development Authority would be established by an ordinance adopted by the City Council. Its board would be at least 51% constituted of property owners within the Development District. “Property” is understood to mean personal property as well as real property, and therefore owners of franchises or others who run businesses in the district but do not own their lots/buildings would count as “property owners” for board membership purposes. Board members would be appointed by the City Council.

Development Districts/Authorities are provided for under the State of Michigan’s Public Act 197 of 1975.  A Tax Income and Financing (TIF) Plan is required to spell out what the tax monies will be used for and how long the Development Authority/District will be in place. Once established, the DDA may use increases in tax revenue within the District (over and above taxable value before the establishment of the District) to fund improvements within the District.

The idea is that new business may be enticed to say, the east end of Frankfort, with the promise that the city will make improvements to certain public facilities, such as parking, restrooms, park areas, lighting, water/sewer, etc., using new tax revenue from the district. The DDA would have the authority to take all this new tax revenue, meaning it would not go as it normally might to other millaged services, such as the Benzie Bus, the Maples, or the county Recycling program. Schools, however, would still see increased revenue from the increased development.

Bob McNabb expressed concern that some property and business owners affected by the proposal were not present at the meeting. By law, with the adjournment of this noticed hearing the DDA could be established within a minimum of 60 days, giving the other affected entities (Benzie County, Benzie Shores District Library, etc.) a chance to comment on the proposal. Frankfort mayor Bob Johnson called a second public meeting for January 22 at 6 pm to give the public more time to respond to the proposal. It was unclear at the end of the meeting whether the 60 day time period was still in effect or whether it would be extended.—Emily Votruba

Questions and Answers Ahead of DDA Hearing Jan 2013