Skip to main content

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) – UPDATE – Tuesday, August 30 at 3:00 p.m.:

A Houghton County judge wants to review the Portage Township Planning Commission’s decision that the Pilgrim Point resort plans meet local zoning requirements.

Circuit Court Judge Charles Goodman also issued a stay — an action taken by a court to stop legal proceedings — to prevent all activity on the site until a hearing is held. Portage Township resident Camiel Thorrez demanded the judge’s actions. Thorrez lives closest to where the station would be.

The land’s current developers, represented by architect Barry Polzin, want to build cottages and rental cabins, a 10-unit RV parking area, and redevelop the Onigaming Lodge. The proposed plans were deemed to meet zoning requirements at a meeting of the Township of Portage Planning Commission on August 18. Some township residents oppose the plans, saying they will harm the environment.

Judge Goodman’s order was issued on Monday.

“Based on the facts alleged in (Thorrez’s) motion, it is clear that immediate and irreparable harm or harm will result if a stay is not issued prior to a hearing,” Goodman wrote. “(Thorrez) alleges that recent events create a reasonable belief that activities are about to occur that will alter the character of the area in which (Thorrez) resides and affect the environmental and natural resources of the area.”

With plans still in the development phase, it is unclear if work is due to begin in the near future.

Portage Township Supervisor Bruce Peterson said the township and its attorney have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Polzin says he is unavailable for comment until Wednesday.

Portage Township resident Susan Schwenk says she and her neighbors opposed to the construction are very pleased with Goodman’s decision and that this is the first of many steps in their fight against the plans.

ORIGINAL STORY – Monday, August 29 at 9:11 p.m.:

Portage Township’s Pilgrim Point may soon become a new year-round resort area for visitors.

The land’s current developers, represented by architect Barry Polzin, have submitted site plans for the station.

It includes cabins and rental cabins, a 10-unit RV parking area, and plans to renovate the Onigaming Lodge.

“The goal is that we try to recreate the atmosphere of a 1940s/50s seaside resort, a place where you go where you can have a nice break in summer or winter,” Polzin said. “And obviously, the site is magnificent on the water. And so we’re trying to create that and bring the historic Onigaming building back to life.

The proposed plans were deemed to meet zoning requirements at a meeting of the Township of Portage Planning Commission on August 18.

“One of the first steps in the process is to go through a local government entity,” Portage Township Planning Commission Chairman Ted Soldan said. “And find out if what they plan to do with the property coincides with the zoning of the neighborhood.”

There were concerns that the plan would not pass due to the lack of a stormwater management plan, but according to Soldan, the township’s zoning ordinance does not require a stormwater management plan to pass a review of the Sitemap.

“The developer ticked us off the list,” Soldan continued. “We agreed the zoning was consistent, and now they’re moving on to some of these other pieces of the puzzle.”

Soldin also says the developer said at the meeting that a plan was being developed but incomplete.

However, some residents of the township are still against the construction for various reasons.

“These people really don’t care about our environment, the active bald eagle nest and the residents,” said Portage Township resident Susan Schwenk.

However, according to Polzin, the developers aim to protect the eagles on the site and have their own concerns about trespassing on private property.

“We’re going to develop this so that those eagles are always there,” Polzin continued. “We have been in contact with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we fully understand all the rules and regulations and we know what to do. We are concerned that people may enter the site and cause chaos and disrupt the life of the eagle. We want people to leave this private property because we are trying to protect it.

Residents also question the anonymity of the owner.

According to the sitemap, the owner is listed as Pilgrim Point, Houghton LLC, with an address in Iron Mountain.

“They’re faceless, I don’t know why,” Schwenk continued. “They didn’t submit their sitemap with their name and signature on it. We still ask ourselves the question.

According to Polzin, the owner prefers to remain anonymous for his privacy.

“They just prefer anonymity,” Polzin said. “We were appointed to be their representative, we are also the architect of the project, and that is how we often work with many of our clients. We are the front, we support it through all the stages it has to go through. They are not interested in notoriety or any form of publicity. This particular client is very interested in environmentally friendly and appropriate development, but simply prefers to stay in the background. »

TV6 will continue to monitor the situation and bring you updates.