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Garrett Neese / Daily Mining Gazette Houghton City Manager Eric Waara gives an update to the Planning Commission while President Tom Merz listens.

HOUGHTON – The Houghton Planning Commission approved the site plan review for a new apartment complex on Pearl Street at its meeting on Tuesday.

The new complex is located in a recently rezoned area from R-3 to R-4, which allows for more dense development and allows for tighter setbacks and less parking space.

Intended for students, the new complex will have 120 parking spaces for 153 beds, more than the 76.5 required by the R-4. To encourage students not to bring their own cars, the resort will either offer a carpool service or charge students extra for parking, project architect Barry Polzin said.

“Maybe you’re not going to have all the students, but you’re going to have a few more that say ‘OK I don’t need a car, I’m just going to leave it there'” he said. “… This is happening all over the world, so you might as well do it here too.” “

For bike racks, which have the same required number of 76.5, it will offer 180. Polzin said the space could also include a dedicated area in the garage for recycling.

About 23.3% of the site will be developed, above the 20% requirement, Waara said.

In an email, Planning Commission member Kristine Bradof suggested replacing non-native plants listed in landscaping with comparable native plants that would provide value to pollinators and birds. The Wild Ones Keweenaw Chapter, a local landscaping group, offered to help select the plants, Bradof wrote.

Polzin said the stormwater management plans took into account the sidewalk design changes that will accompany the College Avenue construction project. TL Rentals applied for a stormwater permit in April, but has yet to get approval from the Michigan Department of Transportation. The predominant problem would be runoff from the roofs, Polzin said.

“In fact, it might flow by gravity … a pump might be the easiest way to do it, but we haven’t entered details on that yet.” he said. “We are awaiting confirmation of how much will take.”

The commission approved the site plan, subject to the project receiving permits from MDOT. The vote was 5-0, with Jen Julien, a member of the Planning Committee, abstaining due to possession of a property nearby.

In another action, the commission:

– Heard by Waara, the town was sued by the company that owns the Econo Foods property. The lawsuit concerns the new Kentucky Fried Chicken which is slated to open next year on an outdoor plot in front of the Evangel Community Church building. At a sitemap review hearing in July, a landowner lawyer argued that KFC’s proposal violated an agreement with ShopKo, which was previously on the Evangel site.

– I learned from Waara that the city was looking for a new signpost for the fire station on Sharon Avenue last week, which it said violated several city ordinances. Waara said he and code enforcement officer Jeff Jepsen spent 10 hours between them reviewing the history of the sign, which is on city property. The Michigan Department of Transportation will also review the paper records on the sign, which falls under its definition of a billboard.

“We want to make sure we have all the facts before contacting the dealer, so that we can do it once and do it right” he said.

– Discussed the city’s master plan, which is due to be revised in 2023. President Tom Merz recommended continuing previous practices by asking subcommittees to review different chapters in public meetings before holding open houses . The Commission also discussed how to obtain public comments on the questions to be asked in the survey that will be sent out before the completion of the master plan.

The commission also discussed the advisability of developing a subzone plan for the city center.

Polzin suggested that a cart such as the one the city had considered would be unnecessary, as the city has most of the information it would need. Waara said a cart would be more useful in determining the fate of a particular site, but less so for the city center in general. Vice President Bill Leder asked if the blueprint subcommittee formed earlier this year should continue, as the pace of the review would not allow it to pursue its goal of updating two chapters at a time.

“Everyone will be involved, and those of us who were on the committee will obviously have comments based on our discussions.” he said. “But it’s hard for me to see the need for this committee to continue with this.

– I heard an update from Waara on repairs to the Lakeshore Center, where part of the wharf collapsed. The city, Michigan Technological University and the National Park Service will meet to discuss a long-term solution. Michigan Tech conducted an R / C underwater survey of Dee Stadium and Ranger Pier.

“Fortunately, there was nothing scary” he said.

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