HARBERT – Members of the Chikaming Township Board voted unanimously on Nov. 12 to put in place policies and procedures for responding to EGLE (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) applications made by lakefront property owners seeking to install revetments to deter damage done due to erosion.
The policy and procedure includes provisions for the township’s Building Inspector to review any permit applications and all written drawings submitted to EGLE that exist within the Waterfront Zoning District. It will then be determined whether a project requests a structure or materials which will extend onto the sand or into the lake.
The Building Inspector will then meet with the Township Supervisor to discuss the application, and subsequently the Supervisor will inform the other Board members of the application and give a brief explanation of what is being requested by the applicant.
If the proposed project extends into the beach sand or the lake, the application will then be forwarded to the designated Township’s Lakefront Revetment Engineer (or similar firm if the township’s engineer is engaged with the same application) for review and a written report on the project’s potential impact, both on surrounding properties and township interests. That report will be shared with the Supervisor, Board members, Planning Commission and Park Board. It will also be posted on the township’s website for public view.
After receipt of the engineer’s findings the members of the Board, during a scheduled regular or special meeting, will discuss the information they have received and consider a written response to EGLE.
After considering public comments, the engineer’s report, and discussion by the Board members, if the majority of the Board votes to respond to EGLE in writing, a detailed response will be prepared and sent to EGLE based on the Board’s findings from their meeting, and that correspondence will be prepared so that it is received by EGLE within the approval deadline defined by them for the specific permit requested.
Township Supervisor David Bunte said he felt this was the methodology the township should follow, at least in the short term.
“We have an opportunity to take a stand on this and help preserve the uniqueness of our seven miles of shoreline,” Bunte said. “Revetments will change that, so I think we need to make a stand. We need to have more of a say.”
Other Township Board members concurred.
Trustee Rich Sullivan said he was inclined to have the township fight the approval for construction of revetments.
“If we get overruled, we get overruled, but we can’t just kick the can down the road on this,” he added.
Noting that between 500 and 600 letters had been sent to EGLE expressing support for the Cherry Beach Project and opposing revetments that would have a negative impact on that township-owned property, a motion to continue to object to the applications for revetments by property owners on Sun’s End Road also garnered unanimous support.
Bunte reported that he anticipated the official signing of an agreement for the Cherry Beach Project should happen soon, and then appraisals of the adjoining property to be obtained by the township would be able to proceed.
Also on the agenda, an update on Phase 2 of the Union Pier/Red Arrow Highway Project was presented. It is anticipated that current work such as road improvements and paving as well as the installation of new curbs, gutters and storm water infrastructure installation should be completed this month (downtown Union Pier was open to traffic by the end of the week with a new road surface in place).
Next spring the scheduled improvement work in Union Pier will include the installation of concrete sidewalks and ramps, the development of a non-motorized pathway, and streetscaping items that will include the addition of plants, trees and furnishings.
Near the conclusion of the meeting thanks were given to the four outgoing members of the Park Board for their service and dedication to the community: Deborah Hall-Kayler, Janet Schrader, Jill Underhill and Joseph Reed.
Teachers Credit Union was thanked for a $2,500 donation to the Park Board.
Finally, Clerk Paula Dudiak received praise, thanks and a round of applause for her handling of the recent election.
“Everything in Chikaming ran smoothly, and you did a great job,” Bunte commented.
“It was a team effort, and it went well,” Dudiak said in response.