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Tag Archive | "planning commission"

City to consider beekeeping ordinance


By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs may soon join the ranks of other progressive cities that are helping to support the environment by allowing residents to keep bees. The City Council will consider the first reading of the ordinance at their monthly meeting this Thursday, September 7.

City resident Joe Frank asked the city to consider allowing beekeeping in the city earlier this summer. He has kept honeybees as a hobby for several years. He had several hives on property he owned in Hesperia, and when he decided to sell the property, he re-homed all of the hives, except one, with other beekeepers. He had previously asked a city official if he could keep a hive on his property here, and was told he could. He moved the hive to his property, but was later told that he couldn’t have it under the current ordinance. That ordinance, Sec. 8-1 Domestic Animals and Fowls reads: “No person shall keep or house any animal or domestic fowl within the city, except dogs, cats, canaries or animals commonly classified as pets which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets, or permit any animal or fowl to enter business places where food is sold for human consumption, except for leader, guide, hearing and service dogs as required by MCL 750.502c.”

“Bees are animals and no animals shall be kept except for the ones listed or are commonly classified as pets, which bees are not,” explained City Manager Mike Womack.

Womack gave the council a copy of the beekeeping ordinance in Traverse City, and a draft ordinance for the Planning Commission and City Council to consider.

This green box is Frank’s beehive, and the two white boxes are honey supers, which collect honey. Courtesy photo.

Frank’s hive is a green box inside a shed on his property. There are ports from the hive for the bees to travel through to get outside. They do not fly around inside the shed.

“They are not dangerous,” he explained. “There are already bees flying around outside. They have to live somewhere. Better in a hive than in the wall of your garage,” he noted.

At the August 10 council meeting, former Mayor Mark Fankhauser stated that he supports and recommends allowing bees in the city. He said he has seen a direct increase in the number of flowers as a result of Frank’s bees.

According to Ranger Steve Mueller, our resident wildlife and biology expert, bees are more important than butterflies as pollinators and are not dangerous. “Bees are experiencing population decline for a variety of reasons and can use human help. They are of great positive economic importance. People have an unreasonable fear of bees. Riding or driving in a car is a greater health threat than bees in the neighborhood. Why people develop unhealthy fear of bees and other insects makes little sense but many are taught unreasonable fear as a child and hold on to those fears throughout life,” he explained.

“[Bees] are a community-building, economic resource that benefits people, plants, and wildlife. I encourage people to maintain a portion of their yard for wildflowers and native species to help maintain and sustain biodiversity. Bees are an essential component if we want plants to reproduce,” he remarked.

Mueller said he has a friend that lives close to downtown Denver, Colorado and she has a small beehive in her backyard. “The bees fly about the city in nearby areas pollinating flowers, gathering nectar, and make honey. We eat at their picnic table in the backyard and are not disturbed by bees. We watch them at flowers in the garden that surround the picnic table. We sit on their deck to enjoy the day and have had not problems with the bees that are about 30 feet away. She suits up to open the hive to extract honey and uses normal bee keeping practices for safety,” he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, residents would need to apply for a permit. They could keep no more than a total of two hives on real property less than 10,890 square feet, no more than 4 hives on real property less than 21,780 square feet, no more than 6 hives on real property less than 43,560 square feet and no more than eight hives on real property more than 43,561 square feet. Honeybees must be housed in a properly designed and constructed hive, which may be located only in the “rear yard” of the property. They also cannot be any closer than 10 feet to any property line of an adjacent property.

Frank said he was happy with the draft ordinance the council is considering.

“The State of Michigan has guidelines for beekeeping and the proposal is in line with the State of Michigan Agriculture guidelines, which I think is a good way to go,” he said.

A few of the other cities that allow bees in West Michigan include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland.

Please note that this article has been updated to refer to the specific ordinance under which bees are not currently allowed in the City of Cedar Springs. We also removed Rockford as a city that allows them. It should have read Muskegon. We apologize for the error.

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City in need of planning commission members


Do you live in the City of Cedar Springs? Would you like to make a difference in the community? The City of Cedar Springs is looking for additional Planning Commission Members.

The Planning Commission helps shape the future of land use and business development in the City. The board consists of eight members of the community and the Mayor. There is currently one vacant seat, and one or two more seats are expected to be vacant within the year.

The Planning Commission is a volunteer board and usually meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The input from the commission provides citizens the opportunity to have an input on the decisions that will shape the community for many years to come. To get an idea of what the Planning Commission does, you can download a Planning Commission handbook from the Michigan Municipal League at https://www.mml.org/pdf/pcebook.pdf.

Those wanting to apply for a position must  be 18+ year old, a city resident, and fill out the application that you can find online at http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/boards-and-commissions-application.pdf. Please email applications to manager@cityofcedarsprings.org or drop them off at City Hall. The City Manager and the Mayor will review the applications and make their suggestion to the City Council for appointment to the Planning Commission. Application deadline for the vacant position will be July 24.

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Veterans are coming


POST SCRIPTS NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 


 

That’s right folks, we hope that after much red tape, it looks like the red, white, and blue will be coming to live in good old Cedar Springs. One of our problems was a code that wanted two parking spaces for each of the residents. Problem solved by WEFA president Fred Cini. If they should own cars, they have written permission to park on the WEFA paved parking lot. And would you believe it, he even asked if any would be employable. What a guy! He represents what Cedar Springs is all about. It also appears “just maybe” the planning commission will accept a copy of our original site plan, which would save us over $5,000.

You are invited on Saturday, April 29, to a preview of what can happen at the facility (the old Amish Warehouse Store, corner of Main and Beech) from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00, and you will see what those monies were spent on: a new pool table, shuffle board table, and air hockey table. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of area people, we were donated a new $1,600 bow flex machine; a beautiful electronic organ; a large electronic read out treadmill; plus a nearly new foosball table. And a big thank you to all you folks that wanted to donate to the already full game room area. Every Veteran and their families should be at the May 2nd Planning Commission meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Bob Truesdale, Cedar Springs

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Planning commission OKs PUD rezoning


 

By Judy Reed

The building of a new public library and other recreation facilities on properties near Main and Maple Street in Cedar Springs came one step closer to reality this week. On Tuesday evening, January 5, the Cedar Springs Planning Commission passed a motion approving the rezoning of several parcels to B-3, Highway Business/PUD Planned Unit Development, and recommended approval to the City Council.

The rezoning was requested by the Community Building Development Team, a group made up of individuals and representatives of various organizations in the community. They have been working for the past three years to develop eight acres of land, within the City limits, into “The Heart of Cedar Springs.” It will be a place where the local citizens and visitors can enjoy a new library building, a community building, a recreation center, and an amphitheater, all placed among beautiful rain gardens and sculptures along a board walk on the banks of Cedar Creek.

Some of the property is owned by the City of Cedar Springs, such as where the library and ampitheatre will go; other parcels are owned by the CBDT. The rezoning of the parcels was requested to allow for a unified public facility development for the entire site. An associated preliminary PUD site plan will help ensure a single cohesive development, although the construction will be done in phases.

The parcels included were:

180 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-020)

116 N. Fifth St. (41-02-25-426-010)

69 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-017)

65 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-019)

107 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-016)

113 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-015)

125 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-014)

139 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-013)

157 N. Main St. (41-02-25-427-012)

37 W. Maple St. (41-02-25-427-007)

City planner Carmine Avantini, recommended approval with the conditions that the property ownership will be under the single control of the Community Building Development Team; and that there was a waiver to allow a maximum three-foot front building setback from N. Main Street. The properties located in the PUD will be under the single control of the Community Building and Development Team (CBDT), with ownership being maintained by the City of Cedar Springs through a use agreement.

Avantini noted in the agenda packet that the PUD meets goals in the city’s master plan and the PUD article. He said that the primary goal of the Cedar Springs Master Plan under “Community Facilities” is to “Maintain and develop parks and recreational facilities to enhance the visual character of the city and promote active lifestyles.” He said this PUD will meet this goal and the Master Plan anticipated public use for the site.

He also noted that one of the purposes of the PUD Article is “to encourage development of convenient recreational facilities.” This PUD will be located on the edge of Downtown Cedar Springs and will be in close proximity to residential neighborhoods, a major thoroughfare (Main Street), the White Pine Trail, and a mixed-use traditional downtown. The proposed library and recreation facilities will therefore be highly accessible to most residents of the city and also be available for special events in the downtown area.

The next step in the process will be for the City Council to take action on the PUD rezoning request at their next meeting, on Thursday, January 7, 2016.

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Parking ordinance put on hold


Under a parking ordinance in the city of Cedar Springs, only guests, and not residents are allowed to park in the areas between the yard and the roadway. The ordinance has been put on hold pending further review by the planning commission.

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs City Council voted Thursday night, May 10, to send a controversial parking ordinance back to the planning commission for review, and ordered a halt to its enforcement.

The ordinance came under scrutiny last month, when resident Beth Karafa complained that she was not allowed to park in the gravel area between her yard and the road, in the city’s right of way, although she had been doing it for 16 years. Officer Nick Barbour, the city’s code enforcer, has paid her several visits and ticketed her on at least two occasions.

Guests are supposed to be allowed to park in front of a home, whether in the roadway or on the grass. However, Becky Powell, of S. Linda Street, told City Council Thursday night that she had received a warning from Barbour when her daughter-in-law visited. Powell said her daughter-in-law had all four wheels in the yard because she had to get her grandchildren in and out of the car. “He said two tires had to be on the road and two in the yard, and that he would be watching me, and if I continued, I would get fined,” explained Powell.

She said he then went across the street to talk to a sickly neighbor, whose husband had just died, about the need to mow her ditch. “I just think he needs to have a little sensitivity, kindness,” said Powell. “He was a little cocky, I guess.”

Police Chief Roger Parent made it clear that when Officer Barbour is working on Wednesdays enforcing codes, Barbour reports directly to City Manager Christine Burns. But Parent did say that all streets are wide enough for two-way traffic, and that temporary guests should be able to pull off into the grass. He also said that you do have to park with the flow of traffic, however, and not facing the wrong direction. “It’s a matter of are you impeding traffic?” said Parent.

Another resident asked about whether she, as a homeowner, could park on her own lawn.

Mayor Charlie Watson told council members, during their workshop before the meeting, that he was going to suggest sending the ordinance back to the planning commission. He said that he has had phone calls from people about it, even before the latest complaints.

He told the public during the council meeting that he has always had difficulty with the ordinance. “I think at the time it was the best ordinance that we were able to come up with. However, in hindsight, I think there may possibly be some changes we need to make to the ordinance,” he said. “I’d like to ask the City Manager to put a hold on any enforcement action while this ordinance is sent back for review.”

The council passed the motion, which related to only a specific section of the parking ordinance, then later rescinded the action and voted to send the entire parking ordinance back to the planning commission for review.

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