Planning Commission Community Input Session May 3, 2023

Arvon Township Planning Commission Public Input Session

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Call to Order:  6:00 p.m.

Roll Call:  Nancy Strohschein, Chairperson; Linnea Barron, Secretary; Joe Bollech, Board of Review Representative; Bob Janda, Township Board Representative; Robert Lindert, Vice Chairperson; Jay Loman, Board of Review Chair; Donna Preston, Trustee.

Pledge of Allegiance:  Recited.

Introductions/Guests:  There were thirty-three guests present including Jason McCarthy, Consultant from Northwood Planning & Zoning and the Planning Commission members.  The Planning Commission members introduced themselves, followed by introductions of all those present for this meeting. 

Approval of Agenda:  Bob made a motion to approve the agenda, seconded by Jay.  Motion carried.

Approval of minutes of April 13, 2023, work session:  Joe made a motion to accept the minutes, seconded by Robert.  Motion carried.


I.  Recreation Plan.

    A.  Linnea presented a brief history of the recreation plan for Arvon Township.  Recreation plans are to be updated every five years, and the timeframe of our current recreation plan was from 2011 to 2016.  Our recreation plan is long overdue.

    B.  Jason McCarthy, consultant, addressed the Recreation Plan process and the importance of the survey and this community input session in identifying recreation wants/needs and ideas the public would benefit from.  This meeting is mandatory in the process of creating a recreation plan and the recreation plan is mandated by the state of Michigan for each township and necessary for grant applications.  Most grants are a state match (25% from township, 75% from state).   Applications for grants open on February 1, 2024.  The survey will assist in achieving the goals/objectives and the number of projects to pursue in the next five years.  The next step in this process is a meeting to utilize the comments from this community input session, scheduled for Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 6 p.m. at the town hall, to select projects to consider for the Action Plan.  A 30-day review period follows with copies of the draft plan placed for review at the Arvon Township Hall and on the township’s website.  A Public Hearing will be set up in June and Resolution of Adoption by the Township Board tentatively by August/September. 

     C.  Nancy presented the results of the Recreation Survey which ran from mid-March through April 2023.  The survey utilized paper surveys mailed to all homestead residents and about 200 other property owners and an on-line Survey Monkey with a total of 104 surveys completed (82 paper and 22 on-line surveys), a 16% return rate.  The mailed surveys went to every resident/property owner in Arvon Township.  The paper survey consisted of ten questions and Nancy presented each question and the results revealed and discussed. 

There were some surprises in the results as in question 3 requesting the age of whoever was filling out the survey, the result for age 50 and over, was 82.  Question 5 showed interest in improving the township park (beach, playground equipment, tennis/pickle ball courts, dock improvement and pavilion).  Questions 6/7 concerned maintenance and/or improvement of recreational facilities include the boat launch at the park, township hall, and the undeveloped waterfront parcels were of importance.  Question 8 identified activities the public participates in and beach/swimming, hiking trails, ATV/snowmobile trails, fishing/boating, kayak/paddle board topped the list.  Question 9 requested recreational opportunities to be developed included marked ORV, trails including hiking/cross-country skiing, beach/swimming, boat launch at park, undeveloped waterfronts, and many more.

Comments from guests:

            Clarification made of recreational facilities are those that the township owns that we can consider in this plan. 

            Jay Fish, Township Supervisor, stated that the township hall is a historical building and maintenance includes bids for new siding and windows.  The Township has Covid monies that will be used for a new fence at the ballfield with the work by ball team members.

            Another guest asked who are we doing this for, residents or visitors?  The discussion that followed was really for both.

            Joe Bollech commented about improving the swimming area at the park and possible lighting be added.

            Karen Groesbeck suggested the beauty of flowers in a formal garden, and how a past garden tour in Arvon Township was a success.  The discussion went on to a possible community garden (vegetable/flower).

            A big item on the survey was more marked ATV trails.  This requires validation process for motor and nonmotor recreation.   Lyle Olsen from Aura, a member of the Baraga County Trail Authority (BCTA), provided information that the easements for trail 14 from Lyme and the Conservancy are done with permanent easement by the DNR.  This trail requires licensing, and stickers to access certain trails.  Arvon Township is not yet connected to trail 14 with the concern that this would require Skanee Road to be part of that system, which was felt to be too dangerous.  The trail systems need enforcement and maintenance. 

            There were many suggestions for the township park.  A swimming beach, horseshoe pits (which are there, just need repair), fish cleaning station, railing down to the pavilion, cornhole game, kayak launch, longer boat launch/dock, handicapped fishing access, improved pavilion, basketball court, playground equipment.

            There is interest in the property by Witz Marina for swimming and a kayak launch.

Also on the survey was the question requesting community members to be on a recreation committee.  Jason explained that this committee would be appointed by the Township Board and should have a Planning Commission member on the committee.  This committee would review annual projects for grants and serve in advisory status.  On the survey we had fifteen individuals interested in serving in this capacity.

There were various discussions resuming with good input from the community when adjourned.

II.  Next meeting time is 6 p.m. at the town hall on Thursday, May 18, 2023, to review the input from this meeting and form an Action Plan for the Recreation Plan.

The meeting was adjourned by Nancy Strohschein at 7:40 p.m.  Coffee provided and Ivy Huttema baked cookies enjoyed by all.

Submitted by Linnea Barron, Secretary