Planning Commission Work Session March 9, 2023

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Call to Order:  6:30 p.m.

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

Pledge of Allegiance:  Recited

Guests:  Jason McCarthy, by phone.

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

Approval of minutes from February 16, 2023 meeting:  The topic of noise ordinance was added to the agenda and discussed.  Therefore, Joe made a motion to approve the minutes with the addition of noise ordinance in the agenda, seconded by Bob.  Motion carried.


1.  Recreation Plan.

A.  Jason McCarthy joined us via phone for this meeting to go over the recreation plan.  Changes were made to the sections Introduction, Community Description and Administrative Structure as requested.

 In section, Arvon Township Recreation Inventory, it was felt a map indicating the township waterfront parcels and other points of our recreation inventory would be helpful.  Jason agreed and has already planned for this.  We also requested that the Huron River information should go under the title Additional Area Recreational Facilities.  Also, under this title we changed the description of the first sentence of Silver River Boat Launch Site to read; Silver River Boat Launch is near the corner of Skanee and Townline Roads.  Jason will work on the description for Aura Town Hall & Ball Field.  The Town Hall is the site of the Aura Jamboree, a well-attended event in the summer.  Under Big Erik’s Bridge & Campground the addition of noting outhouses and a popular place for steelhead fishing was suggested.  A sentence was removed from the Old Ravine River Cemetery and correction of typos. 

The section, Description of the Planning Process, was explained by Jason.  He went into detail on how the “system” planning method works. 

Section, Description of the Public Input Process: The Community Survey, paper and on-line, will start mid-March and end on April 30.  We have a tentative date for the Early Public Input of Thursday, May 4, 2023.

B.  Goals and Objectives:  Jason proposed seven goals and objectives.  Jason stated that they are general but detailed.  The Michigan State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) was utilized in these goals and objectives and adapted for Arvon Township’s needs.  He pointed out that each goal had a word emphasizing the purpose of the goal.   Nancy questioned the repetition of trail networks on goal 2 as this subject has been covered by the township with decision against trail networks due to a good portion would travel on Skanee Road and be too dangerous, or on side roads causing extreme dust conditions for residents.  The township is not against trail networks if alternative routes could be established.  Jason commented that purchase of easements from landowners for trails is a possibility.  On goals 6 and 7, Nancy stated that the objectives did not seem to project the goal.  Jason will reword these two.

C.  Survey.

Jason suggested some changes to the survey, remove the question on gender and how often one recreates.  We agreed to remove #4 on gender, but decided to keep question on how often one recreates.  We would like a header for the survey.  Jason will add a statement at the end of the survey stating people can photocopy the paper survey if multiple people want to participate.

We have a budget of $700 for the survey.  Jim Fedie has supplied the addresses for the paper survey.  There are duplicates and businesses that we need to eliminate to get the number down to 500.  Nancy had a question if too many addresses, can we pick and choose who to send to.  Jason will investigate that with MTA attorney.

Jason explained how the Survey Monkey works.  We plan to print, label and stuff envelopes at the next meeting.

D.  Review schedule. 

Survey dates of mid-March to April 30.  In-person input session set for Thursday, May 4, 2023.  Results of survey and input session will be used in the Goals and Objectives and Action Plan.  Tentative date for public hearing is June or July with final adoption in August or September.

E.  Next work session set for Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 6 p.m. with Jason in attendance.

2.  Zoning Ordinance

A.  Chris Wahmhoff, Trustee on Township Board, has agreed to be the Zoning Administrator (ZA) after receiving the education necessary for the job.  We need to check with MTA if he can serve as ZA and on the Board.

B.  Nancy read an article from MTA on enforcing ordinances.   The article changed violating an ordinance from a misdemeanor to a municipal civil infraction with procedures to follow including sending a letter to violator, possible appearance in court with a judge to determine outcome.  Jason was aware of this recommendation and strongly suggests that we adopt this approach in the updated ordinance.  We will have to make sure the duties of the ZA are clearly defined in the updated ordinance.

Next meeting date will be Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 6 p.m. at the firehall.  We will be printing surveys, addressing and stuffing envelopes.  Jason will be at this meeting and go through the next steps in the survey results, Goals and Objectives, and Action plan.

Adjourn:  Robert made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Joe.  All approved and motion carried.  Adjournment at 7:55 p.m.

Submitted by Linnea Barron, Secretary