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Beacon Archive

June 2003
PDF Version

McDonough’s Market - 70 Years serving Beaver Island

Don't bother trying to fix it … if it's not Baroque

Graduation Time

Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce Plans for the 4th of July

The Historical Society releases the schedule for Museum Week

BIPOA Nature Lecture: Painted Turtles of the Beaver Archipelago

CMU Summer Nature Walk series

BIRHC to Raffle Truck

Health Center Groundbreaking

The State of the Internet on Beaver Island

Honoring Bev and Mike

On This Date

One Hundred Years Ago

A Fine Spring Concert

An Environmental Protection section proposed for our Zoning Ordinance

Passings: Robert Smith; Gary Tepe; Margaret Way; Dan Green

Rural Arts & Culture Grant Update

Mary Gets a New Gallery

Roasting Jerry

The Sun Also Rises … over PABI's Community House: Summer Solstice Celebrations

The Class Play: A Class Act

Lighthouse School News

News from the Townships

Work at Beaver Head

BICS Students get Handhelds

Island Airways Hanger Party

Emerald Isle Security Exercise

Making a Walleye Pond

The Leadership Retreat suggests an approach for the Lansing Reception

A Report on The Lansing Reception

Peaine Township helps the Island move closer to a Master Plan

The AmVets in Action: yellow ribbons and posters

Weather or Not

Camp Quality Returns

Please Subscribe to the Beacon

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An Environmental Protection section

At the joint township Planning Commission meeting of April 24th, a draft of an Environmental Protection section for the revised Zoning Ordinance was presented by the so-called Egg Lake Seven. To get the ball rolling this group of concerned citizens did some research on which sites were the most obviously in need of protection, and asked themselves what kind of protection was needed for each of the twenty-four targeted areas. CMU was asked to help, which they did by providing color-coded maps of Beaver Island showing these areas, ranked as to the severity of danger.

The Seven’s sample ordinance was distributed, with copies of the map, to the five members of each Planning Commission and to others, such as Realtor Ed Wojan, who has provided much practical input during the ongoing zoning ordinance and master plan revision. Township attorney Keven Elsonheimer and Tip of the Mitt planner Chris Grobbel, who were in attendance, also had a few hours to look over these documents.

From the comments, it quickly became obvious that Beaver Island was at the cutting edge of the movement to create local protection for environmental concerns. One of the reasons not much has been done in this field, in Michigan and elsewhere, is the difficulty of 1) accurately defining the terms we use to describe our often emotional intentions; 2) the potential legal problems that await community entry into any new area; and 3) the questions about enforcement responsibilities of the various government agencies.

One of the first problems to be pointed out was that the sample ordinance was so generalized that it would limit development on essentially every square inch of the Island. This objection was met by suggesting an overlay map be provided, with the ordinance only referring to indicated areas. It was also pointed out that the Shoreline Protection Zone, Wetlands' rules, and the Sand Dunes Zone already served to protect some of the areas on the map. Another concern was that the townships might be sued for “taking” the land to fall under this ordinance. And people wondered if and how the Island's State Land would be affected.

After an hour, one audience member thought that only a few parts of the Island needed this kind of protection. Another pointed out that it might be simpler and less expensive to target these areas for purchase by conservation groups. Still another suggestion was to require every piece of property to submit a site plan for review before anything could be done; this would give the Planning Commissions the chance to see if environmental fragility would be strained.

In an interesting aside, one of the PC members said he had just been up in a plane for five hours, taking 80 digital pictures of over 25 zoning violations that were apparent from the air.
At the end of this two-hour meeting, everyone on the PCs and in the audience felt that, thanks to the Seven, they had a greater understanding of the problem and the difficulties of solving it. It was moved to develop a proposal to make to both Township Boards, asking them to sanction the continuing investigation of this situation–possibly by funding the hiring of an expert to look into our problem and suggest how it can best be addressed.


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