City officials discuss non-motorized transportation plan

Authors of Mount Pleasant’s new zoning ordinance plan to work the redevelopment of Mission and Pickard streets from its current auto-centric form to a mixed-use, multi-modal form.

The scope of work for the new zoning ordinance was discussed in a work session after the Jan. 25 Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting.

The ordinance will include the promotion of a fuller range of transportation opportunities, like walking and biking.

“I think we have a great community and a lot of good things, and some of those things need to be preserved,” said vice mayor Allison Quast-Lents. “I want to make sure we aren’t just coming in with new things, but preserving the old good things.”

The planning commission’s zoning practice shifted away from conventional, suburban approaches to a more walkable, urban approach, said city planner Jacob Kain.

The completion of the project is estimated to take 18 to 24 months. The city’s Master Plan is the base document for the zoning project.

“We will respect what we already built and, to an extent, make it better,” Kain said.

Environmental and economical sustainability will be generated for the city and its residents.

"The zoning ordinance isn’t going to be developed in a vaccuum, but the master plan. It’s what the community came up with and spoke quite strongly about needing to preserve neighborhoods and the quality of life, so that would be a guiding factor with whoever we hire," commissioner Tony Kulick said.

The drafting and redrafting of the new zoning ordinance will occur after receiving input from stakeholders.

Hot Dogs with a side of beer

Students soon may have the chance to be served a side of beer with hot dogs from Dog Central.

At the Dec. 3 commission meeting, a special use permit allowing Dog Central to obtain a liquor license through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission was unanimously approved by commissioners.

This was the first of three steps before the business could begin to serve the alcohol. The restaurant must first obtain a liquor license to be classified as a Class I restaurant, or one that makes more than 50 percent of its profit from food sales while also selling alcohol.

At the Jan. 25 city meeting, a public hearing was held on the redevelopment liquor license for Dog Central.

“I think this is a good idea for our Downtown. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses that start downtown don’t last long. I think Dog Central has proven their staying power and this will only make them stronger,” said city commissioner Tony Kulick.

While its main focus would remain food, owner Paul McFall said in a statement to the commission that the restaurant would serve a canned beer line up, featuring happy hours and dollar hours on certain beers.

Dog Central plans to cut off alcohol sales at 1 a.m. as his business is mainly food, McFall told commissioners.

A pathway from Ithaca to Clare

The commission meeting included an informational presentation on a completely non-motorized 40-mile pathway from Ithaca to Clare by Mid-Michigan Community Pathway group. 

A charter action plan has been created to help promote the linking to community assets, promote art and culture and boost local economies.

The charter action plan includes continuing fundraising, seeking local support, the design and construction a pathway of Shepherd to Mount Pleasant, and then Ithaca and St. Louis/Alma.

Through connecting pathways, communities Ithaca, Alma, St Louis, Shepard, Mount.Pleasant, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Rosebush, and Clare would be non-motorized. 

The pathway segment between Mount Pleasant and Shepherd would be first priority development. It would connect the Deerfield Road Path and the Village of Shepherd’s “Triangle” path system.

The overall construction cost of the Mid-Michigan Community Pathway Phase I will be about $1.9 million. Federal, state and local funding will be sought to help fund the project.

About 90 percent of the project has been designed, including fine grading and drainage. Open house meetings have been held to allow affected residents and business owners to see the plans and provide comments.

The pathway project packaged with the highway reconstruction project to leverage grant funding and other matching funds. The construction cost is estimated at $2.5 million.