City to hold public comment about Mount Pleasant Center property


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The Mount Pleasant City Commission voted to update its fire code ordinance at tonight's meeting. 

The update will reference the 2012 version of the International Fire Code, instead of the 2006 guidelines. City commissioner Jim Holton motioned to pass the update, which was approved unanimously.

Commissioners also approved 100 acres of hay to be farmed by a local farmer at the airport. The land is currently covered by grass. Though the Airport Advisory Board did not want hay to be planted, the city will get $3,000 per year by leasing the land to the farmer. It could also save $16,000 to $20,000 in mowing costs.

Vice mayor Allison Lents noted there would be no manure used and the farmer will not till in the winter. She asked city staff to look into a three-year contract that could be backed out of if not going well. 

City Manager Nancy Ridley said the city is in the process of drafting a contract. The city will be able to tell the farmer to cut the hay if it becomes unsightly.

Mount Pleasant Center

Getting further in the process of demolishing the Mount Pleasant Center structures, commissioners voted to hold a public hearing on April 18 to let residents give input on what they'd like to see done with the land. 

"This is something we are taking very seriously and thinking a lot about," Lents said. "We encourage the public to give input on what they'd like to see happen there." 

The city demolished some of the structures for $460,000, using a company called Melching Demolition. Ridley recommended hiring the same company for the next phase of the demolition, which will remove four structures, underground tunnels and storage tanks. 

Two grants were given to the city for the demolition; $250,000 which needs to be used by June, and $100,000 which must be used by October. 

Solicitation ordinance

Continuing its discussion on the panhandling ordinance which passed last year but was recalled in January, commissioners voted to update the ordinance, which is not currently being enforced, looking at one of two options.

The city attorney drafted two different versions of the ordinance. Tonight commissioners needed to decide which option they would vote on after a public hearing on April 25.

Both would more clearly define the city's intention for the ordinance, remove sections about deceptive soliciting and prohibit those fundraising from going into traffic lands. The second option would also enforce no signs held within 40 feet of an intersection. The first option passed after a 4-2 vote.

Lents motioned for the first option, which sparked concern among other commissioners. Holton said the sign provision is there for the public's safety. Lents said only 3-5 intersections were concerning, compared to the hundreds within city limits.

"I would hate to plan our community on the worst case scenario," she said. 

Airport property

Commissioners voted to pursue an intergovernmental contract with the Charter Township of Union to install signs north of the airport, including in Indian Pines Park, which would remind the public that no hunting or other illegal activity is allowed there. 

Because the land is mandated by state government, combining with Union Township on the project might allow the city to avoid spending more than $25,000 and installing a large amount of signs.

Ridley said the first step is contacting the township and figure out the agreement. Both bodies would have to approve the plan. 

The motion to approve the governmental partnership passed, with everyone's vote except Holton's.

Other items

  • Approved a new phone system for six city buildings. The last update was in 2001. This will allow the city to use an updated 911 system.
  • GameTime and Sinclair will oversee the design meetings and oversee bids for the redevelopment of Timber Town. The city will pay $235,000.

Announcements

  • Community members are invited to apply for two vacancies on Mount Pleasant city boards. Applications can be found at mt-pleasant.org.
  • On Monday, the city will host public input for ideas on using the Mount Pleasant Center land. The session will be at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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About Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is a super-senior at Central Michigan University. She comes from metro Detroit ...

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