City councilors will consider approving a grant for a brownfield site assessment of the defunct Blue Ribbon Dry Cleaners & Laundry Service at 411 South James St at their meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27.
The assessment for contamination “may help in the sale and ultimate redevelopment of the site,” City Manager Mitch Foster wrote in a memo to the board.
If councilors approve the grant, the assessment would be conducted by staff from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. It would begin in October and likely last till early 2022.
The work would include a Phase One assessment, which uses existing records, databases, visual inspections and interviews to find evidence of contamination. If evidence is found, a Phase Two assessment could be needed, which involves sampling and clean-up.
Tax break for building rehab
Councilors will consider setting a public hearing for a tax break on 102 Second St. ahead of about $250,000 of planned improvement work by Barry and Cindy Neal.
The building was built around 1872 and is sometimes called the oldest commercial building in the city, according to City Assessor Daniel Kirwin. It has been unused since 2008, according to the application for the tax break.
The building currently has no insulation in the exterior walls, no bathrooms and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according Kirwin.
The current plans are for the first floor to be shared by M Wellness Fitness Studio and a new event venue, Second Street Celebrations. Upstairs, there will be two two-bedroom condominiums for short-term renting.
The tax break would be received through an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act certificate. The taxable value would be frozen and not raised to its improved state until after as many as 12 years, Foster said.
Small cell wireless facilities
Councilors will hold the first reading of an ordinance aimed at the installation of small cell wireless facilities.
The proposed ordinance aims to “regulate the siting” of small cell antennas, protect “public health, safety and welfare” and exercise “reasonable control over public rights-of-way.”
The ordinance lays out aesthetic requirements, preferred zoning districts for small cell antennas, the responsibilities of the city and cell providers and more.
Small cell facilities are similar to cell towers, but are the size of a short antenna. With the rollout of 5G technology, cell providers are moving away from cell towers that cover large areas, opting to blanket areas with more, smaller towers.
In 2018, Michigan passed a law, Act 365, which aimed to streamline the building of many small towers. However, as applications to build have rolled in, municipalities have raised alarms that their powers are too limited under the law.
Industrial park covenant
Councilors will consider whether a protective covenant on the Ludington Industrial Park should be renewed.
The covenant, expiring on Dec. 31, saddles the land along Conrad Industrial Drive with rules above and beyond its zoning requirements.
The covenant includes stricter landscaping and architectural requirements, limits on signage and building height and other rules. It also controls how lot owners share maintenance costs.
Without the covenant, the area would be regulated as an M-2 Heavy Industry zone.
If the covenant, established in 1976, isn’t renewed, it would be harder for the city to recover unpaid maintenance costs unless a lien is already on the property, according to a memo in the agenda packet.
Councilors will consider approving applications for two parades for Ludington High School’s homecoming week.
LHS is applying to run the pep parade, in which the band, students and staff will walk to Oriole Field and back on Friday, Oct. 8.
They are also applying for the homecoming parade. The band, students, four floats and cars with homecoming court candidates will travel from Longfellow Towers to Gaylord Avenue, turn onto Tinkham Avenue, travel west to the Ferry Street entrance to Oriole Field.