PENTWATER — A Short Term Rental Ordinance generated considerable public discussion and ultimately was passed by the Pentwater Village Council in a 4-2 vote June 10.
The ordinance is a result of lengthy discussions at ordinance committee meetings and is, according to committee Chairman Dan Nugent, “an initial effort” to license rental properties in a manner that will enable the village to know who owns the house and who is in it.
“The main issue is safety,” Nugent said. In particular, the village needs to know who to contact in the event of an emergency or a complaint about activities on the rental premises. The ordinance establishes occupancy limits, parking requirements and fire safety requirements and prohibits camping on rental properties.
Voting in favor of the ordinance were Nugent, Pamela Burdick, Claudia Ressel-Hodan and village President Jeff Hodges, Council members Jared Griffis and Don Palmer voted no and Councilwoman Michelle Angell-Powell was absent.
Public discussion centered on whether the ordinance goes too far in its regulations, in particular its requirement for certification of compliance with requirements of state codes. In addition, local operators of bed & breakfasts were concerned that they are required to have regular inspections and to pay taxes based on commercial use, and would be disadvantaged if the village permits numerous rental properties to be operated without these financial and safety obligations. Council agreed that consideration of clarifying amendments and other requirements and limitations would be ongoing, with a guarantee that the ordinance will be reviewed within the next year.
The village council also adopted the following:
A resolution establishing the 2019 millage levy.
An ordinance to permit golf carts to be operated on US 31/Hancock Street between Sixth and Hanover streets, subject to compliance with registration requirements and traffic regulations.
An ordinance establishing regulations on streets, sidewalks and public rights-of-way in the village to require a permit for any obstructions or construction in the rights-of-way.
A moratorium on marijuana establishments for 365 days to allow time for the state to establish regulations for such establishments and for the village to evaluate the impact of such establishments based on such regulations. In short, the village is not opting in or opting out of allowing marijuana establishments at this time. It is simply postponing any decision.
A zoning ordinance amendment to establish standards for consideration of rezoning requests and zoning ordinance amendments, and to combine these standards in the same chapter of the zoning ordinance with the conditional zoning provisions recently adopted by the village.
Village Manager Chris Brown and police Chief Laude Hartrum updated the council concerning the closing of Longbridge Road due to high water over the road bed and the experience with response time for emergencies so far. The county road commission was scheduled to meet June 12 to present data on response time and consideration of engineering plans for a couple of options to remedy the situation. The barge currently near the bridge is part of the Army Corps of Engineer’s channel dredging, an $800,000 federal project that should be completed by the end of the week.
Brown also reported that the village boat launch is experiencing washout issues near the pavilion and kayak rack, and that sand bags have been ordered to provide for shoring up of the area. Sink holes have developed on Fourth Street, and the fishing pier and dingy dock are under water as a result of a failed storm outlet that is owned by MDOT, who is responsible for the repair once the water level drops. Sink holes are also developing along the north channel wall, which is under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. An engineer has evaluated the issue and the Corps is in the process of providing a remedy.
Hodges read a resolution honoring Henry Jobbins on his retirement after 23 years of service with the public works department. Hodges also announced the appointment of Michael Haack, co-owner of the Birch Michigan store, to the Downtown Development Authority Board.
In other business the village council approved the following:
Payment #2 to Hallack Construction for the 2019 Street Improvement Project in the amount of up to $346,306.01. It is anticipated that the project will be completed ahead of schedule.
A change order for up to $120,000 to the 2019 street improvement contract for paving and storm sewer improvements on Concord Street between Rutledge Street and Rush Street.
A contract with Ken Adams for $15,225 for sewer improvements to the alley from Lowell to Concord between Hancock and Dover.
A temporary beer/wine sales license at the village green for the Pentwater Arts Council for Sol Fest, which will be June 20-22, with proceeds going to bring art back into the schools.
An amount up to $10,000 to purchase a water taxi to be used to transport people into town and offer sunset cruises. Schedule information and fees for service will be announced at a later time.
A request for use of certain village property to grow crops for one year for $1,000, conditioned on a liability waiver and restoration of the property at the end of the term if not renewed.
Announcements by village staff included the following:
Two new part-time police officers and four more PSO officers have been hired at the police department.
Pentwater Water Safety Day will be Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted by the Pentwater Police Department, Pentwater Fire Department and Oceana County Sheriff’s Office at the Pentwater Municipal Marina. There will be free hot dogs and life jackets given away.
The recreation department is holding the first can drive of the year Friday June 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the open lot across from the Village Café.
A public hearing concerning the future of the Pentwater Village Hall building was scheduled for July 11 at 6 p.m. at the Friendship Center.