It was a night of approvals at the Harbor Springs City Council meeting Monday, June 2, although one of the agenda items-- the request by the Boathouse of Harbor Springs (formerly Walstrom Marine's downtown location behind the Depot Restaurant)-- to start the approval process for renewing its state bottomlands release, was met with some concern.
Dudley Marvin, who was at the meeting representing Stafford's Pier Restaurant, asked Council several questions about the lease renewal, citing the change in usage when the marina went private.
"When this was first signed off on 50 years ago, there was a lot more transient traffic in Walstrom Marine," he noted. "Now that isn't the case. Do we know when the lease is granted what they can or cannot do?"
Looking at the documentation provided, Mayor Al Dika said he shared Marvin's concern if there is any increase in bottomlands the Boathouse was seeking to lease, as the map provided could potentially indicate.
"We need to make sure we indicate we are approving 'area one'-- the rectangle of bottomlands already leased-- when we approve this," Dika said.
City manager Tom Richards said he does not believe the Boathouse is looking to expand its bottomlands lease. He stressed that this is only step one in the process, and that it will go through a public comment period prior to state approval.
"From the city's point of view, there is no approval happening tonight other than 'yes, they can go forward and apply for their bottomlands lease,'" Richards said.
Council specified "area one" on the provided Boathouse bottomlands map as the area they were approving to seek renewal on prior to a unanimous yes vote.
Council unanimously approved seeking bids for an unexpected-- but extremely necessary-- water and sewer project on Ingalls Street. Holding up a split, rusted pipe for Council members to see, Richards said it was obvious the waterline needs replacing. He said the plan is to do an interconnected eight inch line, as opposed to the "dead-line" that was previously there.
"As we investigated, we also found a sheer of the sewer pipe. Sewage was not passing well and was leaking into the ground. I recommend we take care of it," he said, adding the pipes on Ingalls Street were buried too shallow to prevent freeze ups, which also needs to be rectified.
Following Council's approval, Richards said he hopes to have bids to present at the next City Council meeting.
Council unanimously approved adding wine tasting to the farmers market after hearing from market master Cindy Kramer. Kramer said new legislation allows for this activity, and Harbor Springs would be one of the first in the state to offer sales and tasting of local wines without creating a "beer tent" or festival atmosphere.
"It is important to note that it not become a standing bar area or place where customers congregate; we want to keep the family atmosphere that we are so proud of while being able to provide one more draw for both the market and local merchant community," Kramer wrote in her proposal.
Four local vineyards-- Pleasantview Winery, Harbor Springs Vineyards and Winery, Seasons of the North Winery, and Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery-- will share one 10x10 market space staffed by their SafeServ certified personnel. Before a customer can be served a tasting at the tent, they would have to check in with the market tent, have identification checked, get a hand stamp, and receive tasting tickets. Each customer is allowed three two-ounce servings in a 24 hour period, although Kramer noted the typical service is actually one-ounce or less.
In fast action, Council also approved a two year renewal of the city's curbside recycling contract with the Emmet County Department of Public Works. Richards noted the rates have actually dropped thanks to the stellar management of the program, as well as new recyclable materials buyers.
The two year agreement with to designate the Alanson Public Library as the city's library was also renewed, as was the purchase of a new police vehicle to replace one of the department's Tahoe trucks (part of a regular cycle).
Kramer returned again to seek approval for a change in Movies in the Park nights. Typically held on Thursday following Street Musique, Kramer requested Council okay a Tuesday night showing instead.
"In talking to the merchants and restaurants, we learned that Tuesday is typically one of the slowest nights of the week, and we'd like to have another reason for people to come downtown, perhaps shop or grab ice cream or dinner before the movie," Kramer said.
Council approved the request. Movies in the Park (located near the Harbor Springs Municipal Marina) will start July 8, and will run every Tuesday for six weeks.