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Development’s preliminary plans approved

November 10, 2020 GMT

A proposed housing development saw its preliminary plans approved by the Ludington City Council Monday night, but not before some of the discussion became heated during the council’s regular meeting hosted via the video-conference application Zoom.

The preliminary sketch plan for 110 W. Danaher St. was before the council after it passed through the city’s planning commission and its special land use committee. The plans by Julie and Todd Schrader call for three row homes/townhomes with an attached one-bedroom unit on the ground floor.

Concerns about where or if water would flow to the storm sewer was voiced by Councilor Les Johnson, who lives mere blocks away, as well as the potential for vacating the alley that also has public utilities and sees quite a bit of use because of Jamesport Brewery and Red Door Gallery.

“I know they are going to put a parking lot on the east side of the building, and we’re having trouble with our storm sewers down here,” Johnson said, referring to the long-time closure of Rath Avenue at Melendy Street. “I guess I would just want to make sure that whatever we do there, that we’re not going to have more of an issue down here on the corner.”

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But when Councilor Angela Serna asked about the potential price of each unit, Mayor Steve Miller questioned whether it was relevant to ask that in light of the preliminary sketch. Serna countered that the cost of the project is relevant to the sketch plan because of the feasibility of the project.

“You’re stopping my right to ask a question,” Serna said.

“OK, that’s enough,” Miller replied.

Expletives were heard before Serna left the meeting.

After the preliminary sketch was passed, and during the council’s open discussion, Councilor Kathy Winczewski said Serna’s actions were “over the line.”

“I don’t know where we go from there, Mr. Mayor. If you take it from here or (the) city manager, but I feel she crossed the line and may have to be disciplined again,” Winczewski said.

Miller said his first action was in July 2019. Then, the council entered a verbal reprimand of Serna for posts on social media criticizing the Ludington Police Department’s handling of foot traffic on the Ludington North Breakwater in violation of a city policy that was put into place in May 2019.

Monday night, Councilor Brandy Miller supported the idea of a reprimand.

“I quickly pulled up the code of conduct and would gladly go through the points in which I feel she violated, and (I) would be very supportive of moving forward with discipline and action,” Brandy Miller said.

Mayor Steve Miller asked councilors to meet with him in regards to a next step.

SENIOR CENTER

The city council has received over the last handful of months written correspondence for improvements or even expansion or moving the Ludington Senior Center.

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Monday, during the second public comment period, two citizens spoke of changes needed for a bigger center. Annette Quinlan said the 9,000 square feet of the senior center is actually much smaller because of the square footage used in preparing meals.

“You have to remember that 6,750 square feet also includes wash rooms, storage closets, custodial closets. So not all of that is usable, and our library is like 4-foot square,” she said. “Just keep that in mind when you’re planning for the future.”

Gene Kyle said the outlook on the center itself needs to be changed, and he proposed a multi-generational community center be created.

“It’s time to drop the term ‘senior’ and start thinking about community and how we can effectively enrich the lives of all the people within our city,” Kyle said. “The time has come and the opportunity now presents itself for us to think more about creating and developing an environment that fosters meaningful engagement between generations.

“This is not a new concept. There are a number of communities that have already done this, and research is readily available relative to the benefits of intergenerational interactions.”

CLOSED SESSION

The council entered into a short closed session for a performance review of City Manager Mitch Foster. Foster, during his report to the council, requested the closed session.

Once all other business of the council was concluded, the council went into closed session. After the closed session, the council voted to adjourn.