Thursday, May 28, 2009

Burning Regulations Updated

At the May 19th Village Council meeting a public hearing was held on a proposed ordinance to update the burning regulations in the Village. In response to a mandate by the DEQ regarding composting operations, the Village is no longer able to operate our brush-dump site. With this site now closed, the only option on the table for Village residents was to take their materials to Mt. Pleasant. As such, the Village wanted to provide an alternative means of disposal to our residents. While the burning of leaves, trash, construction lumber, and hazardous materials is prohibited, residents may burn brush after calling 1-866-922-2876 to obtain a burn permit. Campfires and cooking fires are permitted without calling for a burn permit.

A complete copy of the adopted regulations can be found at: http://www.lakeisabellami.org/Code-624.pdf

In other non Lake Isabella news, the economic conditions in Michigan have created numerous issues budgets and public service. The residents of California are not fairing much better. A California law passed in 2004 allows the state to demand loans of 8% of property tax revenue from cities, counties and special districts; under this same law, the state must re-pay these loans with interest within three years. The borrowing can occur only after the State Legislature approves of the plan. The citizens of California though are speaking out about what this would do to local services in their community by creating a YouTube like site: http://saveyourcity.net/

In Michigan no such law exists. Where State government can most impact the delivery of local services is in the amount of revenue returned to local government. The program started in the early 1930s and was a trade off between State and local government. In return for giving up home rule collection of certain taxes, the state agreed to collect and distribute the funds back to local units of government.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unbuildable Lots Status Update - May, 2009

Seven months have passed since conducting soil tests in the five plats at Lake Isabella with restrictions to on-site well and septic systems. Since that time the Village of Lake Isabella and Rowe Professional Services have been working to address the restrictions in these plats. While there are five plats with restrictions, we feel that there are only three unique areas. Those three areas are; Lake Isabella North, Lake Isabella Airpark - Canterbury Estates, and Lake Isabella South - Lake Isabella Golf Estates II. The Village of Lake Isabella would like to take this chance to provide an update to the other stakeholders to the restrictions on the work done since the soil tests in September.

Lake Isabella Airpark - Canterbury Estates
The series of soil tests conducted in these two plats showed conditions suitable for additional on-site septic systems. The Village has since moved on to testing and documenting the potable water resources of the plat. In late April Rowe Profesional Services was able to obtain a number of water samples from wells in this area to test for nitrates, bacteria, and arsenic. The samples were sent to an independent laboratory in Howell for testing. We expect to have the results of those samples back in mid-May. Assuming the samples show no areas of concern, the Village will be submitting the collected information from the soil and water tests to your organizations with a request to lift the restrictions in these two plats.

Lake Isabella North
The soil tests conducted in September showed conditions that generally were suitable for on-site septic systems with the exception of the northwest corner of the plat. To address this area, the Village has drafted a lot swapping plan. This plan would allow a property owner who owns a lot that fails to be approved for an on-site system by the Central Michigan District Health Department to swap that lot for a lot owned by the Village of Lake Isabella that is suitable for development. Village would like to finalize this plan with the other stakeholders yet this spring. This would allow the Village to move on to testing and documenting the potable water supply in the plat. As an alternative option to on-site wells, the Village has requested that Rowe conduct a feasibility study to determine if acquisition and expansion of the Forest 2 water system, presently owned and operated by Isabella County, is a viable option to consider for potable water in Lake Isabella North. This is part of a larger feasibility study due back in July. A copy of the Village’s agreement with Rowe is attached which outlines the specifics of the feasibility study.

Lake Isabella South - Lake Isabella Golf Estates II
The soil tests conducted in September lead us to believe that on-site septic systems are a legitimate option for all lots in the three plats discussed above, that is not the case with Lake Isabella South and Lake Isabella Golf Estates II. Our tests in these two plats found wide-spread areas where unsuitable conditions exist for on-site septic systems.

In reviewing this matter further the Village has found at least 4 different studies which detail a sewer construction project to address the restrictions. While it is clear that in order to lift the restrictions some type of off-site treatment method is needed in this area of Lake Isabella, it is the opinion of the Village that a traditional sewer system may not be the only option worth consideration.

The Village has contracted with Rowe Professional Services to develop a feasibility study to address the geotechnical conditions with a series of decentralized wastewater systems. Attached is a copy of our initial concept map and also our agreement with Rowe to produce the study.

As part of our efforts in these two plats, the Village is also currently requesting qualifications from additional firms to conduct an independent review of this feasibility study. Our intent in doing so is to provide two independent and professional opinions to property owners that a suitable and less costly option is available to them compared to a traditional collection and treatment sewer system. Furthermore, with the four previous studies all directing action towards a traditional sewer system, we feel it is in the public’s best interest to undertake as much “due diligence” as possible in providing this alternative option for their consideration. Rowe’s feasibility study is due back by July, and we anticipate the independent review to be conducted by October of this year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ready for the Switch?

The long talked about switch to digital TV is almost here (again). If you are wondering what stations might come in at Lake Isabella, we recommend the following link.

Not only will it give you a solid result for signals you can expect to get, but also has lots of good info on what options you have to increase your stations.

http://www.antennaweb.org