Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unbuildable Lots Update

Late last week staff from the Village and Rowe PSC were in Lansing to meet with representatives of the USDA.  For those who have followed this project closely you'll know that using the USDA is the Village's first choice in terms of funding for the project, if it moves forward.  In 2011 the Village obtained a letter of funding eligibility from the USDA that outlined assistance that could be offered to the Village in the project.

Since then the Village has been working with the USDA to get a better handle on the specific requirements of the funding if the project moves forward.  The primary area of concern on the part of the Village was the initial direction of the USDA stressing the need for the Village to obtain easements from all existing users in the proposed project for their future connection to the system.

In discussing this requirement with out engineers, the Village quickly came to the position that such a request was unrealistic, and rather that the obligation to obtain the easement for maintaining the on-site tank and pump should be a concern only when existing users connect to the proposed system.

In our meeting last week, the USDA staff agreed to the Village's position, and also strongly encouraged us to complete the remaining items from our letter of funding eligible due to the few projects currently being considered state-wide.  This lack of interest in USDA funding from other projects may make the Village's application score better when it comes time to actually allocate funding if the project moves forward.  With funding of this nature the higher score a project has, the more options it opens up to the project in terms of grants, and the interest rate on the loan component of the funding.

There are three items outstanding from the letter of funding eligibility.  Those three are to complete the Preliminary Environmental Report (PRE), conduct a General Public Meeting, and complete a draft engineering agreement.

Presently the Village has enlisted the help and services of the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) to complete the PRE.  This is being done at no cost to the Village.  Rowe PSC is working on completing the draft engineering agreement and also revising our application to reflect the discussion from last week's meeting.   Lastly, the Village is reviewing dates in late February or early March to conduct the General Public Meeting.

Even after these are completed and submitted the Village is in no manner obligated to move forward with the project.  The Village's efforts are focused on presenting the most complete proposal to the property owners in Lake Isabella South and Lake Isabella Golf Estates 2 for their consideration.  Ultimately it will be those property owners that would be directly impacted by this project which determine if it continues.  Until then, the Village will continue to work towards finding the most feasible solution to this decades old problem.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January's Planning Commission Meeting Recap

Last Tuesday the Planning Commission held its regular monthly meeting.  Three items of business were considered.  The most important of these items was the updated Site Plan for Isabella Pellet.  Last year when the Village Council granted an Industrial Facilities Personal Property Tax Exemption as allowed under Public Act 198,  the agreement between the Village and plant called for them to submit an updated Site Plan by the end of 2011.  The Council felt this was a needed requirement as the original Site Plan submitted by the plant did not fully reflect the scope of development that occurred.  Specifically, the equipment located outside of the facility.

At the meeting the Planning Commission discussed the development with management of the plant and were updated on items that the plant is working on to address the handful of concerns that have been voiced regarding noise and appearance.

After discussing the measures being taken by the plant, the Planning Commission requested that management of the plant and Village staff draft a timeline of steps of when certain items need to be in place and submit that plan for consideration as part of the approval for the updated Site Plan.  This timeline should be ready for the Planning Commission's consideration at their February meeting.

Also considered at this month's meeting was the possibility of including a special noise site plan requirement for non-residential development.  This idea originally was submitted to the Village during the update of the Village's noise ordinance in 2011.  However, prior to including it in the updated ordinance, the Village Council asked for additional review on the part of the Planning Commission.

After reviewing the draft submitted to the Village, the Planning Commission expressed concern over having two different plans in the approval process, and felt that it would be better to simply update the Site Plan review section of the zoning code to allow a greater review of noise and noise related activities.

Lastly, the Planning Commission prioritized its projects and goals for 2012.

A draft copy of the minutes are available for public inspection at the Village Hall.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the Village Hall.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 8th Session of the Village Council Begins

Last night marked the beginning of the 8th Session of the Village Council.  A Session of the Council is a 2 year period which coincides with the overlapping terms of office for members of the Council.  Last night also ushered in a new Council member.  John Eberhart was elected in September, taking the place of Elizabeth Miller who opted not to seek re-election.

At last night's meeting, the Council took care of the normal house keeping duties by electing officers, making committee appointments, and setting the normal meeting date and time.

The Council voted to retain its the previous slate of officers from the last Session of the Council.  This slate is:

Dave Torgerson, Village President
Dan Pattison, Village President Pro-Tempore
Charlie Kiel, Village Treasurer
Jeffrey P. Grey, Village Clerk
Arnold Griffin, Village Deputy Treasurer

Also at last night's meeting the Council filled its committee assignments.  The roster for the standing committees of the Village Council were set as:

Personnel Committee:
Dan Pattison, Chair
Dave Torgerson
Jeffrey P. Grey

Liaison Committee:
Arnold Griffin
Richard Lacca
John Eberhart

By law/Charter, the Finance and Election Committee are automatically comprised of the Village President, Village Clerk, and Village Treasurer.

Other appointments made last night were the following:

Village Council - Planning Commission Member: Jeffrey P. Grey
Village Council - Zoning Board of Appeals Member: Arnold Griffin
Village Representative to the JCCA: Tim Wolff
Village Deputy Clerk: Tim Wolff
Village Council - Airport Advisory Board: Charlie Kiel

The regular meeting date and time was voted to remain as the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM.

Finally, Village President Torgerson created a Special Ad-hoc Wildlife Management Committee to formulate a plan to address the deer over population problem.  Councilman Eberhart was charged with leading this committee.  Per the President's direction  the committee is to be compromised of 3 other members, with one of them being a representative of the LIPOA.

One committee that was not filled last nigth was the new selection committee.  At the Council's regular meeting in December the Village voted to create a "Wall of Honor" to give recognition to currenrt or former members of the community that have made a significant contribution.  This committee is to be made up of one current member of the Village Council, one former Village Council or Planning Commission member, and one member at-large from the community.

If you are interested in serving on either the Wildlife Management Committee or the Wall of Honor Selection Committee, please contact the Village Hall.

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