Planning commission to have two public hearings

ALPENA — The Alpena Planning Commission will be having two public hearings at its meeting tonight regarding a pair of special use permits in the city.

According to Planning and Development Director Adam Poll the first request is by a resident who lives on 111 E. Maple and wants to operate an office business in the residential district. He said if the commission approves the permit, there likely will be some special stipulations attached that the property owner must follow.

“We don’t want it to affect the character of the neighborhood negatively. Things like off-street parking and traffic are considered,” Poll said. “We want to maintain the character as much as humanly possible.”

Poll said if the permit is approved, the new office will employ three people.

The second request is from a homeowner on Ford Avenue. The owner of the property wants to change the house from a single family residence, to a multi-family one. Poll said the house used to have multiple families, but was converted to a single family homestead. He said the neighborhood is zoned R-2, for single family residences, so a special use permit is needed to change it back.

Poll said there also will be conditions attached to the permit, if it is granted.

“You can have a secondary unit, if the owner is living on the site,” he said. “The reason for that is it is more likely the owner will maintain the property to a higher standard, if they are living at the location themselves.”

Poll said the owner has indicated he intends to live on the lower level of the home, and a second party would occupy the second level.

Notice of the public hearing has been issued to surrounding property owners and Poll said residents will be able to comment their support or opposition to the requests during each hearing. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall.

Other than the two public hearings, Poll said there is limited action to be taken. He said he will provide an update on the progress of changing the city’s sign ordinance.

Redoing the ordinance is necessary due to a Supreme Court ruling that protects people’s First Amendment rights that are posted on signs. Poll said vulgar or threatening wording on signs is not covered in the ruling. Portions of an ordinance being used in Grayling is expected to be considered in Alpena.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.