RC council approves clearing at North Shore Park

ROGERS CITY — The Rogers City City Council approved a request from the Up North 23 restaurant to remove some vegetation from the beach in North Shore Park along Lake Huron.

“There is 1,100 feet of beach,” City Manager Joe Hefele said. “You’ve got the restaurant, the inn, and the motel and they’re all important businesses. The thought is, if there is a few areas that are more user-friendly where you can seat chairs, it opens it up for weddings.”

He noted it also serves as a usable beach for bike riders and people who live on that part of town.

“I have no thought of distributing all 1,100 feet,” the city manager told the council. “What we’re talking about is a small portion of it. That’s the request in front of you.”

The request was to remove vegetation and create a level spot for weddings to be conducted for people who have disabilities, to prevent tripping and falling he said.

“It’s a three-acre park and 1,100 feet of lake frontage,” Hefele said. “What we’re talking about is about 60 feet. It might also be advantageous another 60 feet closer to where the fire pits are by the (Driftwood) motel.”

Hefele said there was not a request from the Driftwood Motel to clear out any beach, but he suggested they clear out another 60 feet near the fire pits to make it more user-friendly.

“I think if a request comes in from the Driftwood (they’ll clear out near the fire pits),” said Mayor Scott McLennan. “I think we’ll just be acting on the request from the Up North 23 venue.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Bielas said he supports the idea. The vote to approve the request was unanimous, with Council Member Gary Nowak absent.

Cindy Vezinau, a city resident and owner of the Purple Martin Inn, asked the council during public comment why the city was on the beach, and if they had permits for the work that was done there. She noted there were concerns as to why there was surveying work at the beach.

Hefele said the city surveyed the beach to make sure its crews were working within limits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which both limit work that can be done along the shoreline.

“The MEDQ recommended we have the property surveyed,” Hefele said. “The MDEQ has a high water mark and the Army Corps of Engineers has a different high water mark. The MDEQ high water mark is 580.5 feet elevation the Army Corp of Engineers high water is 581 above sea level.”

He said if the city was within the high water mark of MDEQ and Army Corp of Engineers.

“You would need to pull a permit to do any work from those two agencies if you’re outside of the high water mark,” he said.

Since they’re within the high water mark of both, it’s under local control and no permits are needed, Hefele said.

Jordan Spence can be reached at jspence@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5687.