ALPENA -The Alpena Planning Commission voted 7-0 after a public hearing on Tuesday to grant special land use permits for a pair of projects taking shape in Alpena. The first request was from PNC BanK to move its current drive-through from the opposite side of the street from the bank, into the parking lot which separates it from The Alpena News. The second request was from a car dealership in Rogers City that plans on opening a used car dealership on the corner of Washington Avenue and Ripley Boulevard.
Planning and Development Director Greg Sundin said there was little comment or concern during the public comment session of the hearing, but the planning commission expressed concerns during the discussion before the vote.
"The only concern there had to do with people using the alley which leads to First Avenue," Sundin said. "There are several blind spots and we just thought it would be better if there were signs with arrows directing the people back to Park Place. We know there will still be people who use the alley behind the newspaper, as there are now, but we hope this will limit some of that."
PNC wants to make a parking lot where the current drive-through is located, but Sundin said it did have a demand of the bank which it believes will help the flow of traffic.
"We wanted to be sure that there would be one entrance and one exit to the parking lot," Sundin said. "In order to avoid congestion of cars coming in and out both the River Street side and the Park Place side. We also wanted them to utilize angled parking, so more spaces would be created, but they said they didn't want cars parked along the side of Northern Eye Optical, because in the winter snow and ice drops from the roof in that spot. We said OK, but that they had to have the separate entrance and exit."
The car dealership will be located in the building that used to house The Medicine Shoppe on Ripley Boulavard. There was some concern about how many cars it would be allowed to display because the location is so close to the busy road. Sundin said a compromise was reached.
"We are only going to allow them four parking places for employees or cutomers and then park or display 20 vehicles," Sundin said. "They are going to have to be able to get to every car to move it without moving any other car. We also wanted to be sure there would be enough room so customers didn't have to back in and out of the business."
Demolition work began Wednesday on the parking lot behind PNC and there are several barricades in place with signs that will help customers navigate around the construction. There also is public parking behind city hall and near Culligan Plaza.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.