Fearing RV park, RC neighbors bid on property

ROGERS CITY — The Rogers City Downtown Development Authority Board on Wednesday tabled a decision to accept any offers for DDA-owned lots along the Lake Huron shoreline, despite pleas from residents to allow them to purchase the properties.

City Manager Joe Hefele told the board that the city recently received three offers on the lots located along Lakeview Boulevard. Storm’s Ice, Ken’s Oil, and Darga Forest Products were previously located on the properties.

The lots are currently owned by the DDA and are zoned for low-rise, multi-family residential use. Hefele described the zoning as “a hybrid district,” which allows not only for single-family residences but also adult foster care facilities, parks, cemeteries, and recreational vehicle parks.

One of the offers was for single or multi-home development and another offer was unspecified, which left residents fearing the property could become a RV park.

The third offer came from city residents who would like to purchase the property, have the zoning changed to single-family residential, and sell the lots to people who would build homes on them.

Hefele said the state has the properties listed as being contaminated, but that the city has a grant committed to the properties to help investigate the extent of the contamination and help with cleanup.

Hefele said that, after speaking to officials at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the city attorney, he believes anyone wanting to purchase the properties would need to complete a environmental assessments or assume all liability for the contamination.

“Everything started leading us to believe that the appropriate way to proceed here was, in essence, to finish off that grant,” he said, adding the city has hired a consultant to sample the property. He anticipates the city will get the final report no later than Dec. 1.

Hefele recommended the board hold off on considering any offers until the grant can be finished. At that time, he said, officials would also want to take a look at the zoning to see if it’s appropriate for the properties.

More than 16 residents who live near the properties attended Wednesday’s meeting, several of them interested in purchasing the property. Resident Richard Tulgetske pressed the board to make a decision on Wednesday, saying the residents are trying to look out for themselves.

He told the board that those who live in the neighborhood want to know the city intends to keep the property for its “highest and best use,” which is residential. He said anything else constructed on the lots would be detrimental to their property values.

“They’re good-sized lots and they’re close to town,” Tulgetske said. “We’re good neighbors and we think that we could have a little more control over what is being put on those properties before we sold them. We could have them present their site plans and their building plans to the city and to us. If they don’t meet what the city or we feel is good for the neighborhood, then we won’t sell it (to them).”

Hefele told the property owners that the city Planning Commission would hold a public hearing to address any zoning changes and make a recommendation to the City Council. Then council members would determine the zoning.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.