By Susan Carroll
The Lake Orion Village Council held their regular meeting Monday night and the agenda was abundant with village planning for future growth, including a proposed new parking structure on Anderson Street.
Parking Development Proposal
Jeff Schmitz of JS Capitol presented a parking development proposal at the meeting, proposing a two-story parking structure that would be located on the corner of Flint and Anderson streets, encompassing the two open lots known as the Pet Centre parking lot and the former Whiskey’s lot, between Flint and Front Streets.
The structure will house 7,300 square feet of retail space on the lower level and 134 parking spaces combined on both levels. The lots, as they stand now, have 66 spaces combined.
The structure will have the capability of adding a third deck in the future, which would add another 70 parking spaces.
In addition, Schmitz would create a courtyard to link the parking structure to Broadway Street, creating some “synergy” between the heart of the village, which is Broadway, allowing easy access to the downtown establishments.
“What is the direction and vision of the village? We have taken feedback from the Village Council, DDA and Planning Commission. This development will allow the community to grow and not just enhance what we currently have. We took the vision and dream of the DDA – keeping the downtown feeling,” Schmitz said.
“As a community, we don’t need a parking structure. We are 65 percent full during the day and from 4-10 p.m. is when it’s full. As a developer, do we build for today or do we build for tomorrow?” he asked.
Scott Reynolds, village resident, planning commissioner and part of the Lake Orion Downtown Parking Study Ad-Hoc Committee said that it is important for the village to do its due diligence.
“Right now, we don’t need a parking garage but in the near future we may need some of those things (proposed by JS Capitol). We are working on an implementation strategy and how it is going to affect future zoning. The village parking committee and the DDA have to research if this is really where we want to go,” said Reynolds.
“Development will continue to happen and it will continue to push out into the residential area if we don’t have a plan.” said council President Ken VanPortfliet, adding, “I am not in favor of a new tax. Mr. Schmitz will bear the majority of the risk (of the structure.) What portion, if any, will the village share? I’m looking forward to having a public meeting.”
Village business owners spoke in support of the structure, all citing problems they encounter now, and foresee in the near future, with the lack of parking.
Among them was Jack Kabliska, owner of three business in downtown Lake Orion who said, “I welcome the possibility of having this parking structure at the Pet Centre.”
Also speaking in support of the possible parking structure were representatives from Valentino’s Italian Grill, M&B Graphics, Caruso Chiropractic Clinic and Nick Horvath State Farm Insurance.
Village resident Fred Fleming said, “This is a no brainer, you have to be convenient.”
VanPortfliet said he is looking forward to hearing input from the public at the next Village Council meeting on May 28. He wants to hear how residents feel about the structure and the possibility of paying for parking.
“Years ago, about 25 years ago, there were meters and they were removed. So, it’s not new to the community,” he said.
The DDA Parking Study Proposal MSOC was removed from the consent agenda pending further input on the parking situation.
“The Village of Lake Orion is something special, it is worth investing in, as a developer I am willing to take that risk. We have to stay ahead of the curve,” Schmitz said.
Lake Orion Village Budget Approved
The Village Council approved the village’s fiscal year budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
“We are maintaining the same tax millage rate, are keeping the tax rate at the same rate as last year, increasing tax revenues but not an increase in the tax rate, due to the increase in market values of property,” said Village Manager Joe Young.
” I look at ways to continue to be more efficient, more effective and save money, always looking for ways to fund and improve our community. We are here to provide services to the community as efficient as possible,” he said.
The Village of Lake Orion budget includes a statement of estimated revenues and expenditures for a total budget of $12,468,128. Monies will be appropriated as follows:
General Fund $1,797,934
Public Works $518,256
Major Streets $195,465
Local Streets $127,622
DDA Property Acquisition $233,000
Capital Projects $5,510
Water & Sewer $7,654,743
Cemetery Perpetual Care $7,000
Water Main Project Bond Authorized
Bond Attorney, Jeffrey Aronoff reviewed the bond ordinance in regards to the financing of the water main replacement project for phases one and two during the council meeting.
The passing and authorization of the 20-year, 2 percent financing of the $6.095 million bond allows the village to take a move forward to execute and deliver bonds and documentation.
The engineers for the village estimated the project would cost $4.7 million and the lowest qualified bid for the job was $6.095 million.
“There could be a cost-saving along the way, we may not need all the money, and we have some flexibility. We don’t take all the money all at once. It is a drawdown structure, only paying interest on amount withdrawn,” VanPortfliet said.
Water main construction project bid awarded
Fontana Construction was awarded the bid to complete the construction of the water main construction phases one and two.
The total cost of the construction was originally estimated at $4 million but the awarded bid from Fontana comes with the price tag of $5,180,775.
“I’m not happy about it (the increase in the cost of the bid,)” said VanPortfliet.
Hubbell Roth and Clark, the village’s architects, said that there are not as many contractors as there were 10 years ago, and prices have gone up because of this.
Only 2,000 feet of the pipe is available now, with the remaining due in late August. Fontana will start construction this summer and the entire project, both phases one and two will be completed in 2019.
Green’s Park soon to allow personal watercraft
The first reading of a new the Parks & Recreation ordinance that will allow kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and other personal watercraft at Green’s Park from dawn to 11:00 a.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to dusk was approved by council members.
A public hearing for a second reading and adoption is scheduled on June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the regular Village Council meeting.
Unnecessary summer water restriction to be removed
The council voted unanimously to removing the water ordinance that restricts water use in the summer. A public hearing for the second reading and adoption of the General Summer Restrictions as presented is scheduled for June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the regular Village Council meeting.
By Susan Carroll