Village looks at use of lots

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette One of two empty lots deeded to the village of South Range. This one, next to the post office, is currently being used to dump snow.

SOUTH RANGE — The South Range Village Council started its regular January meeting with a moment of silence for Naomi Marie Fish. Fish, who spent years serving on the council, died Dec. 14.

Village President Justin Marier said the council would have to decide what to do with two lots Houghton County deeded to the village.

One of the lots, next to the post office on M-26, is currently being used by the village to dump snow. It could be sold, turned into a park or donated.

The other, on First Street near the elementary school, has some fencing that would have to be removed, but Marier said it has potential for a community garden, an idea which is under discussion.

“I’d like to reach out to the school district a little bit,” Marier said.

He said the proximity to the school would let students be more involved with the garden construction and operation.

The council had originally planned to discuss and possibly pass the draft flood insurance ordinance, but it decided to table the bill until after an informational meeting scheduled on Tuesday.

The meeting is being presented by representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to provide information on community enrollment and general information about the National Flood Insurance Program.

A session for the general public takes place at 6:30 p.m. in Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center.

The board spent the majority of the meeting discussing the rental ordinance, which is a work in progress.

“Each meeting we’ll keep adjusting until we get it to where we want it to be,” Marier said.

Using input from the village’s landlords, council members reviewed rules on maximum occupancy, parking, inspections, fees and appeals.

As much as possible, the council is trying to apply the same standards to rental properties as homestead properties, so it is leaning toward working on a separate parking and towing ordinance rather than including parking requirements and limitations in the rental ordinance.

Council members were not sure how involved with inspections the village should get, because they are concerned about assuming liability for safety of rental occupants.

Questions from the council are being referred to the village’s legal counsel.