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Calumet Twp. mulls zoning changes

December 15, 2011
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET TOWNSHIP - The Calumet Township Planning Commission met Wednesday to consider three proposals for zoning changes, but voted to recommend only one of the proposals.

Paul Lehto, township zoning administrator, told the audience of about 12 people the zoning change requests were for two residential properties, lot 87 at 56611 Calumet Ave., and lot 88 at 56641 Calumet Ave., and lots 1, 2 and 3 at the corner of M-203 and North 11th Street in the Renaissance Zone currently zoned manufacturing.

Lehto said the requests for the two houses are to change their zoning from residential to commercial, and the request for the lots on M-203 is to change the zoning from manufacturing to multi-family.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Calumet Township Zoning Administrator Paul Lehto points out three lots being considered for rezoning during the meeting of the Calumet Township Planning Commission Wednesday. Looking on is planning commission member Robert Langseth.

Zoning change requests are supposed to come from the owner of the property, the township board or the planning commission, Lehto said. The request for the change on lot 88 came from a real estate developer.

"It didn't come from the owner," he said. "Our planning commission thought this problem would never go away."

Because of that uncertainty, Lehto said the planning commission decided to put discussion of lot 88 on its agenda. Lehto said the plan by the owner of lot 88 was to tear down the house and build an O'Reilly's auto supply store.

The plan for lot 87, owned by Thomas and Nancy Grimm, who were at the meeting, was to sell it to Dr. Jill Kalcich, also present, who would convert it to a doctor's office.

The plan for the three empty lots in the Renaissance Zone is to construct three two-unit condominiums, Lehto said.

Lehto, who is also township supervisor, said the township board had no concern about the zoning for those lots being changed from manufacturing to multi-family.

"It's the request of the township board that those lots be zoned multi-family," he said.

Planning Commission member Robert Langseth said he did have a concern about another multi-family dwelling being built in the township, and he mentioned that the former Morrison school building has been empty for years and it has the potential to be multi-family.

"Do we need more multi-family housing?" he asked.

However, after further discussion, Langseth voted with the other six planning commission members to recommend to the township board the zoning for the three lots in the Renaissance Zone be changed from manufacturing to multi-family.

Lehto said several telephone calls and letters were received about the proposed zoning changes for the two houses, and all were opposed to changing lot 88 for the auto supply store, and all but one were opposed to changing lot 87 for the doctor's office.

Kalcich told the planning commission members she planned to make a few interior changes to the house and make it handicapped accessible. She also wanted to create a five-vehicle parking area for patients, with access from Agent Street.

"I thought that would be a great use for the house," she said of the idea to turn it into a doctor's office.

Lot 87 co-owner Thomas Grimm said in the past, the house was home to Calumet & Hecla Mining Company officials.

"That house does have a lot of history," he said.

Nancy Grimm said she and her husband have been trying to sell the house for years without success. Some people are concerned it wouldn't be good for young children because it's so close to Calumet Avenue, and others are concerned it's too big.

Lehto said rather than change the zoning for lot 87, Kalcich should consider applying for an in-home business permit, which he was certain the township board would approve.

"This request lends itself more to an in-home business permit," he said. It isn't required the business owner live in the building, either, Lehto said.

"We have allowed them in the township," he said.

The board voted unanimously to recommend the township board of trustees deny the requests to change the zoning of lots 87 and 88 from residential to commercial. Kalcich said she would apply for an in-home business permit for lot 87.

Lehto said the township board will consider the planning commission recommendations today.



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