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Houghton OKs central business district ordinance

HOUGHTON — Houghton approved an ordinance designating a central business district Wednesday to fall in line with state guidelines.

The Central Business Overlay District is required by The Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of Redevelopment-Ready Community status. Being part of the program makes cities eligible for match funding for projects that advance the community towards certification, and also gives them access to other technical assistance, according to the RRC website.

Many of the standards included in the ordinance were already required in the city, City Manager Eric Waara said

“We just wanted to codify these in a single ordinance for the sake of uniformity with the Redevelopment Ready Community,” he said.

The district is defined as the southernmost lines of property abutting the south side of Montezuma Avenue to the Portage Waterway between Bridge Street and Franklin Street.

Reasons for the standards include preserving the historic aesthetic character of downtown Houghton, fostering “an attractive, lively social environment that is economically viable,” improving wayfinding and enhancing the waterfront and its connectivity to Shelden Avenue.

The original ordinance proposal also included restrictions on building heights downtown. Instead, those will be addressed separately, Waara said.

No members of the public commented during a public hearing on the ordinance.

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