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Hancock answering questions about proposed zoning ordinance

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock City manager Mary Babcock discusses the city’s proposed new zoning ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

HANCOCK — Hancock plans to put a list of frequently asked questions about the city’s proposed new zoning ordinance on its website ahead of a public hearing next week. 

City manager Mary Babcock said the list could be up on the city’s website as soon as Friday. 

The council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance at a special meeting Aug. 10. 

Only a few people had called the city offices about the ordinance, Babcock said. But some council members said they had frequently gotten questions from constituents.

Councilor Richard Freeman said he had corrected them on some misconceptions, such as that the ordinance required people to pave their driveways. But people were also taking issue with things in the ordinance, he said, such as a provision barring accessory buildings from being within 15 feet of the primary structure.

“A lot of people are saying we’re turning into a homeowner’s association instead of a municipality,” he said. 

Freeman also brought up a part of the ordinance requiring parked campers could not be hooked up to sewer, water or electric. 

Councilors John Haeussler and Whitney Warstler said they had also received questions, primarily about parking and pavement.

Mayor Paul LaBine said he saw the new ordinance as “taking us from a Wild West mess to a functioning municipality.”

In other action, the council:

• Approved engaging Rukkila, Negro & Associates to complete the fiscal yar 2022 audit.

• Reappointed Recreation Commission members Michael Lancour, Dave Dow, John Haeussler, Amanda Jackson, John Diebel, Deb Mann, Craig Pellizzaro, John Ericksn, and Brooke Harris. Haeussler, who is not running in November, will be replaced with a new appointment after the election. 

• Approved an installment purchase agreement for $100,000 to purchase a former hardware store building at 224 Quincy St. The purchase is payable with Downtown Development Authority tax revenue. The purchase is being made through Superior National Bank over five years at 4.71% interest. The city plans to put out a request for proposals with the hope of seeing the building be redeveloped as mixed-use.

• Approved a resolution to update the city’s fee and rate schedules. The increases were made to cover costs associated with offering the services. Costs for a copy of the zoning ordinance went up to $20, or about 7 cents per page. Incident reports were raised from $5 to $11 to reflect increases made by the city’s third-party supplier, Babcock said. The new fees will take effect Aug. 15.

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