Look out below
Houghton OKs site plans for KBC, Pepsi expansions following deck demolition
HOUGHTON — The Lakeshore Drive parking deck coming down will reshape the landscape of what had previously been a dark, underused stretch of road.
Tuesday, the Houghton Planning Commission got its first look at how businesses would adapt to the new space, unanimously approving a site plan for a deck addition at the Keweenaw Brewing Co. at 408 Shelden Ave.
The plan calls for building a new lower deck on Lakeshore Drive, as well as expanding the existing deck.
A staircase will connect the lower deck to the upper level.
“This is hopefully one of many projects where, with the deck coming down, people will be turning to face the lake down there,” City Manager Eric Waara said.
The Planning Commission also recommended placing a planter or some other barrier on the east side of the deck. The suggestion came from a concern raised by Commissioner Norma Veurink, who worried people walking from the east without paying attention could collide with the raised deck.
Planning Commission members said the improvements would be an asset to the downtown.
“I think it’s great, I think it’s forward-looking,” said Commissioner Dan Liebeau.
Waara said future plans for the city could include a downtown social district, which allows businesses to sell alcoholic drinks in approved containers, which can then be consumed within the district’s boundaries.
Michigan created the option for social districts in 2020. This week, Marquette approved one including Third Street and parts of four other streets; businesses within that area can opt in.
A pre-bid meeting for the demolition of the deck was held Wednesday, with several bidders attending remotely. Bids are due on April 12.
City officials have been working on a parking plan during the project. It’ll be communicated to the public over the next month.
“We’re going to be broadcasting that via the internet, handouts, under windshield wipers, you name it,” Waara said.
Waara said the city is planning a simplified long-term parking plan, versus the 11 types of parking permits currently offered in the downtown.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commission approved the site plan for a 2,000-square-foot expansion of the Pepsi warehouse building at 309 E. Sharon Ave.
Waara said the city will look at revising the standards for when a full site plan review is needed. Instead, smaller projects such as the KBC and Pepsi expansions would be approved by the zoning administrator, who would report to the planning commission once a month.