Houghton city council, DDA, planning commission discuss master plan and more at joint meeting

There were multiple topics discussed at the meeting.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:33 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Houghton city council, downtown development authority, and planning commission gathered for a joint meeting Wednesday evening, focusing on future plans for the city.

The first topic focused on using city properties to handle housing concerns and offset the cost of the bond used in the downtown parking deck project.

Such properties being discussed for this include the city center, the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce building, and the RV park behind the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park.

However, these properties wouldn’t be for just anyone to purchase.

The city says it will not sell any property to anyone who does not have an approved development plan.

“We’ve had people ask already, ‘I’d like to buy that.’,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara. “‘What are you going to do with it?’ ‘I dunno.’ Well, we’re not interested in selling it to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re going to do with it.”

Another topic discussed was the creation of a social district in the city.

It would allow on-site sale and off-site consumption of alcohol within the limits of the district.

The owner of Bonfire at the Continental Fire Company, Julie Cortright, thinks it has the potential to boost business, despite concerns.

“My questions are mostly wondering where the liability would fall,” said Cortright. “Perhaps on us, the liquor license holders. Is it our liability, once they walk out the door with that cup?”

The upcoming second revision of the city’s master plan was also discussed, which must be completed before the end of the year.

“The way things are going right now, everything is on schedule,” added Waara. “So, this thing should be ready for a compilation of all the chapters, probably a few readings of the planning commission. Make a public notice, have it out there for the public to look at, and then we’ll go through some revisions, and that will probably take us right until the end of the year.”

The meeting wrapped up with a look at the design for Pewabic St. following the downtown parking deck’s dismantlement, and how parking will be handled during the process.

A rendering of the proposed Pewabic Street concept, parking arrangements, and more can be found on the City’s Lakeshore Drive Corridor Rehabilitation Project page by clicking here.