City approves variance request for new church

by Angie Asam-Staff Writer

The Onaway City Commission met Tuesday morning and held a public hearing in consideration of some variances that would allow The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ to operate a church from the former Presque Isle Academy building on M-68 and the vacant lot that was the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) building on Michigan Avenue.

Last month the city granted variances to the same church and the planning commission granted special use permits to them as they planned to open a church in the former Tom’s IGA building. However, in discussions with the Presque Isle County building inspector the church learned that expensive changes would have had to be made to that building for them to meet the building code for churches.

No public comment was given and no written comment was submitted as the city approved the two variances. The parcel has only 100 feet of lot width, less than the 150 feet required for churches and the lot is 1.06 acres in area, less than the two acres required of churches. The city approved those variances.

A negative side to the approval of the variances is that it takes the property off the tax roll, resulting in the loss of about $1,300 in revenue for the city. But the building would be occupied instead of vacant and the people that go to church there might also go to restaurants, stores and other businesses, which could help boost the economy.

IN OTHER CITY COMMISSION NEWS:

• The city applied for $14,000 to burn down some blighted property it had received through the tax auction. Sampling of the properties at 3785 South Third and 3867 South Veterans revealed no asbestos, thus the $7,000 of that money that was earmarked for asbestos removal is now available. With that the city would like to add another parcel, the large house on the corner of South Lynn and Elsden, to the demolition list. County treasurer Bridget LaLonde is looking into how she can deed the property over to the city now that the timeline for the city to gain the property has passed. If she is able to find a way to deed it to the city it will be added to the demolition list and be torn down.

• The Department of Public Works is having some issues with one of its zero-turn lawnmowers as it no longer turns left. The city commission approved the purchase of a Kubota ZG227 from Ginop’s Sales and Service for $6,500 after the trade-in of the city’s 2006 Country Clipper and 1999 New Holland.