2017-08-09 / News

City of Lapeer takes measures to improve building department

Officials also move to initiate Youth Council
BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 •

LAPEER — Changes have been made, and more are likely to come to the Lapeer Building Dept. following a recent special workshop session regarding the operation of the 10-yearold department.

And matters appear to be on the mend between the department and at least one formerly disgruntled business owner.

Monday evening Lapeer City Manager Dale Kerbyson informed the Lapeer City Commission that he’s preparing specifications and conducting research before he comes to the city commission at a future meeting with a package to put out to bid in order for the city to hire an outside consultant to review the city’s building department. The commission had expressed an interest to hire a consultant to review the city’s permit and inspection fee schedule to assess how it compares to like-size communities and the Construction Code Authority.

The commission at the July workshop meeting heard complaints from city officials, contractors and landlords regarding the cost and necessity of some permit and inspections required by the Lapeer Building Dept., as well as the cost associated with those inspections and permits.

In response to a criticism that the building department didn’t open early enough to meet the need of contractors, the department now opens for business at 7 a.m.

Officials also reported that there appears to be resolve to a complaint aired by Karen Reame, owner of All About Nails in the Lyric Mall that she was being required to install a costly ventilation system she felt was unnecessary and was hurting her opportunity to make money in the new business. Building Dept. Director Darryl Oliver and the owner have identified a less costly air purification system that will allow her to receive an occupancy permit.

Commissioner Debbie Marquardt has visited with Reame since the workshop session and believes the remedy will allow the upstart nail salon to affordably operate an air purification system Oliver said was necessary owing to the strong odors found in the nail salon operation. “With this new system they found it looks like it’s going to work out. She’s very pleased to have an official business in the city,” said Marquardt.

Casey Carpenter, owner of Lapeerbased Timbergate Construction, attended Monday’s meeting and offered his professional assistance should the City need it to review the building department or ask questions of him from his perspective. Carpenter wasn’t at the workshop session, though read about the meeting in The County Press and wanted to lend a hand if he could be of any assistance.

A member of the Michigan Home Builders Association, Carpenter said the City of Lapeer is not alone in its efforts to streamline and make its building department more user-friendly and efficient. “I want to see Lapeer go forward. I’ve currently got five projects underway in the city. I work with Darryl all the time and have no issues with him, but I read that some people do,” said Carpenter.

In other business:

• The Commission introduced a Youth Council Ordinance toward the organization of an eventual Youth Council — whose mission would be to serve as a conduit between local government and their younger constituents and help create a network for the exchange of ideas between city government and youth in the community.

The Youth Council idea was the collaborative brainchild of Commissioner Joshua Atwood and James Alt, director of the Lapeer Downtown Development Authority with support by other city officials.

The proposed Youth Council would consist of seven to 11 members. The youth members, who would be appointed by the mayor, would be an actively enrolled ninth-, tenth- or eleventh grade student. Purpose of the Youth Council would be to give voices to the city’s youth population so that they would have a means to bring issues important to them to the forefront and attention of the Lapeer City Commission.

It’s possible the Youth Council Ordinance could be adopted at the commission’s next meeting on Monday, Aug. 21.

• The Commission approved resolutions to honor the service of two longtime firefighters with Lapeer Fire & Rescue.

Honored were Thomas F. Lossing who served the fire department from June 10, 2002 to Feb. 17, 2017, as well as Mark J. Marino who served as a firefighter from June 11, 2007 to June 30, 2017. Both were recognized as individuals of great integrity who gave “conscientious service to the citizens of Lapeer and Lapeer County.”

• City Manager Dale Kerbyson provided information to the city commission should it wish to reinstate a Beautification Commission as sought by several members of the board.

The city had a Beautification Commission since 1983, but was disbanded in 2007 because it had become increasingly difficult to pull enough members together to establish a quorum for meetings as well as the inability of the-then commission to pull together projects.

The City of Lapeer this week debuted a way on its website, www.ci.lapeer.mi.us, for persons to volunteer their services in various capacities to enrich the city — including to help beautiful the city.

• The Commission approved the purchase of a 2017 Vactorbrand sewer cleaning truck in the amount of $425,755 from Jack Dahoney Companies of Northville. The vehicle will replace a 2004 model used by the city’s Dept. of Public Works and Water Dept. Once the city takes delivery of the new truck, the 2004 model will be sold on an internet auction site, GovDeals, and is expected to fetch the city about $150,000.

• The Commission approved a special event request sought by the Lapeer Education Association to hold a Fun Run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 to start at Rowden Park. The fundraiser event is expected to draw 90 participants.

• Mayor Bill Sprague appointed Bill Marquardt to serve a six-year term on the city’s EDC/TIFA/Brownfield board.

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