05-19-2019 LMC’s Fab Lab offers summer camps for every kind of maker; Watervliet City Commission vot

PELTON APPOINTED TO PLANNING COMMISSION… As city manager Tyler Dotson looked on, Watervliet mayor David Brinker gives the oath of office Tuesday evening to Robert Pelton, the newly appointed member of the planning commission. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Watervliet City Commission votes to create ordinance to opt out of recreational pot

By Kristy Noack The Watervliet City Commission voted Tuesday evening, May 7 to authorize city manager Tyler Dotson to create a new ordinance “opting out” of the business of recreational marijuana. Dotson will work with Jessica Fette of Banyon Fette Law Office, the city’s attorney of record, to craft ordinance language which will then be presented to the commission for approval. If the commission approves the ordinance, businesses that engage in recreational marijuana would not be allowed to operate within the city limits. The city commission could, at a later date, chose to opt back in and allow businesses that deal in recreational marijuana to operate once additional ordinances are on the books. Dotson recommended “to opt out right now until we know what the laws are” regarding licensing, state requirements, as well as the effects on local services. On November 6 last year, Michigan voters passed Proposal 1 to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana had been previously legalized in November 2008. The City of Watervliet chose to not allow medical marijuana facilities as recommended by the city’s planning commission. Because the recreational marijuana ballot measure passed last November, each community state-wide was effectively “opted in” to allow for growing, processing, transportation, provisioning, and testing facilities. All facilities and licenses are overseen by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), a department of Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Asset Management Plan update City commissioners also received an update from Dotson on the progress of the city’s Asset Management Plan (AMP). Dotson told commissioners, “Everything is moving forward as planned. The more we get involved in this plan, the more excited I get.” The goal of the AMP is create an in depth list of the city’s assets, their condition and current status, and potential plan involving repair, replacement, and costs. Dotson said opportunities exist in which the city “could realize hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.” One example given was the Inflow and Infiltration (I & I) program, which refers to “clean” rain or storm water that runs through the city’s sanitary sewer system. Frank LaPierre of Wightman, the city’s engineering firm, explained that “inflow and infiltration is quite common in a lot of water systems.” Dotson commented that the I & I program would track how much clean (i.e., rain) water enters the sewer system and is routed through the filtration plant, effectively “cleaning” it again. Dotson explained the cost savings of not passing clean water through the filtration plant could reach 50-75% annually. “We are cleaning a lot of clean water,” he commented. He suggested there are additional ways the AMP would save the city money when addressing infrastructure needs.

Other business In other business, the city approved the payment of $79,358.76 in accounts payable expenses and $49,287.58 in payroll expenses for the month of April. The city also set May 16 through May 18 as the city-wide garage sale dates. A permit is not required for this event. If you are interested in participating, please contact city hall by May 10 to be added to a site list that will be available to the public. Free two-yard dump passes to Orchard Hill Sanitary Landfill will again be available to city residents as in years past. The one-time pass will be available at city hall and must be used May 13 through June 13. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has a new member. Sharon Crotser-Toy, librarian at the Watervliet District Library, has been appointed to the DDA. Also receiving a new member is the city’s Planning Commission. Resident Robert Pelton was on hand and took the oath of office Tuesday evening after being appointed to the board.

Special meeting May 20 A special meeting has been set for May 20 at city hall to review the recreational marijuana ordinance language, as well as the status of the High View Drain Project, as the bid opening will be held Thursday, May 9. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting.

LMC’s Fab Lab offers summer camps for every kind of maker

Lake Michigan College is offering 13 Fab Lab summer camps and workshops for kids and adults to have fun while creating unique projects and developing new skills. From drones and video games to ukuleles and birdhouses, there’s a camp for every kind of maker. Information and registration is available at www.lakemichigancollege.edu /fablab/calendar or by emailing fablab@lakemichigancollege.edu.

Drone Information and Live Flying Session, June 13, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. This daylong event is for drone hobbyists ages 12 and older. Students will learn about different types of drones and equipment, how to fly drones safely, and will take a safety pre-certification flying test before flying a drone around LMC’s campus. Practice drones are included but participants are welcome to bring their own. Any video footage and pictures captured during practice time will be provided to students. Lunch is also included. Cost is $55.