Black Bear awaits DEQ septic permit
Return to Page 2: Grant Township residents voice more concerns
Page 3: Residents raise zoning question; Zoning Board of Appeals to consider
At the Nov. 14 Grant Township Board meeting, Betty Snyder asked the township board if they were
all aware that the Mt. Bohemia septic system is a commercial entity located on
property zoned Resort Residential and whether they had communicated this to the
Grant Township Board Members listen to residents' concerns about the zoning
of the Mt. Bohemia septic system during the Nov. 14, 2001, Board meeting. From
left are Kelly Coltas, clerk; Karen Trucks, treasurer; Ken Korhorn, supervisor;
Richard Powers and Gary Barker, trustees. Seated at far right are Randy Conroy,
senior geologist for DEQ Waste Management in Marquette and Barbara Foley, Copper
Grant Township Trustee Richard Powers said he did not think there was
anything in the Keweenaw County Zoning Ordinance that covers that issue and he
did not know whether this project would set a precedent leading to problems down
Said South Shore President Tom Collins, "If we can't separate commercial and residential
interests, then there's no sense in having zoning in the area."
Paul Campbell asked John Sullivan if he had any feelings on the zoning issue
since his firm, UP Engineers and Architects, Inc., is involved in land use
Sullivan said that in all the sewer systems the firm has done for Upper
Peninsula communities (both commercial and municipal) they have never had to
address zoning as an issue.
During the Nov. 14 Grant Township Board meeting, Black Bear President Lonie
Glieberman listens to the discussion on the Part 31 Wastewater Discharge
Exemption permit for the Mt. Bohemia septic system and residents' concerns about
Glieberman addressed the local residents at the Nov. 14 meeting, saying,
"I know a lot of you really want us to leave the community ... We really
hope we all can work together."
The same zoning question was brought up at the Nov. 27 Keweenaw County Zoning and
Planning Commission meeting.
Collins requested that this board at least consider this zoning a grey area
open to interpretation by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Grant Township Supervisor Ken Korhorn said he thought the Mt. Bohemia sewer
system, because it is a commercial operation, should really be in Resort
Services (RS) zoning.
"I'm concerned that there's perhaps a precedent in allowing an activity
to spill into another zone," Korhorn said.
Chairman James Regis, who received a letter on the zoning concern from
property owners in the vicinity of the Mt. Bohemia septic system, referred to
the County Zoning Ordinance, General Provisions 2.3, Item 6: Private Sewer and
Water. Regis said he felt this section covered the situation and the sewage
system at the ski hill is a private system. While he did not feel this required
a Special Use Permit, Regis said the Zoning Board of Appeals would have to
consider the issue to make a clarification of his determination.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), will meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2002, at
the Courthouse in Eagle River, to consider this question: "Are sewage
systems which service a commercial enterprise an allowable use in a Resort
Residential Zone, and if so, would they be required to obtain a Special use
Permit for operation of the facility?" The regular December meeting of the
County Zoning and Planning Commission has been postponed to 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 3,
2002 (since that meeting otherwise would fall on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2001).
It will follow the ZBA meeting. (See Notice of Public Hearing*)
Building permit issued for yurt restrooms
Another concern of some residents and county officials is the fact that the
Keweenaw County Building Inspector has already issued a building permit, dated
Oct. 9, 2001, for one of the yurts at Mt. Bohemia, which is to be used for
The Keweenaw County Building Inspector has issued a building permit for one
of the Mt. Bohemia yurts, to be used for restrooms. Some county residents and
officials question whether yurts should be considered permanent structures.
(November 2001 photo)
Jim Heikkila, recently appointed County Building Inspector, said he issued
the permit for only one of the yurts, which is on a concrete slab. Heikkila said
he based the permit on a Pump and Haul discharge permit which Black Bear had
obtained from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department for their temporary
restrooms used during last year's ski season.
However, according to Health Department spokesperson Lynn Tarbutton, that
permit, although renewed for the summer, expired on Sept. 15, 2001.
"We haven't renewed a Pump and Haul permit for Mt. Bohemia,"
Tarbutton said on Nov. 19.
Heikkila said he was not aware the Pump and Haul permit had expired.
At the Nov. 27 meeting of the Keweenaw County Zoning/Planning Commission,
Chairman Jim Regis, who is a builder and familiar with building codes and
regulations, said he was not sure how Heikkila could issue a building permit for
"From everything I see a yurt is not a permanent structure," Regis
said. "I think we ought to go to the state on that."
Regis mentioned he had received a letter saying a court in California turned
down yurts as permanent structures. He added he planned to look into the
Michigan code to find out more information on yurts.
Zoning Administrator Jane Pelto noted at the meeting that the yurts were
given temporary permits, which have a two-year limit.
Pelto said on Dec. 10 that no one had yet brought the question of yurts as
permanent structures to the Keweenaw County Construction Board.
The discussion on yurts is not mentioned in the minutes of the Nov. 27
Zoning/Planning Commission meeting.
Return to Page 2: Grant Township residents voice more concerns
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Editor's Note: See Keweenaw Now's Nov. 13 article, "Black Bear constructs Mt. Bohemia septic system without DEQ permit."
The Part 31 and Part 303 regulations mentioned in this article are under the Natural
Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994, PA 451 as amended (Act 451).
* See the Notice of Public Hearing for the Jan. 3, 2002, Zoning Board of
Visit the Keweenaw Now discussion forums to comment on this
Read the Dec. 5 Michigan Tech Lode article, "Tech
Students Gear Up to Ski the Keweenaw" about coming Mt. Bohemia
activities for skiers.