Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Planning Commission approves conditional use permit for flower shop

By CHARITY SMITH

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Wakefield — The Wakefield Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for a resident to run a flower shop in her home at 3507 E. Pierce St. during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Ashley Radowski spoke with the board about her plans for the businesses and answered questions. She said her plans for the business have changed and she no longer plans to operate a general flower shop with a store front. Instead, she will focus on floral arrangements for weddings and private events.

City manager Robert Brown asked if she would be doing consultations at her home. She said she has in past, but doesn’t believe there would be too many of those, as most of her consultations are done over the phone. “Maybe one every six months,” she said.

The commission approved the conditional use permit under the recommendation of Brown to grant it for one calendar year, with renewal due 60 days prior to its expiration.

The commission was advised by Brown of some recent legislation regarding short term rentals that has passed the state house and is currently at the Senate.

“There has been a lot of movement on state legislature regarding short term rentals or as they are commonly referred to AirBnB’s,” said Brown. “Currently, all municipalities enjoy local control, which basically gives us control of our zoning and the parameters of state law to designate what is allowed in are zones and what is not accordingly. The state house of representatives did pass some legislation that preempts our codes so that it makes our codes invalid. If the senate passes it as well, the city will have no ability to regulate AirBnB’s. I shouldn’t say none. Very little ability to regulate short term rentals.”

Brown said he has reached out to legislators state Rep. Greg Markkanen and state Sen. Ed McBroom. He said Markkanen voted for it originally, but said that he called several municipalities and said that he should not have voted for that. According to Brown, Markkanen has contacted McBroom’s office about the issue. The legislation is currently stalled in the Senate committee. Brown said he has a feeling it is going to just sit there for awhile. Brown said the legislation has been pushed through “heavily” by real estate lobbyists.

“The city has had concerns. It wasn’t that we were against giving Airbnb’s a fair shake, but the pendulum swung completely to the other side where it just prevented us from doing hardly anything,” said Brown.

According to Brown the Michigan Municipal League has been lobbying on behalf of all municipalities to find a common ground compromise. “We can allow them in all our districts, but we want to be able to regulate them in all our districts,” said Brown.

He said that right now, the city does not have regulations on the Airbnb’s. However once the International Property Maintenance Code is adopted, the city will have the tools to do so. The commission approved the draft of the International Property Maintenance Code during the meeting. The first reading of the code is scheduled for the commission’s January meeting.

The commission also:

—Tabled approval of an ordinance to limit the number of dogs a resident can own, so that new member Deion Del Favero can have time to review the issue.