Manistee Planning Commission approves plans for housing project and daycare expansion


MANISTEE – The Manistee Planning Commission unanimously approved plans for two projects at its first meeting in 2022.

The two projects on the agenda were the subject of a public hearing before the commission could vote to approve the project or the permit.

The first project was a special use permit application for a property located at 1260 Cornell Street. Melany Neuman applied for the permit; she currently runs a daycare with six children. She asks for a permit to extend to 12 children.

During the public hearing, Neuman said she was state certified and had a program “so that (daycare / daily chores) is not a cinch.”

As for the public hearing part, Manistee city council member James Grabowski, who is a neighbor of Neuman, was the only one speaking and fully supported Neuman. He said many neighbors, including himself, were not at all bothered by Neuman’s plans and that Neuman was running the daycare well.

Likewise, the Commissioners praised only Neuman and stressed the need for a quality child care center in Manistee.

“I have worked with child care centers for many years with the military and I just have to say that it is really a calling to be able to do what you do. So I congratulate you for taking over in the community. it is very, very necessary. And as I said, a quality child care center is very, very important, “said Commissioner Mick Szymanski.

Commissioner Pamela Weiner agreed with Szymanski’s sentiments, saying: “It is necessary in this area. I worked in a day care center at the university and God bless you.”

The last to speak was the chairman of the planning committee, Mark Wittlieff.

“I agree with all the sentiments here. I think you have a lot more patience (than I do). I should jump out of the basement window,” Wittlief joked, noting the work involved in running the business. ‘daycare.

The second public hearing was for a unit development project to renovate the vacant building at 141-149 Washington St. into 15 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments and a second commercial space.

The architect for the renovation is Cody Newman, architect and owner of Driven Design in Battle Creek. He spoke at length about the plans for the project, noting that the apartments would all have a washer and dryer, be accessible to people with disabilities, and that an elevator and basement were provided for residential tenants.

Kevin Schaeffer, founder of Clover Real Estate Investments, LLC, purchased the Washington Street property in September.

He said he expected residential tenants in the apartments to have long-term leases and that rents would be at market rates, at around $ 1,000 per month. He noted that the units will be around 600 square feet each.

Schaeffer also said that while the initial plans offered to the commission for commercial space within the property were for a grocery store, he was open to other ideas from the commission. Several members came up with ideas such as a restaurant, cafe or pharmacy.

City PC January 6, 2022 Packet by Jeffrey Harold Zide on Scribd

Szymanski noted that “because of the new rules (which the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has proposed), you wouldn’t even need to have a pharmacist on site. You could work with one of the existing pharmacies to have a walk-in pharmacy. It also improves the overall pedestrian potential score of the city of Manistee. “

Kate Farrajj, who said she lives across the street from the project, spoke during the public comments.

She said that while “she was excited” about the project, she wanted to know what regulations were in place for the issues of lead, asbestos and other harmful substances that are often found in older buildings.

Newman, the architect, said city, state and federal guidelines for removing asbestos or replacing old paint should be followed.

He noted that they would remove the paint from the exterior of the building, but that there is a process to capture it all.

“The outside isn’t sandblasted or anything; it’s actually very harmful to the wood as well. So it’s in the process. It’s (a) peeled off,” Newman said. “You can get a Sherwin Williams (peel off) almost anywhere. It’s like a five gallon bucket. There’s a paste covering the building. There’s a movie going over it, and then it works its magic and the absorbs and it breaks. So overall that would be contained in there so that it doesn’t circulate around the neighborhood or wherever. “

Commissioner Marlene McBride said of the plans “your designs look so open and nice”.

Szymanski agreed.

“I think you got it right this time. It’s a good project,” he said.

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