Schoolcraft village council discusses sewer system

By Rob Peterson

These signs aren’t permitted by MDOT.

The long-running issue – whether to build a sewer system in Schoolcraft – continued at the village’s October council meeting.
Councilmember Michael Rochholz said the council needs to decide if it is serious about installing a sewer system, because if it is not, “We’re just spinning our wheels.”

Councilmember John Stodola agreed. “We must be committed to sewer as a strategic priority with a budget and a timeline.” President Gunnett clarified that the council isn’t committed to sewer, but that it is “committed to exploring sewer.” Council members were in general agreement.

Village Manger Cheri Lutz recommended that the Council should ask its engineering consultants, Prein & Newhof, to return to give the council an overview of options for a community the size of Schoolcraft.

“If there are dollars in the federal infrastructure package,” she said, “We won’t be prepared to take advantage of it” unless we do the work.

In other matters, the council approved a zoning update which takes effect in November. “The Planning Commission put a lot of effort into this and I want to thank them for their service to the community,” said Rochholz. Changes to the zoning ordinance will be provided to residents in the fall community newsletter.

Stacey Sherman, owner of Craft + Grand and the Beauty Bar, is organizing the village Christmas Walk for 2021. She requested money from the village for advertising, which will include ads in the South County News and Facebook. She also requested use of the park for a petting zoo.

The council agreed to allow a petting zoo in the park and approved $400 out of the Village’s advertising budget to help promote the event. The Christmas Walk is traditionally held on the first Friday and Saturday of the month, Dec. 3-4 this year. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page by searching “Schoolcraft Christmas Walk.”

As another effort to help boost holiday shopping in the village, the gift card program is up to $4,000 thanks to donations. The program will match gift cards purchased through the village offices, allowing residents to double their spending power at local merchants. The date of the sale will be announced through the village’s newsletter and social media.

The council appointed Joe Beck, a regular attendee of village council meetings, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The village has had difficulty filing volunteer positions, so much so that it is considering the consolidation of the Downtown Development Authority and the Planning Commission.

Resident Doug McMillon asked if the Village is able to implement an ordinance against semi-trucks using their “Jake brakes” within the village limits. Jake brakes, compression-release engine brakes, use engine exhaust to help slow the trucks when the driver lifts a foot off the accelerator. This release of exhaust makes a loud growl as trucks reduce their speed coming into the village.

Village Manager Cheri Lutz said that she had tried to stop the usage several years ago, but MDOT would not permit “No Jake brake” signs.

The 2022 community garage sales are scheduled May 13-14. The spring cleanup is scheduled for the following week on May 21, 2022.

President Keith Gunnett requested that the council consider meeting virtually for the remainder of the year due to concerns of rising COVID-19 rates. Stodola countered that, while he is following the data as well, he believes that it is their job to meet in person until the federal, state, or county government recommends that meetings switch to virtual.

Stodola feels comfortable with their social distancing policy and indicated that members could wear masks if they felt uneasy with the rising cases of the disease.

Beck pointed out that the council had just approved funds to advertise an event that is intended to bring people to the community. The motion to take the meetings virtual failed, 5-2.

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