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Supervisor News

From the Supervisor's Desk:

My last note near Christmas time was in a much different world than what we know today. The term Covid-19 was not heard of or spoken. Today, it is the constant on the news, in Executive Orders, signs on our doors and in the masks we wear. 

So, my first wish is for all of you to be healthy and remain so.

Our summer residents returned without incident and fortunately we have not experienced any outbreaks of the disease. The early returnees conscientiously self-isolated. While much of our community was shut down, our grocery store kept open and kept providing food, our pharmacy remained opened, and in our offices, three people remained to handle essential needs. Members of he community have been generous in their efforts to help others, such as the ‘brigade’ that made face masks, the Distillers for making hand sanitizers, and those who have donated money and time. We may not have socialized as much, but we remained together in many personal ways.

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The Blind Line sewer repair has been completed. While the sewer fund paid the $125,000 bill, we need to seek outside funding to replenish the sewer fund. 

The increase in quarterly sewer rates, however, is because of increasing costs from normal use of our sewer system. Last year the Seer Advisory Board (SAB) recognized we were not keeping up with costs and instituted a plan to increase rates over a two-year period. However, into this second year the proposed rate increase was just not enough, and we risked falling further behind if we didn’t step in now. The increase will go into effect in September 2020 and you can read about it in detail on the homepage of our website.

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Our Cedarville Harbor facility has been busy in its first year of operation and appears to be a big hit among the boating public. We believe this will help our local businesses in Cedarville and complement our Hessel Marina as well.

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The Recreation Committee is gathering again with an expanded list of members and new enthusiasm for healthy and safe recreation for all residents and visitors. Our broad array of recreational activities makes Les Cheneaux an attractive site for all-season recreation and outdoor enjoyment, two elements that are key means to help the fight against Covid-19.

We’ve submitted a grant request to the DNR to conduct an engineering study for a mountain bike trail at Peek-a-boo Hill.

The Committee will discuss signage and exploration of the off-road bike path between Hessel and Cedarville.

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We are looking more closely at the issues of short-term rentals and a noise ordinance. Short-term rentals through such agencies as Airb&b, VRBO, Homeaway, etc. do bring in many people who may have never been here before and help boost our tourism economy. Unfortunately, some renters have abused that opportunity and we are compelled to examine its service to protect our residents. The Planning Commission is hosting a public hearing on August 5 to receive your comments about short-term rentals as a step in adding ‘short-term rentals’ in our zoning ordinance.

Renting one’s home for more than 2 weeks is considered a commercial activity and monies collected are a business income by both federal and state governments. Any commercial activity in a residential zone now requires a Special Land Use Permit in Clark Township. Defining permit criteria for short-term rentals in our ordinance will enhance both public safety and enforcement activities.

Also, The Planning Commission is looking to refine the noise ordinance to help address excessive and unwarranted noise, as most of our residents enjoy the peace and quiet we know. While celebratory noise surrounding the holidays is understandable, it also has its limits. Regulating noise is not an easy task and we will have differing opinions as to what constitutes noise. Some like loud music, others do not. Finding a ‘balance’ or at the least some levels of agreement will not be an easy task. Please feel free to submit your ideas and concerns to the Planning Commission.

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The effects of stay-at-home orders and the limiting of crowd sizes within our establishments owing to the pandemic has hurt them economically. I encourage you to support them as best you can. It will be a quiet August without the Boat Show. However, the Swim-Run Odyssey is still on for Saturday August 22. There will be stipulations imposed for social distancing and mask wearing, should their use remain in effect as the Governor’s emergency orders were extended to August 11. 

Yet, there remains much to enjoy about Les Cheneaux from hiking to boating to golfing, to gulping down a Jersey Mud, or even playing horseshoes at the Heritage Park. Maybe one side effect of this pandemic is it requires us to slow down, enjoy the beauty and warmth of summer, and to appreciate one another as we are in this together.

And don’t forget our Jersey Mud centennial celebration going on through August at all three ice cream shops: the Old Ice Cream Shoppe and the Hilltop Drive-thru in Cedarville, and North Coast Company in Hessel. The commemorative cup is $4, and the proceeds go to the Youth Advisory Council.

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High water has caused damage to some boat houses, docks and created some shore erosion. With winter approaching and lake water freezing, more problems may arise in the spring as the DNR is projecting the waters levels may rise again over the next five months. More information is available from the State Department of EGLE regarding high water issues. EGLE is expediting shore permits working on a two-week turnaround time. For more information and assistance, contact:

EGLE Environmental Assistance Center
800-662-9287

EGLE-Assist@michigan.gov
www.michigan.gov/highwater

Use this web address to see Great Lakes Water Levels from the US Army Corps of Engineers:
https://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/Great-Lakes-Information/Great-Lakes-Information.aspx#ICG_ETH_22302