Source: Sherman Publications

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Planners recommend lake access for 90 N. Main

by Trevor Keiser

November 02, 2011

City planners gave a "thumbs up" for lake front usage at 90 N. Main.

Clarkston Planning Commission voted 4-1 in favor of the proposed amendment to allow lake usage. Commissioners Thomas Goldner and Frank Schoebel were absent.

The issue came up when potential buyer Curt Catallo said he would like to have access to the lake for him and employees of his ad agency, so they can "find their creative inspirations."

Current ordinance restricts lake access to lakefront residents

The amendment written by City Planner Dick Carlisle and City Attorney Tom Ryan gives permission for non-resident professional service businesses, but restricted to sunrise and sunset.

"I know it's not what everybody wants but I think it's necessary within a reasonable restriction," Carlisle said. "It recognizes the unique nature of this property and its position within your community."

Commissioner Jen DetKowski, who was the lone vote against the proposal, felt the language was "too restrictive" and "was surprised to see a two page document on it."

"I was hoping for something along the lines of a blanket statement that said 'in accordance with current lake front residential use,'" Detkowski said. "I don't know if we can restrict or police even this property the way this amendment would. I think it would have a hard time with this sale. I think this lot will sit vacant if these restrictions are placed upon it."

Councilman Steve Hargis agreed it's not perfect, but feels it's something "all can live with."

"Let's give it a shot and then after time goes by and it doesn't look like the thing we want then maybe we can look at it again," he said.

Councilman Eric Haven agreed.

"I think it gives wonderful deference to Mr. Catallo and his case to give him some access to the water that's being used more like a residence than ever before, but with the considerations and the sensitivities of that culture," Haven said. "So, I think it's a good piece."

Councilman Mike McGraw centered his thoughts around the "uniqueness of the property."

"You're not going to put in a 50 story Wal-Mart there, it's not going to work," he said. "In knowing that there is some uniqueness to the restrictions that are being placed on the property and I think that's what we have to go with."

Gerald fisher, former Independence Township Attorney and Park Lake Dr. resident, said there were a couple things residents would have liked added to the ordinance, but we're willing to accept the current proposal as is.

"In the interest of welcoming Mr. Catallo, in the interest of putting this to bed and making this a successful story," Fisher said. "We are embracing this compromise ordinance that was established by Mr. Carlisle and Mr. Ryan."

Fisher said of all the hearings and proposals he'd seen over 30 years as a municipal attorney, he has "never seen lake owners and residents be so conciliatory as we have here."

Catallo, who was unable to attend the meeting due to work, told the Clarkston News, Monday, they'll have to "look at this ordinance very carefully to see if it's still an attractive investment for us."

"I hope any restrictions they put on the property don't discourage somebody from using that property in Clarkston, it's a very special building on a very special site," Catallo said. "At a certain point you have trust your neighbors instead of trying to write out regulations for their behavior."