PETOSKEY — The site plan for new vehicle showrooms, offices and service center at the existing Fletch’s of Petoskey will face some Petoskey Planning Commission hurdles over setbacks and vehicle display parking in the city’s right of way.
That was clear Thursday as the commission got its first look at a plan which overhauls most of the GMC, Buick and Audi car dealer’s facilities.
Steven Richardson of Peninsula Construction and Design presented to planners, Thursday, Fletch’s new 22,360-square-foot building and site layout plan on behalf the Johnson family which owns the business along with Johnson Buses Inc.
There is vehicle parking within the existing rights of way today. Richardson told the commission that General Motors Corp. is requiring 101 vehicle display parking spaces fronting Charlevoix Avenue (U.S. 31) and the site plan calls for encroachments of 3 feet into the right of way. Plans for the Audi dealership rebuild are not finalized with Audi, he said, but parking along McDowell Street for vehicle display will also encroach by 5 feet — though that is 8 feet farther back from present display parking. Between display, employee and customer parking, the site plan calls for 147 spaces.
But planning commissioner John Murphy questioned why encroachment occurs today and is apparently projected in the new plan to continue.
“... How can that be?” he asked.
Murphy continued, asking city manager Dan Ralley and fellow commissioners if the city is liable for actions within the right of way if it allows the use. Ralley said the city can license uses of city rights of way, and no, is not liable.
Murphy also asked if the city will set precedent if it approves a plan with encroachment.
“It happens all over town now,” commissioner Dean Burns said. “Now Mr. Murphy is asking if we should call Fletch’s on it.”
“That’s a good question. I don’t know,” Burns said.
Commissioner Cynthia Linn Robson asked site designer Richardson about sidewalks, wanting something wider than 6 feet and separated from the road. She asked if there are any standards which allow the city to require wider, and city staff planner Amy Tweeten said the citywide standard is 6 feet.
While Murphy had criticisms, he spoke in support of redevelopment.
“I think it’s a good project,” Murphy said. “I have some questions. “I hope it goes in. It’s a beautiful, great addition to what you have. The city wants you, I’m sure. People in town want you to do this.
“I just come back to, here’s our book of rules and regulations the city tries to enforce, shouldn’t be we try to have people build within those regulations?”
Fletch’s site plan comes up again Thursday, July 19, at planners’ regular meeting.
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