2018-05-17 / Life in Leelanau

Heritage Trail users may be asked to not park at Cleveland Twp. Hall

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

Electors may soon find it easier parking at the polls in Cleveland Township.

Following last week’s Leland Public School millage election, officials of Cleveland Township are considering installing a sign indicating that the Township Hall parking lot is for the use of voters only on election day.

Township clerk Jan Nowak reported that on May 8 there were vehicles parked in the township lot for several hours that were clearly not those of voters. She said the owners were later seen putting bicycles on their vehicles after riding them on the nearby Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

The regular monthly meeting of the Cleveland Township Board was delayed by one day last week, until May 9, to accommodate the election. The board agreed by consensus at that meeting to contact a local sign painter for a design suggestion.

The board also discussed the status of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which transits Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore north from Empire, currently ending at the corner of M-22 (Harbor Highway) and County Road 669 (Bohemian Road), directly across the state highway from the Cleveland Township Hall.

Tentative plans call for the non-motorized trail to extend north along M-22 to Traverse Lake Road, then parallel the road around Little Traverse Lake before ending at Good Harbor Trail (County Road 651).

Last year, the Township Board agreed to host a series of meetings with officials of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails, Inc., Networks Northwest, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Leelanau County Road Commission to discuss the next phase of trail construction.

Township supervisor Tim Stein said he had expected to receive a memorandum of understanding through Networks Northwest regarding the meetings. But the township has received nothing to date.

According to minutes of the Township Board’s May 9 meeting, Stein said he’d been in touch with a county Road commission official regarding the issue because residents are still expecting to have input on the next phase of trail construction.

Board members also discussed contacting the township’s insurance carrier regarding the township’s liability in providing parking for trail users.

In other action at the meeting, the Township Board:

• Approved payment of a $6,217 annual premium for insurance coverage through Municipal Underwriters of West Michigan. The premium is the same as last year, and provides millions of dollars in coverage for the township. In addition, the Township Board noted receipt of a $186 dividend check from the insurance carrier.

• Discussed the seasonal opening of the township park on Little Traverse Lake. The dock is in, but improvements are expected on a launch ramp, trees will be trimmed, and picnic tables put in place.

• Agreed to modify a contract for portable toilets at the park with Williams & Bay Pumping, which is now asking for payment of an additional $3.50 per month “damage waiver” from all its customers.

• Learned from trustee Todd Nowak, who serves on the township Planning Commission, that no new business was discussed at the group’s May meeting, but several definitions used in the township Zoning Ordinance may undergo revision.

• Approved a contract with Tim Cypher, who already works for several townships in Leelanau County, to handle land divisions for the township for $100 per land division. Stein said Cypher is highly experienced in the field and will be able to get Cleveland Township’s zoning administrator, Bruce Buchan, “comfortable in doing land divisions.”

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