Commissioner Mike Pardington attends his first AuSable Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Pardington has replaced commissioner Bill Szuch.

AUSABLE TWP. – The AuSable Township Planning Commission met on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and approved a Special Land Use (SLU) permit for a boat rental.

Kicking off the meeting, Chairman Kurt Beck introduced the newest member to the board, Mike Pardington. At the AuSable Township Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 16, the board unanimously approved Pardington to fill former commissioner Bill Szuch’s position.

Pardington hails from Lapeer and has lived in the area for the last year. He originally reached out to the township with interest in being a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, but the position had already been filled.

After filling the position, Superintendent Leisa Sutton asked if Pardington would be interested in filling the vacant commissioner position and he agreed. Pardington’s term will expire May 1, 2020.

After all the introductions, the board dug into a SLU permit application for the Waterfront Mixed-Use District (C-3) from Greg Leach of Oscoda. Leach requested an approval of his business, Seas the Day where he plans to rent out pontoon boats to visitors of the area.

“It’s enjoyable to see people have fun,” said Leach.

After hearing from Leach, Beck said that he believes the request keeps within the requirements of the C-3 district; however, he said he had some concerns and that there would be a few challenges to overcome. The few he mentioned included parking lot spaces, parking surface, lack of dimensions to the site plan and signage.

“That’s our challenge tonight is to find a way to allow you to be successful and not impact the neighbors,” said Beck.

With the original site plan showing 11 available parking spaces, Beck examined the site plan and discovered that three of the spaces are in the right of way and that they were not legally able to allow those spaces. Additionally, the site plan showed parking spaces 1-4  in front of the garage with one and three in the front and two and four in the back. 

Due to Leach requesting this permit for a business, Beck said he couldn’t allow spaces two and four because they would block customers in. Upon further discussion, the board allowed Leach six parking spots at a 1:1 ratio for one car and one boat per space.

Another challenge that arose, according to Beck, was the surface of the parking spaces. According to zoning requirements, four or more vehicles parked must have a durable and smooth surface under them with adequate drainage. Currently the area drawn out in the site plan is just grass. Board members requested that an aggregate surface be put down on the northeast side of the property.

Throughout the meeting, Beck discovered that there was a lack of dimensions on the site plan. The board said that Leach must agree to revise the plan and add dimensions in order for them to consider approval.

Also throughout the meeting a few questions were automatically answered such as if the location would be American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, if there would be a porta potty placed outside or if there would be trash receptacles.

Leach told the board that the boat rental location is a house with four bedrooms and serves as a AirBnB location from May-October when Leach isn’t living there. For this reason, he said he is allowing boat renters to use the bathroom facilities inside the home. As far as ADA compliance, Leach said it is not and there are no ramps or additional accessibility for wheelchairs.

He best explained the business to the board as a combined business where individuals will rent the AirBnB and have a boat at their disposal. Similar to a package deal type of situation. Similarly, renters will use the trash receptacles in the home and the trash will be picked regularly.

Finally, the board dug into some issues they had with signage and ask Leach if he would have some type of directional sign. He said he already has a sign that reads guests only.

After a myriad of comments from board members, the board created a list of conditions for Leach to meet if the application is approved. The requested ten yards of compacted gravel on the north side parking area, one parking space per vessel, revisions to the site plan with the addition of dimensions, a maximum of four boats for rent and approval of a signage permit with an official sign.

After discussing all the conditions, a motion to approve the application was made by Commissioner Ron Janis and was seconded by Pardington receiving a unanimous vote of approval. Seas the Day boat rental is located at 942 S. State St. Oscoda.