MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE WEST MAIN STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2010,

AT 7:00 P.M. IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS,

CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

Chairperson Black called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

 

1.  Roll Call

     PRESENT:        Jacinth Black, Tim Lichtenwald, Richard Osburn, and Mike Storey,

                                                                       

     ABSENT:           Ed Saunders

     VACANCY:        Two

     OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Brian McManus, City Engineer, and 1 other.

    

 

2.  Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting on October 28, 2009

It was moved by Osburn and seconded by Storey that the minutes from the meeting of October 28, 2009 be approved as presented.  The motion passed unanimously.   A copy of the minutes will be sent to the 24 property owners in the Historic District.

 

3.  Certificate of Appropriateness

 

Staff report on administratively approved Certificates of Appropriateness (minor) since the last meeting.  (None)

 

4.  Public Comments (not related to agenda items)

 

None

 

5.  New Business

 

      a.   Lighting Questions & Answers with City Engineer Brian McManus

 

Brian McManus, City Engineer, spoke about the street lighting program in the city.  There are about 3000 street lights in the city.  Consumers Energy owns about 90 percent of those.  The city pays the electricity costs and Consumers Energy maintains the lights.  The DDA/city owns about 10 percent of the lights in the city.  The DDA pays less electricity as they own the fixtures themselves.  They are maintained by the DDA/city. 

 

Current budget constraints:

·         Electricity charges from Consumers have risen over 30% in the last 2-3 years for street lights

·         The electric bill is $600,000 and growing fast

·         $500,000 liability to replace mercury vapor fixtures.  This funding has not been determined yet. We have about 1000 mercury vapor lights in the city.

·         Other communities have the same issues and some are starting to turn street lights off.

 

The standard street light in the city is the “Cobra Head” style.  They are owned by Consumers Energy.  The city pays $100 to have them installed and the city pays the electric bill.  They are spaced typically about 300 feet apart.

 

Some of the newer subdivisions in town have a decorative pole and fixture.  They are also Consumers Energy owned.  The subdivision owners install them at a price of approximately $300 each.

 

There is a higher decorative standard light that is city/DDA owned.  They were put throughout the DDA District.  The funding was donated or paid for by the DDA.  They are more closely spaced and have underground electric.

 

There is another option out there that the city has not opted for yet.  They are highly decorative.  They cost about $1000 per light paid by the district.  They have underground electricity and are Consumers owned and maintained.

 

Engineering staff can approve standard installations with 500 foot gaps, more or less, or other special situations.  Decorative lights can be provided in subdivisions with developer funding.  These require staff approval.  The highly decorative lights are funded by financial mechanism and maintained by the DDA.  These require City Council approval and must go through the project priority process.

 

There are eight (8) street lights in the West Main Street Historic District.  If the Commission wanted to have a project that provided more decorative lights, as those have always been paid for or supplied, they would have to go through a project priority process.  Perhaps a special assessment district could pay for the lights and installation.  If they were to be more decorative, they would also have to have underground wiring.  Mrs. Black asked if they should pursue the funding and then ask for the lights or ask for the lights and then pursue the funding.  Mr. McManus stated that when they go through the project priority process they like to see where the funding is coming from.

 

Some communities are doing solar fixtures but that is an emerging technology in Michigan.  The City of Midland has not done anything with solar fixture street lighting.

 

Mr. Osburn asked if the lighting requirements are different on major thoroughfares compared to local streets.  Mr. McManus stated they are a higher intensity on Saginaw Road than in the residential districts.  Some areas of town are lit up more.  On a 5-lane road, you have street lights on both sides of the street.  Where there are big box stores, they generate a lot of light themselves so there are fewer street lights in those areas.

 

      b.   River Days Sidewalk Walking Tours – Black

 

Mrs. Black has already been talking with the Midland Area Community Foundation about the walking tours of the Historic District during Riverdays this summer, as they did last summer.  The tours this year will be July 16th, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.  There will be a variety of activities going on in Chippewassee Park, across the Tridge.  These tours would only be from the sidewalk.  They would not include going into the resident’s homes.

 

      c.   Residential Historic Preservation Tax Credit – Black

 

Mr. Drummond Black described the Historic Preservation Tax Credit as it applies to the District.  The Michigan Historic Preservation Tax Credit is what would apply to the District.  There are three criteria:

1)    All properties must be in a registered historic district.  They are looking to see if the property is contributing to the historic nature of the district.  The resource can be a dwelling, a park, or an open space.  If a structure is less than 50 years old it will generally not qualify.

2)    All work must comply with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards both inside and outside of the structure.  Costs do not include purchasing of the property or expansions of the resource outside of the historical structure.  You can go back as many as five years from the date the project was approved.  You can also go forward as many as five years from the date the project was approved.

3)    The qualified expenditures must be greater than or equal to ten percent of the SEV of the property.

 

 

 

      There are three steps to the application process for the tax credit:

1)     There needs to be evidence that the property is within the historic district and that it has historic significance.

2)    Project description

3)    Approval of the project – prior to beginning the work.

 

The tax credit – Once the project has been approved, you can have a tax credit against your Michigan Income Taxes of up to 25 percent of the cost of the project.  You may not be able to claim it all in one year so you have the choice of carrying it forward for up to five years or going back up to five years.  You can also sell the tax credit to someone else.  Once the improvements have been made, you are locked in for five years with those improvements.  You cannot do some other work in the interim that would not fit with the Secretary’s Standards.  If part of your project does not comply, you are disqualified.

 

      d.   Committee Reports

 

            None

 

6.  Old Business

            None

7.  Adjournment

       

     The Chair adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Director of Planning and Community Development

 

KB/djm