Township board won’t change zoning

ESCANABA TOWNSHIP – The Escanaba Township Board voted recently to keep zoning as is on private property that has been the subject of controversy during the past couple years.

Robert Barron, an owner of property on the east side of N.7 Lane, petitioned the township to change the zoning on the land from industrial to resource production. The township denied the request on last Monday.

In 2012, Barron had built an ice racing track on the property. Township zoning does not allow ice racing. Also, a site plan and a zoning compliance permit application were not submitted to the township for construction of the track.

In November 2012, Delta County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Davis granted a permanent injunction to stop ice racing on the property. The township sought the injunction because of the zoning and construction issues as well as noise, pollution and traffic concerns for residents across the road.

Last March, when ice racing resumed on the property, the township was going to seek legal action against Barron for violating the local ordinance and court injunction. The matter did not go to court because Barron had not authorized the ice racing for a birthday party there.

Later this year, the Escanaba Township Planning Commission reviewed a request from Barron to change the zoning to allow racing. The commission’s decision to not rezone the land was considered by the township board in October when no action was taken on the agenda item.

Barron appealed the commission’s decision and submitted more than 300 signatures on a petition presented to the township in November. The item was tabled until the December meeting so the signatures could be verified.

At Monday’s regular township meeting, the board voted to keep the zoning the same on the Barron property in question, said Supervisor Jake Nyquist.

Nyquist, who disagrees with this board decision because he would like to see a compromise, said Barron has the option of taking the township to court to consider the issue.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,