MARQUETTE – The Marquette Township Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to join the Marquette County Intergovernmental Housing Task Force.
Jason McCarthy, Planning and Zoning Administrator, will represent the township on the task force.
The Lake Superior Community Partnership invited local governments to participate in the task force and discuss the county’s housing solutions.
LSCP CEO Sarah Lucas said in a September 29 memorandum to county towns and townships that the state of Michigan is considering expanding resources and programs to meet housing needs, and that a local government would position Marquette County and its local governments to take advantage of it. of them.
âIn addition, many housing solutions require alignment and coordination between local government units, and an intergovernmental working group will allow regular sharing of best practices, new initiatives and collaborative opportunities between communities. “ Lucas wrote.
At Tuesday’s meeting, township supervisor Lyn Durant said a task force has been formed that includes the towns of Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming as well as Marquette County.
She said the LSCP wanted to include the townships in the group.
“Our laws are different” Durant said. âCities can do things differently from cantons. “
Durant also pointed out that each township is also different.
“The group thinks that if they want to try to get grants, if there’s an established organization – in this case, the intergovernmental task force – they would have a better chance of getting funds, and that’s the only reason they’re trying to formalize this, she said.
Durant also noted that the township would have the option of withdrawing from the task force later if it so wished.
However, she mentioned the possibility of funds being available.
“It will just help us if we want to participate” Durant said.
Township treasurer Ernest Johnson preferred the township to join the task force as the township also has housing issues.
“If we are there, at least we can hear what is going on and we can have our opinion on what is going on” Johnson said.
Township Director Jon Kangas said the towns of Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming have the “Fewer opportunities” For growth. Instead, most of the opportunities are found in the townships.
âI think we need to take an active role so that we are eventually affected by the impacts of this activity due to the fact that there are only a limited number of places where you can build affordable housing in the cities. three cities â Kangas said.
Administrator Pete LaRue agreed with Kangas.
“Everything concerning housing, I think the canton will be the one that will intensify more than the city” LaRue said.
Administrator John Markes said the township should exercise some caution in its involvement.
He pointed out that the town of Marquette has refused housing projects for low-income people but has approved many large-scale complexes that are “out of reach” people in need of more moderate housing.
“We must be very careful with our representation so as not to encourage them to deal with the problems of the city by locating it in the canton”, Markes said.
Durant pointed out that the working group’s discussion focused on housing costs.
âThe lowest cost of housing right now is around $ 220,000 to build a house, but it’s not a profit for the builder, so it’s not so much that the county or the cities want. not have affordable housing â she said.
Affordability is the problem.
Durant said it was not affordable for builders to build a house for $ 150,000 or $ 200,000, or even $ 250,000 in some cases, no matter what community it is in.
âFrom a tax and real estate point of view, it’s going to be cheaper in the outskirts of the city, but right now with the costs – that’s one of the biggest obstacles – is that they can’t build it, then try to sell or develop it, for anything less than a few hundred thousand â, Durant said.
Administrator Linda Winslow said the housing issue also involves the rehabilitation of housing in addition to the construction of new housing.
Administrator Dan Everson, however, noted that the refurbishment costs are “Very high.”
“It’s not just about building from scratch” said Everson. âIt’s renovation. Everything has become so ridiculous in terms of the cost. It will be just as much to renovate a place.
Johnson said the township should be on the task force to “see what’s going on.”
“If we sit outside, we are completely out of it” he said. âThings are going to happen and we have very little control. “