January 15, 2019  
ST JAMES TOWNSHIP AWARDED $150,000.00 CAMPGROUND IMPROVERMENT GRANT
A focus area for the St James Township board is making improvements to the recreational infrastructure which is so necessary to the economic life of the island, and to the well-being of those who make Beaver Island their home.  To that end, during 2018, the township completed an updated 5-Year Recreation Plan which was approved and which allowed the township to apply for a $150,000.00 Recreation Passport Program Grant.  The township was recently notified that its application for St James Campground Improvements grant garnered the second highest score of 68 applicants state-wide and was awarded the full amount of $150,000.00.  The campground improvement project includes increasing the number of camping sites from 12 to 30, including 10 RV sites, building a restroom/shower facility, bringing in electrical service and improving access to the beach.  A goal of the project is to preserve the rustic beauty of the site while providing amenities that visitors and residents can enjoy.  The timeline for implementation of the project is being researched – best case scenario would have much of the work completed by mid-summer 2019.  The schedule will depend upon the timeline of the State of Michigan and its requirements for issuing the grant money. 

The township also received notification that its Harbor Plan, an addendum to the 5-Year Recreation Plan, was approved by the MDNR following submission in October of 2018. Approval of this Harbor Plan will allow the township to apply for grants for improvements to the harbor area through several state sponsored grant programs.  The township anticipates submitting a grant request for the spring 2019 granting deadline.  The township board will decide by the end of January which project(s) warrant seeking state grants. As the board begins its budget planning for 2019-2020, thought will be given to the amount of general fund dollars that can be committed to parks and recreation improvements.


January 15, 2019

ANDERSON MARINA PROPERTY UPDATE
Ongoing discussions continue between the Anderson Family, current owners of Beaver Island Marina and JA Woollam Foundation (JAWF) about purchase of the marina property by the foundation for donation to St James Township.  The acquisition of the property for transfer to the township has been part of the public discourse for nearly a year; Mr. John Woollam presented the idea in a public meeting in February of 2018.  Since then, discussion and negotiation has taken place between Anderson and JAWF to reach an acceptable buy-sell agreement. 

 Simultaneously, St James Township involved itself with research and planning related to the benefits and challenges associated with a potential gift of the marina property.  Throughout the course of the year, the township reviewed, supported and passed two resolutions authorizing personnel to continue to pursue the acquisition.  One of the resolutions identified the townships intent for use of the property should it come to into township ownership (see below). During that process the township held two formal open meetings and accepted comments online about the acquisition which led to the development of the Harbor Plan which was subsequently adopted by the state of Michigan.

Per board resolution, the Township has identified the following items as priorities for potential use of the property were it to come into Township ownership:

TOWNSHIP WOULD OPERATE IF ACQUISTION ACCOMPLISHED:

Boat Launch

Essential to maintain on harbor.

Fuel Dock

Essential to maintain on harbor.

Sales Office

Office to be maintained, but maybe not as extensive as existing

Boater Showers & Lounge

Essential for visitors. Perhaps have public access restrooms.

Docks

Essential to maintain on harbor, but must determine ‘right size’

County Road Commission Land

Property likely used as designated parking for boat launch

TOWNSHIP WOULD NOT OPERATE:

Car Rental, Car Repair, Large Boat Storage, Boat Repair

Not to be provided by township.

Apartment Building

Not to be operated by township.  

If Anderson and JAW Foundation move closer to an agreement it will necessitate township decision-making concerning acquisition.  The process will continue with an upcoming meeting between Anderson, JAWF, St James Township and Little Traverse Conservancy, which will hold an agreed-to conservation easement on the property.  The township board will hold a special meeting, likely at the end of January, to review and discuss the details of an acquisition plan in preparation for voting on the topic in the near future.  

The township board encourages constituents to voice their concerns and questions by contacting board members and/or attending board meetings to express concern – email and phone contact information for all board members can be found at the St James Township Website. If the township gains ownership of the property, the residents of St. James Township and of Beaver Island will continue to play a role through public input meetings and visioning events.  Public input is necessary in order to a plan and execute the running of the marina and use of the adjacent property.



February 14, 2018
ST JAMES TOWNSHIP RECEIVES UNIQUE OFFER
At public meeting held on February 7, St James Township board members heard from Dr. John Woollam, representing the J. A. Woollam Foundation, concerning an offer to purchase and gift to the Township property on the harbor.  The property currently belongs to the Anderson family and is operated as a marina, automobile repair shop, and car rental business. 

 The offer is preliminary, and the township has appointed two board members to further explore Dr. Woollam’s proposal. Of interest to the township is both the property’s value for recreation, and for the island’s economic growth. Of interest to the Woollam Foundation is the maintenance of a viable and enhanced boating destination on Beaver Island.

 The J. A. Woollam Foundation has funded in full or in part many projects on the Island over the years. Some of those projects include the George and Althea Petritz Nature Preserve, the CMU boathouse project, and the Barney’s Lake Nature Preserve.

The township looks forward to finding out, over the next few months, if this is a project that will benefit the residents and visitors of Beaver Island.

January 24, 2018
ST JAMES TOWNSHIP PASSES RESOLUTION ALLOWING ONE RESIDENT MEMBER ON COORDINATING COMMITTEE  
On January 10, 2018 Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution approving a proposition to consolidate Peaine Township and St James Township as the Township of Beaver Island with certain millage rates. On January 22, 2018 the St James Township board unanimously passed a resolution to have voters elect one resident member to the consolidation coordinating committee. 

 

According to state law, a resident member of a coordinating committee shall be a registered elector of the township that the member represents.  An elected or appointed township officer or employee is not eligible to be a resident member of a coordinating committee.  Candidates who desire to place their names on the ballot to be a resident member of the coordinating committee shall file with the St James township clerk on or before February 7, 2018 a "qualifying petition" which can be picked up and dropped off at the clerk’s office in the Governmental Center at 37830 King’s Highway during regular business hours. 

 

St James Township Board as a whole will seek to remain neutral in the discussion of the proposition and will seek to provide information which voters request in a timely manner.  The St James Township Board is committed to providing factual information to island residents and welcomes input on how, where and when this can be accomplished.  A township consolidation proposition tab has been added to the township’s homepage www.stjamestwp.org under News and Announcements to post relevant information. The township supervisor will be the township’s contact person for inquiries and/or requests for information.  

 

January 15, 2018

TOWNSHIP CONSOLIDATION PROPOSITION GETS ATTENTION
On January 10, 2018 Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution approving a proposition to consolidate Peaine Township and St James Township as the Township of Beaver Island with certain millage rates. See link below to view the complete resolution.

Passage of the Charlevoix County Resolution to put the proposition on the May 8th ballot means that the township must do the following things:

  1. Understand the duties of the coordinating committee, should the ballot proposition pass
    1. If the ballot proposition passes in both townships, current legislation establishes a coordinating committee made up of the supervisor, clerk and treasurer (all of whom were elected by voters in November of 2016) of Peaine and St James Townships.  The coordinating committee would carry out duties as defined in Michigan Compiled Law, see link below.
  2. Set a special meeting soon to decide whether or not to have voters elect resident members to the consolidation coordinating committee.  Gather input for decision through discussion with Peaine Township.
    1. If board decides to have resident electors on coordinating committee, determine and advertise procedures for candidates to place their names on the ballot
  3. Think about how the proposition affects short term township board projects and goals

Township residents should know that the St James Township Board as a whole will seek to remain neutral in the discussion of the proposition and will seek to provide information which voters request in a timely manner.  The St James Township Board is committed to providing factual information to island residents and welcomes input on how, where and when this can be accomplished.  A township consolidation proposition tab will be added to the township’s website as a location to post relevant factual information. The township supervisor will be the township’s contact person for inquiries and/or requests for information. 

Link to County Resolution 18-006

Link to Michigan Compiled Law related to coordinating Committee