Leelanau News and Events

County Hosts Free Events Concerning Project Planning, Composting Education

By Craig Manning | Sept. 13, 2023

A pair of free events are planned at the Leelanau County Government Center in Suttons Bay over the coming weeks.

First, on Wednesday, September 20 from 6:30-8pm, the Leelanau County Planning Commission will host a session called “Preparing for a Big Project,” which is geared toward developers or local businesses that might be putting together a major project in a local township.

“Have you ever anticipated five people attending a public hearing, but instead there were 50? Or 100?” reads a flyer for the event. “New housing developments, large RV parks, dirt bike tracks, mixed-use, sand/gravel mines…all might draw the community’s attention.” These high-profile projects, the flyer notes, can create a situation characterized by “opposing lawyers, crowded hearings, and organized opposition,” all of which may “signal a need for professional help.”

The September 20 session will instruct participants on how to prepare for a major project like the ones mentioned above. One particular topic of focus will be implementing an escrow policy, which the planning commission flyer states can be the key “to efficiently assemble the right support person or team” of lawyers, planners, or engineers to usher a project through the approval process. “The right team can help reduce legal risk and help chart a path forward.”

The September 20 session will include presentations from two planning experts: Claire Karner, director of planning and zoning for East Bay Township; and Mary Reilly, a planner from Michigan State University Extension. Karner will “provide an overview of the types of projects that may become contentious,” while Reilly’s presentation will focus on escrow policies and how they work.

Those interested in attending this session are asked to RSVP ahead of time by calling 231-256-9812 or sending an email to planning@leelanau.gov. Attendance is free.

The second event is an overview of composting, including how to do it, the benefits, common mistakes that beginners make, and more. The session will take place on the lower level of the Government Center on Thursday, September 28 from 9-11am and is sponsored by the Leelanau County Solid Waste Council.

The composting session will be led by Kate Thornhill, who serves as the founder and caretaker of the Leo Creek Preserve in Suttons Bay. Per a flyer announcing the event, Thornhill “regenerated the agricultural area at Leo Creek entirely by compost” and has created an educational exhibit there  that focuses on composting and soil health.

As with the planning event, the composting session is free to attend “but reservations are appreciated.” Attendees can RSVP by emailing planning@leelanau.gov.

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