Chelsea Community Forum summary

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A summary from the forum moderators of the Chelsea Community Forum’s May 9 meeting:

Another good gathering joined electronically to discuss local Chelsea area events. As usual, Chelsea City Councilors Rick Catherman and Jane Pacheco were available to review recent Council events.  Budget time is upon us, with work sessions planned and carried out. Financial planning is complicated this year since both federal and state income tax deadlines have been moved from April to July. This muddles the state revenue sharing situation. Joanne Ladio noted the Human Rights Commission is meeting, though much of the annual plan is now on hold. The Commission is now reviewing City Policies and Ordinances, a planned effort.

A number of topics for discussion were identified (by last count about seven!) but could be reduced to the canonical three:

  1. Status of Wolf property
  2. Updates on how Chelsea area merchants are coping with the COVID-19 business climate.
  3. Virtual shopping opportunities and compliance with good shopping practices.

In another departure from tradition, we didn’t take them in the order proposed.  Furthermore, items 2 and 3 become interleaved.

We first discussed the status of Chelsea merchants. Access to shopping opportunities is available on Facebook at #shopchelseamich or on the web at shopchelseamich.com. This is our one-stop place for connecting electronically with Chelsea shops. Many business have extensive online catalogs, with instructions on how to place pick-up orders.

In view of the lack of traffic and hence parked cars, Scott Pacheco suggested that perhaps a change in zoning to allow the use of the curb parking cutouts for social distancing during pickup or outdoor dining.

There was some question about where, formally, we are as a community and if we are conforming to mandated norms. The Governor has recently announced a six phase process of re-normalization. Our status is unclear, though Jan Carr thought we could already be in phase 3.  

We turned to the status of the Wolf development (residential and medical offices at the NE corner of Freer and Old 12). Lima Township rezone the property to allow for the possibility of a Planned Urban Development (PUD). Both the Township and the City have had meetings on the property, including a joint meeting. Still, the process appears stalled, at least during the current shutdown. One sticking point appears to be the proposed medical offices. Properties suitable for medical office space are available closer to the hospital, some owned by the hospital itself. Another possible problem is the possibility that Pierce Lake Elementary school may open at some point, increasing  traffic  on Freer and Old-12, already problematic.

We closed by discussing our meeting plans. The second Saturday is suitable for now, but has a serious conflict with the Library’s book sale once we can meet in the open.  Consensus was to continue on the 2nd Saturday during the lockdown, but reconsider when we’re once again able to meet in person.  Many of us have grown used to the convenience of a Zoom meeting, so we may want to look into the feasibility of a joint in-person/ Zoom meeting in the future.