Houghton County Court Affirms Site Plan Approval by Houghton Planning Commission

A recent local court decision affirms Houghton’s planning commission’s site plan approval for a proposed multi-use development on Sheldon Avenue. Back in September, Ed Bud Cole, owner of the Hall Building, sued the city of Houghton, claiming the planning commission did not follow due diligence when approving a site plan for 326 Sheldon Ave, owned by Julien Properties. Cole says that while he accepts the court’s decision, he says he is likely to appeal it.

“All along my primary motivation, in taking legal action, was always to protect the historic Hall Building. Which is 121 years old.While I accept the judgment of Judge Goodman. Just because something is ruled legal in process, as the judge ruled, does not mean building this building is the right thing to do. It is highly likely I will appeal this decision.” – Ed Bud Cole, Owner, The Hall Building

City manager Eric Waara, is pleased with Judge Goodman’s decision. Saying that the affirmation confirms the planning commission’s process of approving proposed developments takes all necessary factors into account.

“Well it was very frustrating, it was nice to come out on the winning side. But, you know, the planning commission did its job. Internally our reviews prior to that, helped the owner present an approvable plan to the planning commission. But again, the process being questioned, the process worked. There’s a lot of technical legal matter discussed in there, but in essence, the process we have in place, the process that we followed, met our ordinance.” – Eric Waara, City Manager, Houghton

Jen Julien, Co-owner of Julien properties,  says their company is not worried about a potential appeal on the recent court decision. She says the multi-use development will help the city’s revitalization efforts as a whole.

“We knew very well, we were working within the law the entire time. And within the zoning ordinance, so I don’t think we expected any other outcome. We’re not concerned about an appeal. And it’s important to remember this project was approved unanimously by the planning commission. It has met and has always met, all of the planning and zoning requirements of our downtown. We’re really looking forward to showing this community how the downtown can be revitalized. And continue growth, and continue making our downtown a really cool place to live, work, and play.” – Jen Julien, Co-owner, Julien Properties

Cole has 21 days to submit an appeal to the state, for the most recent Houghton county court ruling. He does have two other appeals dealing with a stay order and abandonment of the Braveworks easement at 326 Sheldon Avenue. The hearing for the easement appeal is scheduled for next week. We hope to continue our coverage of this story as it develops.