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The Chelsea City Council voted on Tuesday, Sept. 5 to hold a work session with the Chelsea Human Right Commission (HRC) on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. to discuss changes to the commission’s bylaws.

After reviewing and discussing the document in August, several city council members proposed changes to the bylaws, and following a recent HRC meeting, more changes were proposed by the committee.

To better ensure that everyone’s questions were answered at one time, City Council members voted to set a work session that would bring everyone together to discuss all the changes before taking final action on the bylaws and complaint form.

The City Council also unanimously approved a request to issue a request for proposals by the parks and recreation steering committee to make improvements to Pierce Park.

Among the services are both short-term and long-term design features that take into account the natural features of the park. Among the enhancements proposed are more seating, improved lighting, maintenance and a new roof for the gazebo on the short-term list and new play structures and a permanent restroom on the long-term list.

Also approved were the payment of $30,000 in lawyer’s fees for the consent judgment with Sylvan Township, and an amendment to the city manager’s contract that extends current City Manager John Hanifan’s contract through 2021. It would also allow for 9-months of severance pay under certain conditions.

The City Council also unanimously approved on first reading an amendment to the zoning regulations in the Central Business District.

The text change reads: “Manufacturing of beverages when it is in combination with a permitted use such as indoor retail sales and an establishment serving alcoholic beverages (tasting room) or a place of assembly (special event space). The amount of floor space allowed to be used by the manufacturing activities will be determines on a permit by permit basis depending on the size and nature of the building.”

The change adds a new special use in the CBD, something needed by Ugly Dog Distillery, LLC, which plans to move downtown and not only manufacture spirits but also offer a tasting room and special events.

The change has already been approved by the Planning Commission.

David Salmon, a representative from Ugly Dog, drove from Kentucky to attend the meeting and said, “We are very pleased to be part of the Chelsea Community and we want to build a craft visitor’s distillery with a tasting room.”

Two City Council members expressed concerns that there was not a set percentage of floor space or a square footage specified for manufacturing in the text change.

The City Council also approved Oct. 2 for an industrial facilities tax exemption public hearing for a request by Gestamp North America, which is currently upgrading the former Jaytec plant at 5800 Sibley Road.

to watch the full meeting, please click here.

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