Scottville approves request from doctors to move properties into city; Amber must yet approve.

April 18, 2016
Dr. Lewis Squires

Dr. Lewis Squires

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — A prohibitive county zoning ordinance and lack of access to public transportation are the reasons why Dr. Lewis Squires would like to move his medical facility into the city limits of Scottville from Amber Township. Squires Family Chiropractic is located at 414 E. U.S. 10, just outside the Scottville city limits. Squires and Dr. Nick Simone, owner of Simone Family Dentistry, located adjacent to Squires’ business, have asked the city and Amber Township to consider entering into a 425 agreement, which allows the property to fall under the jurisdiction of the city for up to 50 years.

Scottville City Commission approved the request during its regular meeting Monday afternoon. Amber Township Board of Trustees is expected to address the topic during its monthly meeting Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at Amber Town Hall, 171 S. Amber Road.

By moving the two facilities into the city limits, patients will have access to Ludington Mass Transit Authority. The City of Scottville pays a millage for the service, however Amber Township does not and therefore service is not available in Amber.

Squires added that he plans on building another building sometime in the near future to the north of Simone’s building. He said his vision is to increase medical access to residents who live east of Ludington in what he calls the “out county” region.

Through the 425 agreement, the properties would fall under the city’s jurisdiction and would have access to municipal services such as police coverage and refuse pick-up. The site already has water and sewer services because it is along the US 10 corridor. However, whether or not those services would be billed by Scottville or Amber Township will need to be answered.

Also under the 425 agreement, the properties would pay Scottville taxes. In turn, the City of Scottville would reimburse Amber Township its municipal tax levies. The city levies 16.27 mills while Amber Township levies just over 1.25 mills.

“There’s no loss to Amber Township and a win for our patients and for Scottville,” Squires told MCP.

Squires was a county commissioner when the county’s current zoning ordinance was adopted. He admits now that the zoning ordinance is “prohibitive” to businesses.

“If you look at the US 10 corridor you will see that most of the growth that is taking place is happening in Pere Marquette Township and stops at the Amber Township line,” Squires said. “That’s because Pere Marquette’s zoning ordinance is more business friendly than the county’s zoning ordinance.”

Pere Marquette Township and the City of Scottville have their own zoning while Amber Township allows the county to enforce its zoning. Many business owners have complained recently about restrictions in the county zoning ordinance that seem to discourage business. When Applebee’s was rebuilt, for example, the business was required to install a sidewalk, even though the sidewalk is not attached to any other sidewalk. Businesses are also required to have a certain amount of parking spots and signs must be located a certain distance from the road right-of-way. “I want to see uniform zoning along the entire corridor from Ludington to Scottville,” Squires said.

If Amber Township agrees to the 425, City Manager Amy Williams said she will then meet with Township Supervisor Jim Gallie to discuss the contract between the two municipalities.

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