Muskegon to Share Zoning Administrator with Muskegon Heights

Andrew Trzaska | November 29, 2013

Muskegon’s zoning administrator will spend part of his time working for Muskegon Heights, according to a motion passed by Muskegon’s City Commission Tuesday.

Both cities will sign a memorandum of understanding laying out details of Mike Franzak’s work for Muskegon Heights, which can be cancelled at any time as long as two weeks of notice are given.

The City of Muskegon approved the memorandum of understanding in a 60 vote. Commissioner Sue Wierengo was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

Muskegon Heights was left with out a planning and zoning administrator when Brenda Moore was chosen to fill Muskegon County’s open drain commissioner position earlier this month.  Former drain commissioner Dave Fisher died in early October of brain cancer at the age of 62.

Moore had been serving the City of Muskegon Heights on a contract basis before Muskegon County hired her.

The move will save Muskegon Heights $29,000 per year, according to city manager Natasha Henderson.  Muskegon will be paid $35 per hour for Franzak’s services.

A timeline for filling the vacant position is not clear at this time.

Franzak will spend four hours at City Hall in Muskegon Heights every two weeks, allowing residents and staff to meet with him in person. According to Muskegon city documents, the total amount of time that Franzak will spend working on matters in Muskegon Heights will be a “minimum of six hours every two weeks and a maximum of six hours every week”, including the office hours.

Among other responsibilities outlined in the memorandum, Franzak will conduct site plan reviews, review land use applications, and support the Muskegon Heights Planning Commission as well as its Zoning Board of Appeals.

City planning director Cathy Brubaker-Clarke was optimistic that the cities would be able to share the one zoning administrator without Franzek short-changing either city on time.

“We think with the limited hours, we will be able to supply that,” said Brubaker-Clarke

Muskegon and Muskegon Heights are not the first two neighboring cities in West Michigan to share a zoning administrator. In 2012, Kalamazoo Township and Oshtemo Township agreed to share the services of Greg Milliken for their zoning needs.

 

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst