Two public hearings highlight the Marquette City Commission meeting tonight, May 26, about two influential issues that will have big effects on public land this season: smoking at Presque Isle and food trucks.

Food trucks will be first up as any change to allow food trucks to park and serve would require changes to multiple sections of city code and insurance requirements.

The areas where the food trucks would be allowed would include city parking lots, parks and streets in the heart of downtown. However some of those streets like Washington and Front would only be allowed between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. — times where downtown restaurants are no longer serving food on a regular basis but bars are open.DDLT side view

There is a $1,225 vending fee for serving anywhere in the city or $725 if vending only on private property. The five-page ordinance also includes 24 parking and truck regulations that include anything from public nuisance regulations to a 150-foot parking restriction around any “existing brick and mortar restaurant”.

After that will be a discussion on a smoking ban on the majority of Presque Isle. Offenders could be slapped with a $25 ticket for the first offense, $50 for second and $75 for third.

Memorandums released by the city clerk between City Manager Bill Vajda and Chief of Police Mike Angeli expressed that the patrolling of the smoking ban ordinance would cost $17.92 dollars per shift without any additional patrols. This would come to about $3261 for the whole summer, but Angeli admitted that as people would get used to the ordinance, cost could change.

“It is difficult to estimate the enforcement costs based on our experience with the original smoking ban as enforcement relied heavily on property and business owners,” Angeli wrote. “My experience is that, over time, patrols for this specific intent can be reduced with officers responding mostly to specific complaints.”

Those complaints on the other hand is where the true cost of the ordinance would appear. Angeli estimated that responses for smoking complaints would cost $21.33 per response.  Multiple complaints per shift could cause officers on duty to repeatedly be dispatched to the park.

To help citizens follow the ordinance, two designated smoking area were proposed. The first is located outside the park’s entrance and could cost anywhere between $5,600-$10,600. The other would be near the pavilion. It would only $685, but would need an exception to the proposed ordinance to operate.

Additional costs for signage and on-going annual costs will be approximately $1300 according to Director of Public Works and Utilities Curt Goodman.

The smoking ordinance has some interesting language problems as well. It reads as the following:

No person shall use any tobacco product, smoke or carry a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or match, or use any spark, flame or fire producing device except for those used during a cultural event/gathering.

This would include many types of e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. It could also include using a lighter needed for starting one of the many public-use grills in the park. Unfortunately, a “gathering” cannot consist of only one person but maybe grilling will be considered a “cultural event”.

The public hearings will be bookended by seven appointments or re-appointments for city committees and presentations to the commission. Those presentations will be from the Investment Advisory Board, Police-Fire Pension Board and community members for the Iron Range Roll and Coaster II.

Additionally the consent agenda for the meeting is the largest of the calendar year, with 15 items up for the commission’s approval. These include changes to Craig Street, the Presque Isle band shell replacement and multiple grant programs.

Nine of the 15 consent items include multiple attachments to the agenda. Agenda attachments are not provided at the meetings but are available online on the city website. You can view those attachments HERE.

City Commission meetings are held in the Marquette Chambers of the Town Hall. The meeting starts at 7 p.m..

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