Houghton to get extended stay hotel amid housing shortage

Sara Kirsch Sara Kirsch Uploaded 24 June 2021

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US: The planning committee in Houghton, Michigan has approved plans for a new extended stay hotel, which now awaits county approval.

The plan was submitted to the City of Houghton by UP Architects and Engineers. The design submitted fulfilled all requirements on the checklist for site plan review. The city’s planning committee approved the plan during their meeting on Tuesday night.

The next step for the proposed plans is to gain approval from the county. After this approval is gained, construction can begin.

Houghton city manager, Eric Waara said: “They went through the site plan development process, got approval for their site plan, so presumably the next step is to apply for a building permit with the county.”

The addition of an extended stay hotel could be useful for the city, which is currently facing an apartment and housing shortage. The facility could provide temporary dwelling for those impacted by the shortage until they can find a more permanent solution. The facility could also accommodate visitors to the city.

This proposal is one of many that the city has recently considered to combat the shortage.

Recently, a public hearing was held to vote on the rezoning of two tracts of land to be turned into a campground and vacation homes. This land was previously designated for single-family development. The proposal was approved 6-0, with one council member absent. The mayor, Bob Backon, and councillor, Mike Needham, have chosen to put the plan to a vote at the next city council meeting.

The city has also added two new proposals to its July 24th meeting agenda. The zoning ordinance committee plans to propose updates to its Houghton Master Plan. The council will also hear proposals to rezone property, specifically zones R3 and R4. This would allow current buildings to be demolished and replaced by student housing for nearby Michigan Tech.

Officials have considered the thought that enlarging city zone R4 could encourage rental property owners to take interest in the area.

Waara said: “So a lot of the discussion over the years is, 'Do we consider expanding the area under R4?' This might be a good test case for that. Does it make sense or not? I guess the Planning Commission will hear from the public and have that discussion.”

The officials' ideas behind these plans suggest that allowing for student housing to be built would free up neighbourhood space for permanent housing to help lessen the shortage.

The city will be having a Pre-Charrette Workshop in the next week to discuss issues facing the city that could impact the long-term.

 

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