Rezoning Denied: Armory Place stays residential

Armory Place

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – In the first 4-3 vote in weeks, Commission was split on a decision which ultimately declined a rezoning on Armory Place.

Carol Swieca is the owner of the home at 309 Armory Place and said the home is not livable anymore despite her brother still occupying the residence.

“Like I was telling you it is in very poor state of disrepair. It was a wonderful house when we bought it when my son went to college there in 2004 to 2008. However, that has taken a turn,” said Swieca.

She estimated to bring the home back up to a proper living standard may cost her upwards of $60,000.

The Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District wanted to rezone the lot from residential to office space in order to expand about five ft into the lot to reduce overcrowding. Angie McCarther was on hand to represent the ISD.

“ISD has been a good neighbor over the years and we want to stay in this neighborhood if we are able to, maintaining these offices is the desired effect,” said McCarther. “From an economic standpoint, we contribute a great deal of funds to the downtown restaurants. Over the last five years, we’ve contributed over $177,000 in catering.”

The location is ideal for the purposes of the ISD except for the overcrowding according to McCarther. In a previous meeting, she had mentioned they were converting old bathrooms in order to make room for staff.

Local resident Steve Twardy who lives on the street was against the rezoning for a few reasons.

“My main objection is the congestion on armory place, which is already fairly significant,” said Twardy. “And it’s very, very common for cars to be parked all day all the way down Armory to the west as far as, as far as they can go.”

He said he’s had to have the police come on numerous occasions because people have parked in his driveway. He doesn’t think the actual parking lots for ISD are being used to their best extent.

Commissioners took into account many issues including traffic, potential use down the road, and the tax-roll before making a decision.

Commissioners Collins, Kathy Twardy, Miller, and Bosbous-Rath voted to deny the rezoning. Baker, Mayor Gerry, and Commissioner Talentino were for.

The property will still be purchased by the ISD according to McCarther. The future of the home remains uncertain.