Debate over, festival fees going up

Prices for renting Traverse City's Open Space are going up.

There has been a lot of debate regarding festivals and fees in Traverse City's Open Space, but Monday night, commissioners set the bar for the upcoming festival season.

Rates are going up for groups looking to rent the open space.

High impact events will now cost $1,000 for the first day and $500 for each additional day. Previously, it cost $400 for the first day and an additional $100 for each additional day.

Another change is that there won't be a distinction between charitable and non-charitable organizations renting the space. Now everyone will pay the same price.

Instead of a flat $500 fee for events selling alcohol, there will be a $350 fee for every day alcohol is sold.

Commissioners also decided to limit the amount of space available for festivals. High impact events can take over a maximum of two out of the four quadrants of the Open Space.

Commissioner Ross Richardson said it's a compromise that addresses many issues.

â??Hopefully we've done a good job of dealing with some of the concerns that were raised last summer,â?? said Richardson. â??We'll have to give it a summer of festivals and see how it goes.â??

Richardson said the commission still has work to do when it comes to amending the noise ordinance. They'll continue the discussion in the upcoming months.

Events will also be reviewed by a Parks and Recreation team to ensure that organizers meet requirements before gaining final approval.

Commissioners decided to table a resolution for a PILOT request, or payment in lieu of taxes, for a low income housing developer.

Woda Group LLC is proposing a $15-million multi-family development located at 10597 East Traverse Highway, just west of Tom's West Bay. The Woda Group is looking for $330-thousand waived in property taxes.

Commissioners said they didn't have enough time to make an educated decision at Monday nightâ??s meeting.

â??It's very difficult to be presented with something as complex as that without good data and an opportunity to evaluate it,â?? said Commissioner Jeanine Easterday.

Easterday said she hopes the developer sticks with the idea because the city needs to take action when it comes to offering more affordable housing.

The proposed development would be made up of 17 three-story buildings that would house more than one-hundred units.

The Woda Group said the project would be partially funded by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The state requires developers to request the payment in lieu of property taxes for any project it funds.