The Cass City village council hosted seven public hearings at its May 24th meeting.

The hearings were for amendments or definitions for zoning ordinances covering everything from home occupations to fences in residential districts to membrane structures.

The effort also included rescinding the zoning ordinance governing farms – the village no longer has any farms within its borders.

The hearings, and the subsequent approvals of all of those changes, were part of a process that village officials hope will earn Cass City a Redevelopment Ready Community designation from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. RRC certification, according to the MEDC, is a formal recognition that a community has a vision for the future and the fundamental practices in place to get there. To become certified, a community must demonstrate that all RRC best practices have been met. Once certified, communities have access to additional technical assistance and opportunities to showcase their community to potential developers.

As part of the process, the village also has updated its master plan and updated the zoning ordinance, posted online through the Clearzoning format thanks to the Giffels Webster firm, based in Birmingham and Washington Township.

“We knew it had been a while and there were some concerns with planning commission and the village council regarding certain items within that (zoning) ordinance,” village manager Deb Powell said. “… We knew, hey, we have to fix this.”

Monday’s changes were just the first batch. The next batch will include things to make the village meet RRC criteria, including adding such things as green spaces and environmental issues, that weren’t in the existing zoning ordinance. Another is parking management, as is adding in some housing options, like town houses, that aren’t in the ordinance.

After that, Powell said, the village plans to examine the downtown and zoning there to decide what is best. Among those topics will be housing and mixed use.

“There will be conversations about that,” she said, “and whether it progresses to the point of amending our zoning ordinance is yet to be determined.”

The work, she added, “is just updating it (the ordinance) and making it more current with items we might not have had.” For instance, they are reexamining the parking requirements and how variances are handled.

The entire review and amendment process, she said, will take 12-18 months to complete.

The village council also:

■ Approved the “modified opinion” – the highest designation available – for its 2020 audit from its auditors at Anderson, Tuckey, Bernhardt and Doran of Caro.

■ Approved the $25,652 purchase of a four-wheel-drive pickup truck through the state purchasing program and Signature Ford of Owosso and $5,014 in additional sewer-main-cleaning equipment from MTECH of Cleveland, Ohio, for the vac truck. The pickup truck will replace a 1999 Chevrolet pickup.

■ Approved the agreement with DTE energy for 11 new light-emitting diode (LED) street lights for the Northwood Circle and Beechwood Drive neighborhoods. The lights will cost $37,063.77 but will cut the village’s annual energy costs from $19,000 a year to $2,925. If that holds true, the village will recover its investment in less than 2½ years.

■ Set fee schedules for the Helen Stevens Memorial Pool, the water park and the summer camp. The pool and splash pad will go from $3 to $5 per day for an individual and from $10 to $15 per day for a family. The season pass was raised from $60 to $65 for an individual and from $100 for two people to $110 for two people. The summer camp will remain $12 per day per child or $250 for the season per child for residents; $16 per day per child and $300 per season per child for non-residents.

■ Approved a variance to allow Bridget and Charles Parsell to keep six laying chickens – no roosters allowed – at their Third Street home in the village. The village retains the ability to revoke the variance if any additional issues arise.

■ Set the 2021 tax levy at 18.0851 mills.