Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed New IBS Building

Last updated January 13, 2018. This page will be updated frequently.

What does the LTYC think about the IBS Building?

The LTYC has been a partner with IBS for more than fifty years, and wholeheartedly supports IBS’s goal of modernizing its facilities. We also greatly appreciate the efforts to address some of the concerns that the LTYC community had with respect to the original plan. The January site plan proposal is substantially better than the original.

The LTYC Board is continuing to study the new plans and discuss options. In any case, we believe it is important that the new site plan be thoroughly and independent reviewed by the City of Harbor Springs, as well as the Planning Commission, to ensure that it satisfies all aspects of the zoning code and state law.

Was the LTYC consulted as the IBS plans were developed?

No.  The LTYC was first notified of the IBS plans on October 25, 2018, a week after IBS presented the plans to the Harbor Springs Planning Commission. To our knowledge, no neighbors or community members were consulted—or even notified—during the development of the original IBS plans.

With respect to the January 2019 plans, the LTYC Board was notified shortly  before they were filed with the City of Harbor Springs planning commission.

IBS owns the land. Can’t IBS build wherever they want?

Not necessarily. The City Zoning Code establishes important parameters for how structures are to be located, and how any new plans affect neighbors as well as the character of the waterfront. The proposed building location is also almost entirely on formerly submerged bottomlands that were deeded by the State of Michigan to IBS, which means that State law and the public interest may also impose limits on the uses of the property.

Is the LTYC primarily concerned about the views from the LTYC porch?

This is certainly among our concerns.  But it is also important to recognize that the impact of the IBS building on the views from a variety of locations in Harbor Springs will be very significant.  It will change the way many members of the community will view the Harbor, as well as the view from the Harbor to the waterfront.

Note that the City of Harbor Springs Master Plan, enacted by the City Council in 2014, calls for rigorous protection of “the two most prized resources available to the community – views to the water, and views from the water,” and specifically notes the location of the proposed IBS building as one of the views that should be preserved.

Other LTYC concerns with the proposed building location include the impact the new building will have on small boat sailing from our sailing center, as well as the effects on our youth sailing program.

Will someone on the LTYC porch be able to see over the top of the building to Harbor Point and Little Traverse Bay?

This is unclear, but we do not believe so. Several LTYC members are studying this question; as more information is developed we will update the membership.

Could the LTYC move the bar and food services to the second floor?

We could potentially relocate our dining and bar area to the second floor of the clubhouse, but this would obviously be a massive capital improvement project that would likely require the construction of an entirely new clubhouse. We have no plans to do this.

Does moving the building away from the road and toward the lake improve the public views?

No. In fact, moving the building closer to the lake blocks the views from the waterfront parks and sidewalks along Bay Street.  Even from the Shay House and Shay Park moving the building towards the lake blocks more view.

Then why would the the Shay House and Shay Park’s views improve because of the new building?

The view improvement from the Shay house and Shay Park is simply because the building is moved further west—towards the Harbormaster’s office; however, the consequence of this move is more blocked views from the waterfront parks and sidewalks on Bay Street between the Harbormaster’s office and the west edge of the Irish Boat Shop property.

Will the new IBS site plan increase safety for Little Traverse Sailors?

This is unclear. IBS did not consult with the LTYC or Little Traverse Sailors in the development of the proposed plan. There are certainly aspects of the plan that offer important benefits for youth sailing, including the expanse of green space along the west side of the building.  The new “drop off” zone in front of the building may prove useful to LTS parents, or it may result in more pickup and drop-off along Bay Street itself. An important impact will be the loss of views from the LTYC dock and waterfront into the Harbor, which may be something of a safety concern.

Are there legal concerns with the proposed IBS building?

The LTYC Board of Directors is studying the January 2019 plans to see whether the several legal concerns we raised with the October 2018 plans were addressed.

We believe it is very important that the proposed building comply with all Zoning Code provisions as well as Michigan state law and urge the City and the Planning Commission to conduct a thorough review of the proposal.

The main updates page contains links to documents created on behalf of the LTYC detailing our concerns with the earlier site plan.

Then does the LTYC object to the purposes for which Irish Boat Shop wants a new building (retail, boat showroom, and offices)?

No. As we’ve noted throughout, the LTYC wholeheartedly supports IBS’s goal to modernize its facilities. We believe there exists a location on their property for their new building which meets their commercial needs while minimizing the harms to neighboring properties, the waterfront, the sailing community, and Harbor Springs more generally.  We stand ready to work with IBS on this goal.

What is the LTYC seeking to accomplish?

LTYC plans to continue engaging in a discussion with IBS as well as the broader Harbor Springs Community. The proposed new IBS building will be an important feature of the Harbor Springs waterfront for decades to come. LTYC welcomes the opportunity to work with IBS and the wider community to support sailing, boating, and access to the Habor for all.