Huron Beach Civic Association

Huron Beach History
Huron Beach History of Community Activities 

Explorer Samuel de Chaplain coined the phrase "Sweetwater Sea" when he recorded in his journal the discovery of Lake Huron in 1615. Those fortunate enough to have homes along this beautiful shoreline want to preserve it for future generations.

Early settlers In Huron Beach established the Huron Beach Property Owners Improvement Association in December 1967. The name of the organization was later changed to the Huron Beach Civic Association (HBCA). A rudimentary fire pumper and a building in which to house it was their early priority.

Meeting minutes from 1968 indicate the Association was active in obtaining telephone service in Surf Park, as well as mail delivery. In 1970 the telephone franchise was awarded and mail was delivered from the months of June to October beginning that year.

In 1980 the Huron Beach Area Fire Department was established. Volunteers had been available previously to fight fires but there had not been an organized fire department until 1980. The Civic Association instituted an appeal for start-up funds, contacting every property owner in the Huron Beach community. A government surplus truck was purchased and a member of the HBCA transported the truck from the Detroit area. The fire department is now called the Ocqueoc/Bearinger Fire Department and is supported with tax monies from both the Ocqueoc and Bearinger Townships. Over the years, the HBCA has held fundraisers in support of the fire department and through 2007 has donated over $45,000.

In 1986 the Air National Guard, in a land swap with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Abitibi-Price Company, planned a practice boming range in Huron Beach. The Association immediately instituted a massive informational campaign issuing 1800 letters to alert property owners. A letter-writing campaign to then Governor Blanchard of the State of Michigan and other elected officials was conducted as well as a petition drive. Colonel Cutler from Phelps-Collins Air Base in Alpena later indicated the proposed bombing range would not be located in Huron Beach. As a result of HBCA activities, Governor Blanchard opposed the bombing activity citing property owners' concerns.

In 1987 the county Planning & Zoning Commission changed the zoning ordinance creating a loophole permitting travel trailers to be used as residences. A petition drive by HBCA was launched and presentations were made to the respective Township and County Commissioners. HBCA was not successful at this time but because of our efforts, the restrictions were amended to reflect that any new residence must have at least 750 square feet of living space, excluding basement, porch or garage areas. In July 2007 new ordinances were promulgated by the Planning & Zoning Commission for the County of Presque Isle. Through efforts of the HBCA Governmental & Legal Affairs Committee (GLAC), the trailer ordinance was amended to allow a recreational vehicle on property without a residence for a limit of 30 days before it must then be removed. A total of
only 90 days per calendar year is allowed for trailer occupancy on premises.

In 1992, HBCA began participating in the Adopt-A-Highway Program assuming responsibility for clean-up of 8.6 miles along the US 23 corridor.

In 1993 the Association arranged for spraying of gypsy moth eradication in Ocqueoc Township.

In 1994 lane markers were installed to aid emergency vehicles in locating residences in Huron Beach. Planning was a joint effort between the Association and the Presque Isle County Sheriff's Department. HBCA paid for the markers.

In 1996 HBCA supported and publicized efforts to increase the operating millage to build a new fire hall and buy a replacement vehicle for the 1972 LaFrance fire truck. As a  result, the Ferrara truck currently in use was delivered in August 1998. The debt has since been retired and the fire department has obtained grants subject to matching funds for additional vehicles. The HBCA has supported the renewal of the 2007 millage.

1999 was an especially busy year for HBCA and the following activities were conducted:
  • HBCA appeared before the Townships of Ocqueoc and Bearinger requesting a water tap-in from the fire department artesian well to the HBCA Community Hall. The request was granted and then funded by HBCA.
  • HBCA voted to join a class action suit involving a Huron Beach property owner who had poured a cement foundation that encroached 10 feet into the easement and thus limiting beach access. Construction was successfully halted.
  • "No Motor Vehicles" signs were purchased and installed by the Association at two county roads that provide public access to the beach. 
  • The Presque Isle County Commissioners attempted to implement a zoning change that would have negatively affected the orientation of dwellings in the Huron Beach area in relationship to the lanes, the highway, and the shoreline. The change would have drastically affected the proportions of a buildable lot and possibly affected easements. The GLAC was formed to confront this threat. The committee proposed a zoning change to R-3, designed specifically for the Huron Beach area. The change was implemented in May 2001.
In 2000, HBCA began a cooperative effort with Presque Isle County Council on Aging to provide senior meals each Tuesday during the season at the HBCA Community Hall.

In 2001 HBCA donated $3,000 for the purchase of a cardiac defibrillator to be used by the fire department. The rural Health Initiative offered matching funds to the Women's Civic League in their effort to obtain defibrillators for every Sheriff Department's vehicles and every fire department in the County.

After several years of effort at the township and county levels, the GLAC was successful in having a building razed that had been abandoned for 30 years. The roof was collapsing, windows were broken, and the Health Department confirmed the presence of underground gasoline storage tanks, which the Michigan Department of Enivornmental Quality ordered removed.

The GLAC continues to monitor other ongoing issues with the Health Department, especially septic tank installation too close to the water's edge and sitting a well in the common parkway easement. In 2007 the GLAC and concerned property owners appeared before the Panning & Zoning Board to protest blight conditions in the area and heavy equipment storage for an excavation company where it was zoned Forest and Recreational.

Residents of Huron Beach have chosen a beautiful place to live. Through the vigilance of property owners who have banded together to preserve and protect this "Up North" community, the HBCA hopes to pass on this legacy of community support to its future generations.

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