Summer ordinance changes will impact students during fall
This fall, students will need to comply with several city ordinance changes made during the summer.
Student behavior was a frequent conversation topic among members of Mount Pleasant government this summer. The city commission and planning commission brainstormed about how the city could improve life for residents who aren't satisfied with neighborhoods between campus and downtown, because of student behavior.
The city is looking to hire an additional code enforcement officer this fall in the M-2 district, a mostly student-populated neighborhood just north of campus. This is due to the high amount of code violations seen in that area. City Manager Nancy Ridley said the new officer hasn't been hired yet.
"We are in the interviewing process," she said. "We have assigned a code enforcement officer to work in that neighborhood full time starting the week students return."
A code enforcement officer is employed by the city to police areas for trash, parking and other aesthetic violations. If violations are found, officers will post a corrective notice on the door of the residence with a specified cleanup time. If the area isn't clean by that time, it will result in fines or community service.
In a partnership with the city of Mount Pleasant, Central Michigan University raised parking ticket fees on some near-campus streets. Fees at the meters on Franklin, University, Main, Bellows and Washington streets, as well as parking by the former site of the Student Book Exchange, increased to match the city's rates. At CMU, fees for empty meters are issued at a $10 fine with a $10 late fee. The city's rate is $15 for an empty meter with a late fee of $30.
Students could also be fined if trash bins are left on curbs for too long. Trash containers need to be removed by midnight the day after collection day, and can't be put out until 5 p.m. the day before. If bins are left out or are overflowing, the fine is $50 for the first violation. A $100 fine would be given for a second violation, and a $250 fine would be given for the third within the same calendar year.
"It will help the appearance of the town," said Director of Public Works John Zang. "We had citizens saying we should be making (the neighborhoods) look better."
Another part of the waste ordinance was a pilot recycling program, which will be tested for one year between Bellows and High streets, between High Street and downtown, and the area north of downtown. The city will supply recycling bins free of charge, but a monthly fee of $1.50 will be instituted for every six people in a dwelling.
Students will be made further aware of changes as city staff walk around the neighborhood to welcome students back.
"During part of this we will indicate the assignment of the code enforcement officer in that area," Ridley said. "We are also putting together a plan so that we will go out Sept. 8-11 and meet with each of the affected dwellings and distribute (recycling) bins to provide information on how (the solid waste program) works."
The city commission has also discussed the codification of the M2 district. A change in ordinance would make it so a M2 lot could not have a common line with or be located across a street or alley from any lot in the R district, which is a single-family zone. Lots that share a property line would not be allowed to have more than four occupants per dwelling, and no more than six per dwelling unit. The idea is to create a buffer zone between students and residents.
If passed, this legislation would also add to the ordinance saying rooming and boarding dwellings and RSO dwellings cannot have more than five stacked parking spaces. This would make backing directly into the street unnecessary for residents.
A public hearing on proposed changes to M-2 will be held Sept. 28.