City commission creates new property standards, updates residential housing standards
Mount Pleasant City Commission created new property standards, updated the regulation involving the accumulation of solid waste and reexamined residential housing standards in certain districts at its Nov. 23 meeting.
Created Property Standards
A property maintenance standards ordinance was approved at the meeting. City Manager Nancy Ridley said the ordinance’s focus will be on exterior issues including "junk, rubbish, abandoned vehicles, overgrown landscaping and uninhabitable buildings.”
The goal is to reduce the negative effects unkept buildings can have on adjacent or surrounding properties.
Property owners struggling with these standards will be offered help and education before receiving municipal civil infractions.
“As with all ordinances, our goal is to first educate and assist property owners to try to resolve these concerns,” Ridley said. “As long as (property owners) continue to be cooperative and are making forward progress, we will continue to work with them resolving the issue before the issue ends up as a civil infraction - unless it's a health safety issue.”
Once this ordinance can be enforced, the city will understand what programs it needs to provide to help property owners meet these standards.
“I, for a long time, have been skeptical of the property maintenance ordinance just because of the (financial) complications it can put an individual,” Mayor Will Joseph said. “However, we have to have the ordinance on the books so that we can get the assistance we might need from outside organizations to help those people who may find themselves in hard times.”
One idea involves using towing companies to remove abandoned vehicles so property owners can meet these standards.
“Commissioner Petro Tolas has shared some information with us about three towing companies who have offered to pick up abandoned vehicles in instances where finances may be an issue,” Ridley said. “We are setting up a process to use that in instances where it may be needed to help out the property owners.”
The only requests made by these towing companies is that people call for an appointment and have the title available when they come to pick up the vehicle, Tolas said.
Ordinance to amend the regulation of accumulation of solid waste
Repeat offenders are now established in the solid waste ordinance. Properties that meet this definition are given less time to comply with higher fine amounts.
These repeat offenders are defined as individuals who have received three or more notices of violation or Municipal Civil Infractions within a year. After a property owner meets the repeat defender definition, these individuals will only have two days to correct the violation and could receive a $250 fine.
The changes to the ordinance on repeat offenders will apply to those who repeatedly allow dumpsters to overflow or do not properly contain household waste.
“I really think this will help the community neighborhoods look more attractive and finally have some kind of resolution to address this problem,” Commissioner Lori Gillis said. “Hopefully, (this will) take back some of the time our code enforcement desperately needs for other situations.”
Updated residential housing standards
The city commission approved an amendment to section 154.405.A that updates residential housing standards in the CD-3L, CD-3 and CD-4 zoning districts.
Discussion on the amendment has been ongoing with the Home Builders Association of Central Michigan. The city's planning commission recommended the approval of this change to update things such as garage locations, patios and roof pitches.
Commissioners Petro Tolas, Amy Perschbacher and Mayor Joseph all thanked the Home Builders Association of Central Michigan for its help in this decision for the community.
“I’d like to thank the Home Builders Association of Central Michigan for their willingness to come forward and work with the planning commission, and be open minded so that we could put something together that worked for everyone,” Perschbacher said.
A resolution involving removing Pango parking signs on West Campus Drive between Vernon and Preston St. was approved. This temporary traffic control order has been in place for about 90 days and is now a permanent traffic control order.
The entire city commission meeting can be viewed on the city's Youtube channel.