Board considers tweaking codes as township enacts strategic plan

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Township officials are in a quandary over code enforcement, and they’re walking a delicate balance between maintaining an esthetically-pleasing environment and accommodating the needs of residents with differing viewpoints.

Many of the codes are expected to spark considerable discussion before the board of trustees decides how aggressive they want to be on enforcement. No matter what route they take, they say they are likely to receive criticism.

At a previous board of trustees meeting Supervisor Scott Bennett broached the topic of trailers in driveways.

“I received a number of phone calls, and it held true to what I was saying, we will draw criticism from residents opposed to enforcement,” he said.

Many residents said they use their trailers for work, others argued that they only planned to keep the trailer in their driveway for a few days.

“There may be some things (in the code) that we need to tweak,” Bennett said. “We’re always open to the public making suggestions about how we’re going to make that work.”

He also brought up the sign ordinance, which prohibits temporary signage.

“We don’t allow people to put signs at the exits of our expressways selling bedsheets or ‘work from home’ or whatever. But we also have churches who want put signs out, and we have people who want to put up estate sales. We can’t regulate based on what the content is. We either allow these snipe signs or don’t allow them at all. So, we’ve elected to say we’re not allowing them at all. But everybody has an exception.”

Township attorney David Lattie noted that the livestock ordinance is another touchy subject with which the township currently is struggling. At present, there are three chicken cases and one goat case pending in district court. The township allows livestock only on properties of 10 acres or more.

“It’s become more and more of issue,” Lattie said. “The chickens, the smaller livestock, comes in and out of fashion. We’re on another wave. You’re finding them on smaller lots. We’re going to have to make a decision about what we want to do with that because, obviously, some people love them, some people hate them.

“It sounds like a frivolous topic, but there are people who are dedicated to it. It comes around enough, so perhaps you should give some thought to what you want do in long run.”

Superintendent Dennis Liimatta said he will add it to the Sept. 7 board of trustees meeting agenda to go over in greater detail. Code enforcement is part of the overall strategic plan process.