Proposed amendments address fencing, tent sales

FLINT TWP. — Fed up with epidemic copper thefts from air conditioners, more and more business owners reportedly have resorted to encasing equipment with razor wire. But that solution won’t fly here if the township board accepts a recommendation from the Planning Commission prohibiting the use of razor wire in all zoning districts.

That is among several amendments to the township’s zoning ordinance that passed first reading at the township board’s Aug. 4 meeting. The measures will be up for second reading and adoption at the Sept. 2 board meeting.

The ordinance changes were recommended by the Planning Commission, after a public hearing last month. Commissioners held an extensive discussion about the use of barbed or razor wire as a security enclosure.

The issue was raised by Commissioner John Gazall who expressed concern about increasingly seeing razor wire used to protect heating and cooling units, notably in Flint although at least one Flint Township business was noted for improper use of barbed wire.

Some commissioners wanted to outright ban both razor and barbed wire because of liability concerns but others sympathized with business owners trying to protect their property.

Tracey Tucker, building and zoning administrator, told Commissioners that barbed wire is allowed with restrictions, mainly in industrial areas, but only on fences at least six feet tall that project inward over the property so that no one can walk into it, Barbed or razor wire is not allowed on any roof or building, she said.

Another significant ordinance change addresses seasonal and tent sales which have become an ongoing problem.

The township board sought a way to protect established businesses from vendors who come in and set up a tent for a few months that are selling the same products in competition with stores paying taxes year-round, Tucker said.Fireworks, window repairs and tools are some examples.

The proposed amendments stipulates that tent sale items be tied to the business on the property. Third party vendors will no longer be allowed. One example was an out-of-county car dealership that wanted to hold a tent sale at Genesee Valley mall.

Tent sale applications will no longer be handled by the township board but still subject to approval of the building, police and fire departments.

Another proposed amendment clarifies the ability of the Planning Commission to impose minimum building design requirements.

Not having more control over a building’s appearance has come up numerous times, Tucker said.

“This is a big change,’’ she said. It requires that at least 60 percent of the front of a structure be brick, stone or other ornamental material but not steel or vinyl siding.

It also stipulates that building materials be earth-toned colors with limited amounts of primary colors, unless the business needs to comply with corporate design standards.

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