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Clare turns down ordinance change, approves contractor fines

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

An Ordinance change and fines for contractors working without permits were both voted down at the Clare City meeting Monday with 2-2 votes, although a footnote protecting residents was approved.

Clare Commissioner Bill Horwood was not at the meeting.

The proposed Ordinance Amendment, which would subject businesses to the same rules at residents concerning garage sales – limiting it to two per year, did not pass with Commissioners Tom Koch and John Koch voting no.

“I don’t think it (garage sales by businesses) is a problem,” said Tom Koch, “and I don’t think the Commission should be telling businesses what to do. We need businesses to do well in the city,”

Concerning the fee schedule change which would allow the application of a fine of $500 to contractors who do not obtain a permit before starting work, both Kochs voted no again. Zoning Administrator Dave Williams had recommended the building code fines. “We are here to protect the people they (the contractors) are doing the work for,” he said.

Acting City Manager Steven Kingsbury said a number of licensed contractors have not been pulling permits. “We can’t do anything about it,” he said.

“I would like to see this more carefully written to protect residents,” said Tom Koch.

Commissioner John Koch suggested giving contractors and residents five days to get a permit. Kingsbury suggested a warning followed by the fine if the permit is not pulled within 24 hours.

The Commission voted down the first motion and added a footnote saying that residential property owners doing their own work would pull a permit prior to the start of work, or within the next business day after a warning is issued.

The fine for commercial contractors was approved by the board.

Commissioner John Koch, who did not run for re-election to the board, was honored at the meeting, recognizing him for three years of service on the Commission.

Other business at the meeting included:

*Approval to add stop signs at Hemlock and Schoolcrest intersection and at the State and Pine intersection as a safety measure for students.

*Re-appointment of Nyle Haggart and Mike Smith to the Airport Advisory Board

*The Main Street Manager, Treasurer and City Manager’s reports.

*Major and Local Streets budget amendments, covering additional revenue and service in Major Streets and additional costs in the Dunlop Street Project.