Once again Grant residents voice setback concerns

January 11, 2018

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Once again, the Grant Township meeting turned into a comment session about the proposed setback ordinance proposed for property owners.

More than once Superintendent Dan Dysinger said, responding to comments against the ordinance, “This does not restrict the use of property. What I believe we are trying to do is to maintain the integrity of the township’s building inspection program.”

He continued, saying, “We have discussed this at eight public comment sessions, but I am willing to do it again.” He cited buildings erected in the road right-of-way on Lorraine Drive. We can’t do anything about it,” he said, adding, “The County Road Commission isn’t interested in doing anything about it.”

Comments included asking, “Why are we (the township) paying a lawyer for this?” and “I’m not opposed, but why not have a ten foot set back in front and five foot setbacks on the side and back of property?” and a request to consider a “waiver process” to appeal the setbacks.

Grant Township residents have attended nearly every meeting for the past few months to voice concerns, objections and some support for a set-back ordinance that is being developed. Shown here are some who attended the December meeting.

Grant Township residents have attended nearly every meeting for the past few months to voice concerns, objections and some support for a set-back ordinance that is being developed. Shown here are some who attended the December meeting.

The board had reviewed and approved the “Legal Draft Review” of the Building Setback Ordinance that was completed by the Township’s attorney.

The “police” ordinance sets a front setback (the minimum unoccupied distance between a front lot line and any building on the property) at 20 feet and the setback for sides and rear of the property to ten feet from any building to the property line and gives the Township Building Inspector the authority to refuse to issue permits when the restrictions are not met.

The recommended minimum setback from any building to the road right-of-way on the front of the property is 30 feet. The board agreed to lower that setback to 20 feet at an earlier meeting.

Side setbacks were recommended at 15 feet, but set at 10 feet by the board. The rear setback, recommended at 30 feet, was also reduced to 10 feet after considerable discussion at an earlier meeting.

Liz Bouchey said her concerns were for residents with small or irregular property; with more and more ordinances being set; and that the board does not listen to residents’ concerns.

Merle Harmon noted that, “The Township board has taken the time to look at the best interests of the whole township.”

A charge that, “You guys found a way around the opposition to zoning,” brought Dysinger’s response, “This is not zoning.” He said, “We are not using this as a tool. The criteria comes from fire safety and space [allowing] for the maintenance of buildings. Right now anyone can build right on their property line. We have no rules to stop them.”

Other comments against the setback ordinance came from Jack Bouchey, Guy Stoker, Chuck and Jeff Tipton.

Although they are not required to hold one, the board set a Public Hearing on the setback ordinance for February 13th at 7:30, with the regular meeting to follow.
Dysinger said, “I’m looking for a reasonable alternative to the setback ordinance. I am not opposed to having a Public Hearing to discuss it again.”

In other business at the meeting:

*The board agreed that Dysinger would voice his concerns to the Fire Council about Vernon Township’s request for a reduced millage for fire protection through the Clare Fire Department.

*Dysinger reported traffic work by MDOT around the City of Clare and expressed concern over possible detours during work in 2019.

*County Commissioner Leonard Strouse reported on petitions presented to the Lake Shamrock Board which oppose the proposed dredging project. Dysinger said the Township Board didn’t have any concerns about the matter except for the possible damage to recently repaired roads by trucks moving collected silt from the lake.

*The project to upgrade the Little Tobacco Drain was also discussed.

*Board of Review Training was approved for the six or seven who plan to attend.

*The board approved the payment of bills totaling $60,545.96.

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