September 26, 2012 - Who said you can't fight City Hall?
Lake Orion Township resident Daniel Myslakowski wanted to try and at the Sept. 17 Lake Orion Township Board meeting, he came ready to ask questions about an ordinance that he said appeared to be selectively enforced.
On August 31, Myslakowski received a warning requesting he comply with section 27.04-2 of the zoning ordinance regulating parking and/or storage of recreational vehicles, including boats and trailers, in a residential area.
Myslakowski brought an organized and detailed presentation to the meeting. He wanted the Board to revisit the ordinance because he said it conflicted with the topographical realities of Orion Township.
If the ordinance won't be amended, Myslakowski said, he wanted to make sure he wasn't being singled out and the ordinance selectively enforced.
According to the warning Myslakowski received, "recreational vehicles shall be stored no closer than ten feet to any side or rear property line, and not more than one recreational vehicle may be stored or parked within the front yard, provided there is at least twenty feet between the street edge and any portion of the recreational vehicle."
Myslakowski's boat trailer was parked less than twenty feet from the street's edge, so the warning was issued. Myslakowski willing complied with the warning, seeking to avoid the $500 fine and a court appearance required for the violation.
In his address to the Board, however, Myslakowski brought photo evidence of 76 other similar violations he observed in his immediate neighborhood. These overlooked violations were cited as examples of both the implausibility of and selective enforcement of the ordinance.
Ordinance enforcement officer Tim London said no selective enforcement was occurring. Other residents have also received violation notices this year, London said.
London said ordinances are not enforced at the township's discretion. Instead, the township acknowledges violations as they are reported by citizens. It is such a request that initiated his visit to Myslakowski's residence.
"If the neighbors call, then we'll go out and check into it," said Township supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel. But not every ordinance will be enforced simply because it's on the books.
"When complaints are received, people go out. If something bothers the people in one area, and a similar thing doesn't bother people two or three blocks away, that's just the way things are," she said.
Accordingly, London intends to follow up on the 76 potential violations Myslakowski brought to the board's attention as soon as he can. "If there is a violation then we'll send notice," London confirmed.
"The ordinance, that's law. Whether I agree with it or not doesn't matter. If you're in violation of it and we find out about, we're obligated to correct that violation."
As for amending the ordinance, London indicated it was modified as recently as July to allow front yards and driveway storage for recreational vehicles, provided they meet the setback under the ordinance.
London would not recommend a change to the ordinance. "The way it's written, I think it's very fair," he said
If citizens think otherwise, they can petition for a revision.