Source: Sherman Publications

Ordinance revisions fail
Township board dumps four zoning changes

by Susan Bromley

October 19, 2011

Brandon Twp.- Four up, four down.

Township Building Director Bill Dinnan brought four zoning ordinances before the township board during their meeting Oct. 17. The township planning commission recommended revisions to the ordinances, mainly corrections and clarifications to ease enforcement. However, the board shot down all four, each failing by various margins.

“It seems the board direction is to have them reworded,” said Supervisor Kathy Thurman.

The ordinances will go back to the planning commission.

The first revision considered by the board was to the accessory building ordinance. The planning commission wanted an amendment to re-establish a square foot allowance for attached accessory buildings that was unintentionally removed while revising the detached accessory building allowable size. The section in question was to be revised to read, in part, that “the total area of all attached accessory buildings in the RE district shall not exceed the total square footage of the living area of the principle building or a maximum of 1,000 square feet.”

Trustee Cheryl Gault said the limitation of 1,000 square-feet should be removed. Trustee Dana DePalma said the square-footage should be limited, but not that small. Trustee Dave King and Treasurer Terry Beltramo said the language of the section overall was confusing. A motion to approve the revision failed 4-3. Thurman, as well as Clerk Jeannie McCreery and Trustee Tom Stowell voted yes.

The second proposed revision would have addressed prohibited parking in the township, including requiring some recreational vehicles, trailers, and non-operational vehicles to be parked in a completely enclosed building. Others would be required to be parked or stored in a side or rear yard unless those sites were unaccessible. The ordinance would also have a new section requiring vehicle only be sold from property where the vehicle for sale is owned by the resident or owner of a property and would restrict the number of vehicles allowed for sale per year. This motion failed by a 6-1 vote, with Thurman the only yes.

The last two revised ordinances that failed were both regarding signs— with LED signs and the illuminations displayed and the second addressing ground signs and the number allowed per zoning lot based on frontage and number of streets to which the land parcel is adjacent. The illumination motion failed 5-1, with King abstaining and Thurman voting yes, while the ground sign failed unanimously.

“The changes were prompted due to complaints received and our inability to address some concerns,” said Dinnan. “The existing ordinances are too vague to enforce some issues. At this point, these four revisions have been through the public hearing process, have passed the planning commission, but the board has not approved the first reading...The township supervisor and I will see if we can come up with an ordinance revision that addresses everyone’s concerns.”