Ordinance No. 141


PERE MARQUETTE CHARTER TOWNSHIP ORDINANCE NO. 141
ANTI-BLIGHT AND INOPERABLE MOTOR VEHICLE ORDINANCE

AN ORDINANCE to amend the Code of Ordinances by adding Chapter 19 to prevent, reduce, and eliminate blight, blighting factors, or causes of blight within Pere Marquette Charter Township, Mason County, Michigan; to provide definitions of certain terms; to establish regulations regarding inoperable motor vehicles within the township; to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of persons and property within the township; and to provide for its effective date. 

            THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF PERE MARQUETTE, MASON COUNTY, MICHIGAN ORDAINS:

Section      1.   ADDITION OF CHAPTER 19 TO THE PERE MARQUETTE CHARTER TOWNSHIP CODE OF ORDINANCES, CONCERNING BLIGHT AND INOPERABLE MOTOR VEHICLES.  Chapter 19 of the Code of Ordinances is added in its entirety as follows.

Sec. 19-1.  Purpose.

Pursuant to Public Act 344 of 1945, as amended, it is the purpose of this chapter to prevent, reduce, or eliminate blight or potential blight in the township by preventing, reducing, and eliminating certain environmental causes of blight or blighting factors which currently exist or which may in the future exist in the township.  Further, pursuant to Public Act 300 of 1949, as amended, abandoned, scrapped, or discarded motor vehicles are, or in the future may be, stored in a dangerous or unsanitary manner in yards or other places in the township.  The places in which such motor vehicles are, or in the future may be, stored tend to become overgrown with weeds, littered with rubbish, and infested with rodents and insects.  Such conditions tend to attract children and endanger their lives and health, spread disease, invite plundering, create fire hazards or other safety and health hazards, create or extend blight, interfere with the enjoyment or reduce the value of private property, and interfere with the comfort and well being of the public.  Adequate protection of public health, safety, and welfare requires that blight and conditions that cause blight, including but not limited to dismantled or inoperable motor vehicles, be regulated and controlled.

Sec. 19-2.  Definitions.

The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.

(a)        Building materials shall include, but shall not be limited to, lumber, bricks, concrete or cinder blocks, plumbing materials, electrical wiring or equipment, heating ducts or equipment, shingles, mortar, concrete or cement, nails, screws, or any other materials used in constructing any structure.

(b)        Inoperable motor vehicle shall include any motor vehicle which, by reason of dismantling, disrepair, or any other cause whatsoever:

(1)        Is incapable of being propelled under its own power;

(2)        Lacks all of the necessary component parts to make it operable and serviceable as a motor vehicle;  or

(3)        Does not display or have affixed to it a current license plate or tabs as required by the State for the purpose of operating such a motor vehicle upon public roads or streets.

(c)        Junk shall mean trash, garbage, rubbish, or refuse, including but not limited to, parts of machinery or motor vehicles; unmounted motor vehicle tires; broken or unusable furniture; mattresses; stoves, refrigerators, or other appliances stored in the open; remnants of wood, broken toys, and bicycles; and metal or any other material or other cast-off material of any kind whether or not the same could be put to any reasonable use.

(d)       Motor vehicle shall include any self-propelled or towed vehicle designed or used on the public highways to transport passengers or property as defined in Section 90 of Act 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, as amended, being MCL 257.79, which is required to be registered for use upon the public streets and highways of this State under Act 300, and also includes any wheeled vehicle which is self-propelled or intended to be self-propelled.

(e)        Public safety officer shall include law enforcement, fire, medical, or other emergency response personnel.

(f)        Responsible parties shall include, in the case of an inoperable motor vehicle, or parts thereof, the following individuals:

            (1)        The owner(s) of record of the real property upon which the inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, are located;

            (2)        The lessee of the real property upon which the inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, are located; and

            (3)        The registered owner of the inoperable motor vehicle.

Sec. 19-3.  Causes of blight or blighting factors.

It is expressly recognized that blight is observable at different stages of severity, and that moderate blight unremedied creates a strong probability that severe blight will follow. Therefore, the conditions that constitute blight are to be broadly construed to permit the township to make an early identification of problems and to take early remedial action to correct a demonstrated pattern of deterioration and to prevent worsening of blight conditions.

The following uses, structures, and activities are causes of blight or blighting factors which, if allowed to exist, will tend to result in blighted and undesirable neighborhoods.

(a)        In any area, the storage upon any property of an inoperable motor vehicle, except as provided below.

            (1)        This section of this chapter shall not apply to an inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, that are stored and located within a completely enclosed building or wholly enclosed structure.

            (2)        This section of this chapter shall not apply to an inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, that are owned by or in the possession of a commercial motor vehicle sales or services business or a similar business properly permitted or licensed by the township, and located on property owned or leased by the business.

            (3)        This section of this chapter shall not apply to any owner of record or lessee of the real property who is not the registered owner of the inoperable motor vehicle, provided the owner of record or lessee (a) gives written notification to the township ordinance enforcement officer within 10 days of the date a notice to remove inoperable motor vehicle is provided under section 19-5(a)(1) of this chapter, that the inoperable motor vehicle is located on the property in question without the consent of the owner of record or the lessee, and (b) authorizes in writing the township ordinance enforcement officer or a public safety officer to remove the motor vehicle pursuant to Section 252a of Act 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, as amended, MCL 257.252a.

(b)        In any area, the storage upon any property of building materials unless there is in force a current and valid building permit issued by the township for construction upon the property and the building materials are intended for use in connection with the lawfully permitted construction.

(c)        In any area, the storage or accumulation of junk, trash, rubbish, or refuse of any kind without a landfill permit, except domestic refuse stored in such a manner as not to create a nuisance (including without limitation an enclosed dumpster or lidded garbage bin or can) for a period not to exceed 15 days.

(d)       In any area, the existence of any structure or part of any structure which, because of fire, wind, other natural disaster, or physical deterioration, is no longer habitable (if the structure is/was a dwelling), or is no longer useful for any other purpose for which it may have been intended.

(e)        In any area, the existence of any vacant dwelling, garage, or other out-building unless the building is kept securely locked and the windows are kept glazed, neatly boarded up, or otherwise protected and secured to prevent entrance by vandals or other unauthorized persons.

(f)        In any area, the existence of any partially completed structure unless such structure is in the course of construction in accordance with a current and valid building permit issued by the township and unless such construction is completed within the required time.

Sec. 19-4.  Prohibition.

(a)        Commercial and industrial properties.

            No person shall maintain or permit to be maintained any causes of blight or blighting factors upon any property zoned in a commercial or industrial zoning district in the township that is owned, leased, rented, or occupied by such person except as provided by this section.   No causes of blight or blighting factors shall be permitted in the front yard of any property.  Any outdoor storage of materials that would otherwise be considered to cause blight or be blighting factors shall be adequately screened so that the materials are not easily visible from view of the road right of way or adjacent properties.  Such screening shall be provided by landscaped berms, fences, vegetation, trees, or other appropriate types of screening materials.

(b)        Other properties.

            No person shall maintain or permit to be maintained any causes of blight or blighting factors upon any property zoned outside of the commercial and industrial zoning districts in the township that is owned, leased, rented, or occupied by such person.

Sec. 19-5.  Removal of inoperable motor vehicles.

(a).       Notice to remove.

            (1)        The township ordinance enforcement officer or a public safety officer shall prepare a written notice clearly identifying the inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, and the location within the township.  Such notice shall be posted on the motor vehicle and personally delivered or sent via first class mail to the responsible parties.  Such notice shall require the responsible parties to remove the inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, within 10 days of the date of the notice.  The notice shall further state that failure to so remove the inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

            (2)        The notice required by subsection (a)(1) above shall not be required to be sent to a responsible party if that responsible party has received a notice under this chapter within the preceding 18 months for the specific inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, in question.

(b)        Failure to remove.

            If a responsible party, after receiving a notice to remove pursuant to subsection (a)(1) above, fails to remove the inoperable motor vehicle, or all of its parts, then:

            (1)        The inoperable motor vehicle, or its parts, shall constitute a nuisance and shall be subject to all fines and penalties applicable to nuisances; and

            (2)        The township may remove the motor vehicle, or its parts, and dispose of them in accordance with Section 252a of Act 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, as amended, MCL 257.252a.

Sec. 19-6.  Municipal civil infractions.

(a)        A person who violates any provision of this chapter is responsible for a municipal civil infraction, and shall be subject to the remedies, fines, and penalties provided in chapter 2, article IV, division 2, pertaining to municipal civil infractions.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the remedies available to the township in the event of a violation by a person of this chapter.

(b)        The township supervisor or designee is designated as the authorized township official to issue municipal civil infraction citations (directing alleged violators to appear in court) for violations under this chapter.

            Section 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This Ordinance was approved and adopted by the Township Board on September 12, 2017, after introduction and first reading on August 22, 2017, and publication after such first reading as required by Michigan Act 359 of 1947, as amended.  This Ordinance shall be effective the day after publication thereof.