Time for township to revisit blight rules
Many citizens of Alpena Township have spoken and they have overwhelming rejected sections 4 and 5 of Blight Ordinance 135 (International Property Maintenance Code). There seems to be many reasons for their concerns. Legally, all of the rules were followed in the adoption of Ordinance 135.
Ordinance 135 seems poorly written and is not complete. There is no way that it should contain wording that we are told will not be enforced as written. One example of this is found in Chapter 4, Section 24, where it states that the building inspector is authorized to enter the structure. When I contacted the township, I was told they would only inspect the exterior of the home and not the interior.
Why write an ordinance that contains language that is not going to be enforced? Will this section be enforced at a later date with a different board or building inspector? How could this township board vote for an ordinance that is not complete? As citizens, we have no idea what the fees are going to be for these inspections. It also seems that nothing in Ordinance 135 states what will be included in the exterior inspection. If I understand this ordinance, then we need to find these answers in the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code.
This ordinance is not just a blight ordinance, but one that covers building code enforcement.
Now is the time for the township board to go back to the drawing board and listen to the voters of Alpena Township and give them a blight ordinance that works for the citizens of Alpena Township. Once this new ordinance is written or 135 is modified, a well-publicized public meeting should be held and the ordinance reviewed in detail with public input before adoption by the board.