Two Seneca Twp. trustees eyed for recall 10.21.09

Written by David Green.

A recall petition was filed last month at the Lenawee County clerk’s office seeking the removal of two Seneca Township officials.

Township resident Dayna Cordts filed the recall petition Sept. 24 in an effort to remove township clerk Allison Ott and treasurer Marie Meinke.

If Cordts obtains the signatures of 98 registered township voters on each petition by Nov. 20, a special election could be scheduled Feb. 23, 2010. The petition is valid for 180 days, explained county clerk Roxann Holloway, and an election could also be scheduled in May. The township will bear the cost of the election.

The recall petition alleges rude and disrespectful behavior shown by Ott and Meinke during the Sept. 14 township meeting. The petition also faults the pair for voting in favor of enforcing a special use permit for Cordts’s child care facility.

A special use permit was approved Aug. 3 by the township planning commission for Cordts to operate a child care facility in an area zoned for residential use.

Vague wording in the township zoning book has led to problems with the issue. The original permit issued September 2008 called for an enclosed area of at least 5,000 square feet inside a fence, as required in the zoning book.

However, Cordts pointed out the word “fence” is not used in the book in relation to child care centers. Instead, it calls for an area to be screened from adjacent lots.

Furthermore, Cordts claims the requirement does not apply to her property because her facility is designated   a day care group home (for seven to 12 children). The ordinance refers only to nursery schools, day nurseries and child care centers.

Because Cordts did not erect a fence by the June 1, 2009, deadline, her permit was voided and she applied again. The planning commission approved the permit and when it was issued to Cordts, it again included the fence requirement.

Planning commission chair Bob Walton said later he wasn’t aware that the second permit included a fence requirement.

This was followed by the 3-2 Sept. 14 vote to enforce the permit and to report Cordts to state licensing officials if she didn’t comply.

This action is also mentioned on the recall petition.

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