Morenci city council 2012.03.28

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Michigan’s law forbidding most fireworks has stood with little change since it was written in 1931. That changed   when Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that took effect Jan. 1, 2012, and now communities throughout the state are re-writing local ordinances to match.

Morenci’s existing ordinances don’t allow the sales or use of most fireworks, but will soon be changing.

The new state law allows the use of fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after national holidays, although local government units are free to expand usage.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington asked city council members Monday night if any of them have a desire to expand on the allowable days, and he asked Chief of Police Larry Weeks for an opinion.

“The common issue with fireworks is that it becomes a noise issue,” Weeks said. “Not everybody is respectful about their use. My preference would be to leave it as the state ordinance allows.”

Changes should be made for the annual town festival, noted councilor Brenda Spiess, and she suggested allowing fireworks on both weekends surrounding the Fourth of July since the holiday falls on a Wednesday this year.

Spiess added that perhaps a cutoff time such as 10:30 p.m. should be established to prevent all-night explosions.

Weeks said the state law makes no mention of disturbing the peace, nor does it mention the use of fireworks on public property. He expressed concern about fireworks usage at, for example, Wakefield Park when a crowd is attending the Town and Country Festival.

Zoning

The new state law also allows the sale of fireworks after a permit is obtained from the state. Local ordinances can be written to regulate where fireworks are sold.

At a previous discussion of the issue, Chief Weeks suggested that council should consider whether it wants large quantities of fireworks to be stored for sale in the downtown or in residences.

Morenci zoning administrator Jacob Barnes told council that a proposed fireworks ordinance written by the city attorney looks good, but it doesn’t address zoning issues. He suggested allowing the sales of fireworks in C-3 zoning, such as the Dollar General area, and to make it a permitted use after approval. He offered to write a proposed zoning ordinance to consider.

“I would think if we had the request for such a facility, it would be on the outskirts of city anyway,” Barnes said.

He doesn’t see that the city would be prohibited from adding setbacks from buildings. The city might also want to differentiate between temporary and permanent establishments, Barnes said.

Weeks expects to see new sales establishments cropping up along the state line now that Michigan’s law is very similar to Ohio’s.

MILAGE—Council voted to replicate the milage repayment rate for business travel as specified by the IRS. The city’s rate will now increase from 40.5 cents a mile to 55.5 cents.

ELECTRICAL—Council accepted Dean Newell’s bid for an electrical upgrade at Wakefield Park. The work will be completed before the Town and Country Festival in late June.

Newell’s bid of $3,052 was the only one received.

STREETS—Now that Baker Street and a portion of Orchard Street are widened, the city is able to seek the change of their status to major streets and receive more state funding.

Mayor Pennington asked if the east city parking lot could be designated as a thoroughfare since many people use it as such.

Councilor Tracy Schell stated that it was worth investigating since the cost would be small, but it would produce an annual return through state funding.

ABATEMENT—General Broach was granted a standard 12-year tax abatement on the purchase of new equipment. The company’s personal property tax on the machine would be cut in half, cutting their payment to the city by about $9,500 each year.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017