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.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • 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.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.
  • 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.

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