Tecumseh City Council authorizes revisions to open burning ordinance
The city’s open burning ordinances will undergo some revisions following a Tecumseh City Council vote Monday, Oct. 15, authorizing the city manager and city clerk to prepare changes for council consideration. Tecumseh Manager Kevin Welch said the city could maintain the present ordinance, but did not recommend that. He added that it could adopt a strict no burn ordinance but that it would be difficult to enforce. The council opted to begin a process to change the ordinance with input from Tecumseh Fire Chief Joe Tuckey. Welch presented a report that noted the old ordinance is very short and did not address several issues of concern, while the proposed ordinance is based on a state model with some revisions to meet local needs. The new ordinance would address such issues as open burning of refuse, open burning of trees, logs, brush, stumps, leaves and grass, among others. During public comment, residents Steve Kruger and Ruth Aiuto spoke regarding brush issues, with Kruger distributing a sheet or reasons he believed constituted the prohibiting of burning brush in the city. Aiuto mentioned the state’s prohibiting of burning within 1,400 feet of a village or city and said she thought the city should comply with that.“We don’t really think we can regulate what goes on 1,400 feet outside the city, but we would probably say ‘city limits,’” said Welch, adding that one thing that would change would be a requirement to obtain a permit before having a campfire. The new one would not require the permit, but limits the campfire size. Once presented, the ordinance would go through the required readings prior to adoption.Council members also approved a 180 day extension of a temporary moratorium on the operation of medical marijuana growing operations. The resolution noted that the city of Tecumseh is diligently working on an ordinance that will best allow compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, P.A. 2008, to protect the public, health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Tecumseh.“One of the goals is we’d like to see and hear from the court cases as they go through the court system that will hopefully give us some guidance on how we might be able to adopt a zoning ordinance that could allow us to regulate location of some of the sale and distributions,” said Welch. “There are pros and cons of each.” The present moratorium expires on October 19. “The problem is if we let it expire we’d have no control,” Welch added. If an ordinance is adopted later and something is established in the meantime, the city could not make the ordinance retroactive on that business. “The moratorium does not prohibit patients who have legitimate patient cards from possessing and growing their own medical marijuana, as long as it is in compliance with state law.”The council members also:• Held a public hearing relative to a new personal property tax exemption for Lenawee Stamping/Van Rob Tecumseh. The hearing was to receive public comment and the city was requested to hold on considering the abatement until after an incentive package with the state is approved. Welch said a P.A. 328 agreement is a 100 percent exemption, for seven years, whereas the city has typically approved P.A. 198 agreements at 50 percent for 12 years.“This is for new investment and is for anything invested after the abatement is approved,” said Welch, adding that the measure had to be considered by the end of this tax year. “As far as the amount, it’s hard to say because anything that takes place in that seven-year period would be abated, but I’m hearing that it could be somewhere between a $10 and $20 million in new investment,” Welch said. “As far as jobs, I don’t have a firm count, but believe we’re talking a considerable number, probably in the 100s, which would be a good thing.” • Held a public hearing to hear comments on the intent to add to the boundaries of the Tecumseh Local Development Finance Authority District (TLDFAD), to include Lenawee Stamping/Van Rob Tecumseh property. Welch said what the action would do is capture a portion of new tax on property and uses that tax for public improvement, which in this case, would be the match on a turn lane improvement on M-50 at the plant’s entrance. An additional turn lane and improvements will also be done at the M-50 and Rogers Hwy. intersection. Total cost of the project is estimated at $850,000, with the 25 percent match approximately $200,000.