Ypsilanti Citizen News ]]>

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Community reeling from snow removal invoices

Snow removal enforcement was encouraged by City Council after repeated complaints some property owners do not shovel. The old Motor Wheel facility, above, was on that list of repeat offenders. More than 348 invoices were sent in the past week. Photo by Christine Laughren

Snow removal enforcement was encouraged by City Council after repeated complaints some property owners do not shovel. The old Motor Wheel facility, above, was on that list of repeat offenders. More than 348 invoices were sent in the past week.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

City sends 348 homeowners bills

By Christine Laughren
Feb. 26, 2009    ·    3:55 p.m.

Updated Feb. 26, 2009 6:04 p.m.

The phones have been ringing consistently and a steady stream of people continue to visit the Ypsilanti Building Department.

The department is fielding complaints regarding the more than 340 invoices sent out recently to residents said to have violated the snow removal ordinance. 

The invoices, sent out over the past week, state a contractor either came out to local residential property to apply ice melt or shovel an unattended walk.

Building Manager Frank Daniels Jr. said it has been a busy week.

“We have been getting a lot of calls,” he said.

According to the city, abatement notices were placed on doors Thursday, Jan. 29 and abatements began Saturday, Jan. 31.

April McGrath, administrative service director for the city, said 121 properties were given a warning notice, that gave select residents a "heads up" the ordinance would be coming into effect. She said 441 properties were given notice of abatements, which started the 24-hour clock for possible abatement if the snow or ice was not cleared away; 75 percent of the community did not respond to the notices.

The recent amendment made to the snow removal ordinance in December states that property owners have 48 hours to remove snow after the first snowfall. Failure to do so results in a warning handed out by the city.

The ordinance states, if the homeowner fails to remove snow or ice prior to 12:00 p.m. the day after notice is given (provided there has been at least 18 hours since delivery of the notice), the city may cause such snow or ice to be removed at the homeowners expense.

Daniels said most people were charged $83; the administration fee was $48 and the clean-up service was $35, which goes directly to the independent contractor A.M. Services. It is estimated upwards of $28,000 in invoices was sent out to residents.

December’s amendment to the snow removal ordinance was approved by City Council in a 6-1 vote.

Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, who voted against the ordinance, said the ordinance already in place was satisfactory, though, she thought it should be enforced better.

"Let's just for this year enforce what we have and if we get the complaints then enforce (the new changes,)" she said in the December meeting.

Formerly there was not an abatement clause written into the amendment. McGrath said the city issued warnings last year we gave warning notices and issued a “handful” of tickets, but she was unsure of the exact number.

The new language was brought to council by Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr. Barr said with the economic downturn there are and will be a plague of vacant and foreclosed homes in the city.

"These homes and other properties are not being maintained, nor is the snow being removed," Barr wrote in a memo to council in December.

McGrath said the city sent an official notice to the Ann Arbor News when the ordinance amendment was passed. She also said unofficial notices went out several times to neighborhood associations and other news outlets as well as a notice on the city’s Web site.

McGrath said the response from the community was not unexpected.

“The response seems typical to the type of response the city gets when it enforces a new ordinance,” she said.

Daniels and McGrath said people are calling or coming to City Hall to argue the issue. They said many people claim their sidewalk was shoveled before the contractor came out, but they also said most of the complaints are from people saying they did not receive any written notice.

Dan Meikle was hit with two invoices dated Feb. 20. He said one was for $83 for administration and contractor fees for Jan. 30 and another for $93 in fees for Feb. 1.

“There was no notification to say they were going to apply ice melt and (the invoice) said it wasn’t shoveled but the sidewalk was clear,” he said.

Meikle said he has spoken with six of his neighbors, all of whom received invoices in the past week.

Donovan Deyo, who owns rental property in the city, said he did not receive any notification either.

“They said in the ordinance that they would give you a warning and I never got one,” Deyo said. “I’m pretty religious about taking care of my property too.”

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he has gotten a couple emails regarding the issue. He said it is important for community members to shovel their sidewalk.

“When you have snow on a sidewalk it can be dangerous especially in busy areas,” he said. “Hopefully people will know they need to shovel their sidewalks as a courtesy to others.”

Paul Balcom, Ypsilanti resident and co-owner of The Rocket, said he thinks the ordinance is a good thing. He said it sets a precedent.

“You have to take care of your property,” he said.

Meikle said he plans to attend next Tuesday’s council meeting to share his thoughts with council. He said he thinks many in the community will do the same.

“People are hot,” he said.

Daniels said he informs people as to the process for appeal when they call or come in. Calls are being fielded through the building department office at (734) 482-1025. The department is encouraging people to send to formal appeals to Daniels.

Daniels said there is no time limit for appeals and the process typically takes 5-7 business days. If the appeal is denied homeowners have the option to appeal it to the City Manager’s office.

Amended ordinance language

If snow or ice is not removed or treated as required in Sections 94-133, 94-134, and/or 94-135, the city may notify the owner or occupant of the violation. This notification may be made in person, by telephone, by mail, or by written notice left at the property. If the owner or occupant fails to remove snow or ice prior to 12:00 noon of the day after notice is given (provided there has been at least 18 hours since delivery of the notice), the city may cause such snow or ice to be removed. The owner of the adjacent property (as indicated by the records of the assessor) shall then be charged the actual cost of the sidewalk clearance, plus an administrative fee as set by resolution of Council. If that charge is not paid within 45 days, it may be assessed against that parcel.

Link to the ordinance here

The Rocket

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