Responding to local residents

Some people say there are too many laws.

In most cases, we agree. Freedom is not legislated. The fewer laws that are needed, the better.

Still, there are times when guidelines must be established to keep the peace and harmony in the community.

This was demonstrated recently at area city council meetings.

In Iron Mountain, local residents addressed city council with their concerns about properties in disrepair in their neighborhoods.

“It’s unbelievable that we have to put up with it – bobcats, trailers in the right-of-way, construction trailers and everything else,” said one resident. “And there’s no ordinance that covers it? That’s unbelievable.”

At another residence, a homeowner complained about long grass and the overall condition of the home.

City Manager Jordan Stanchina noted that the Dickinson County Construction Code officer has been at the property multiple times, but hasn’t ordered that it be condemned.

“Is there nothing the city can do? This is reprehensible,” said Councilman Bob Moraska.

Council decided to have the Planning Commission suggest changes to the property code ordinance to fix the situation.

Council is expected to act when the changes are made.

In Norway, Norway City Council decided to remove time limits on its noise ordinance.

Police officers have been receiving complaints of dogs barking during the day, but since the city noise ordnance only allows for limited enforcement between 7 a.m. an 10 p.m., their hands were tied. They could not issue a warning or a ticket to the offending resident.

By removing the time limit, the problems could be addressed. City council unanimously approved the change.

The updated ordinance will become effective on July 23.

“Now, nuisance noise can be dealt with at anytime, not just at night,” said Mayor Jeremy Oja.

Finally, in Kingsford, officials are seeking advice from City Attorney Bruce Brouillette on its ordinance on backyard burning.

Kingsford Public Safety Director Tim Gussert has had officers shut down backyard campfires when it was discovered that construction debris was being burned.

One Kingsford resident told city council that recreational fire pits are spoiling the city’s air quality.

“This is barbaric,” she said. “There’s a place for this. It’s called campgrounds.”

“Smoke is smoke and it’s not healthy for people,” she added.

If the complaints continue, it’s likely Kingsford will have to revisit its ordinance covering recreational fire pits.

Stay tuned.

Some legislative bodies seem to pass new laws at the blink of an eye.

These local units of government, however, are passing and changing laws in response to resident issues.

Local government, responding to local residents: isn’t that the way America is suppose to work?