Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2005

Study session discussion to bring code changes

November 17, 2005, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: November 17, 2005, 7:26 a.m.

Lansing residents are likely to face tougher restrictions on building fences, disposing of refrigerators and displaying their address on their homes.

Those were just some of the topics City Council members and staff from the city's Community Development and code enforcement divisions discussed at a study session Thursday.

The gist of the nearly two-hour discussion: Look for changes in the city code in the coming months that will affect what happens on and around your property.

Among the likely changes next year:

¢ Fences. Staff wants to codify what they refer to as the "one-foot rule." In essence, a property owner who is installing a fence taller than four-feet will not be able to build to the property line without the written permission of the adjoining property owner. Instead, the fence has to be built at least a foot back from the property line.

John Jacobson, Community Development superintendent, said the rule was now implied but not written into city code.

The need for the rule, he said, is to keep the city out of property-line disputes among neighbors.

¢ On-street parking. Staff members will investigate ordinances in area cities that restrict or limit the parking of trailers and other nonmotorized vehicles on public rights of way. The investigation eventually may lead to a limit on how long a licensed vehicle - cars, pickups, RVs - can be parked on a street.

"Our streets are streets," Council member Andi Pawlowski said. "They're not storage lots."

¢ Disposed refrigerators. Currently, the city code requires 10-day notice before a citation is issued to a property owner or resident who disposes of a refrigerator without removing the door. Because the situation creates a potential safety hazard, the section of the code dealing with such issues will be rewritten so that staff can take immediate actions to alleviate the problem.

¢ Addresses on homes. The city likely will approach Lansing PRIDE or some other group to assist in a program to keep residents in compliance with an ordinance currently on the books that requires street numbers be visible on a house from the public right of way. The code calls for the numbers to be at least 4 inches in height and contrast in color with that of the house.

Jacobson said newer developments were in compliance with the law, but many homes in older areas of the city were not.

¢ Sidewalks. Council members indicated their preference for the city to take over maintenance for normal wear and tear on sidewalks. But property owners will be responsible for clearing snow in a timely fashion to release the city from liability.

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