Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Neighborhood dispute set for court hearing

October 13, 2005

A dispute that will pit property rights against a neighbor's right to peace and quiet is headed to Lansing Municipal Court.

Lansing Police have served a neighborhood complaint on Kenny McCullough, 117 W. Lois St., Police Chief Steve Wayman said this week. The complaint alleges that noise from a go-kart track built in McCullough's back yard is disturbing the peace.

Last week, Andrew Jones, who lives across the street diagonally from McCullough at 112 W. Lois St., complained about the situation to the Lansing City Council.

"Every weekend (they) have parties with ATVs motorcycles, go-karts," Jones said. "We can't even sit on our deck on the weekends and enjoy it because there's dirt, dust and fumes. : Everybody I've called - the city, the Police Department, everybody - said they don't have any ordinances over it."

Greg Robinson, the city's attorney, told council members there appeared to be no zoning or code violations that were being broken. There is no restriction on building a go-kart track in a residential area, he said. Unless there was some sort of admission or user fee being charged to use the track, Robinson added, the city's hands were pretty much tied.

Council member Robert Ulin said he found such news astounding.

"I think it's extraordinary that we don't have laws on the books to deal with these nuisances in our neighborhoods," Ulin said. "They pay good money to move into neighborhoods, then somebody decides to put some trash in his back yard, turn it into a go-kart track. That's ridiculous. We're not in the county; we're in the city, and we ought to regulate or come up with some way to prevent this from happening : in any of our neighborhoods."

City Administrator Mike Smith said a legal test could be made on the grounds that the noise generated from the site was creating a public nuisance. He said the legal test generally is whether a "reasonable person" would be disturbed by the noise created by the activity.

"That's the angle we'll come at," Smith said.

McCullough's phone number is not listed in the telephone directory, and no one answered the door at the house earlier this week.

The case is scheduled to be heard Nov. 2 in Lansing Municipal Court.

"On a neighborhood complaint like this, it's up to the judge to make a decision," Wayman said. "Both parties come in and make their case. Everybody involved gets their day in court."


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