Lake Street Awning Battle Erupts Again Between City, Homeowners
The tensions between the homeowners at 790 Lake St. and Saugatuck City officials continue to brew, as life partners John Porzondek and James Serman are determined to challenge and defy city orders.
The latest controversy regarding the second-floor porch at the Lake Street home involves the city ordering Porzondek and Serman to remove a shed sail that is now covering their porch or else go through the proper Saugatuck Historic District Commission approval process.
The city asked them to remove the shed sail by September 5 or apply for city approval to have it there. Neither has been carried out.
Porzondek and Serman responded to the city letter dated on August 22 during Monday’s council meeting, saying they were illegally and unfairly being singled out.
The shed sail is a completely new and different issue then previous issues between the city and the homeowners.
“Upon further investigation, it was noted that no valid permits are on record for such modification to the structure,” states the letter prepared by Saugatuck Zoning Administrator Mike Clark.
“Please note that Section 152.03 of the City Code requires approval for any work that is done to resource within the historic district, including altering the appearance. Please remove the canopy/awning feature or apply for Historic District Commission approval as soon as possible, but no later than September 5, 2013.”
The homeowners remain challenging. “It is not a structure, it is a piece of fabric,” Porzondek told the council during public comments on Monday.
It is Clark himself the homeowners recently charged with betraying the public trust when they claim Clark failed to inform the courts of an alleged zoning change during litigation over a previous awning. City officials unequivocally repudiate there was a zoning change and deny any wrongdoing by Clark.
The men also continue to argue the city was wrong in wasting taxpayers dollars to take legal action against them. The Allegan County district and circuit courts, two years ago, both upheld the historic commission’s determination that their awning was illegal and had to come down.
“I believe the historic district is doing nothing more than nitpicking,” Serman too told council. “This a reading of the city ordinance in a way that is too literal,” he said. “I welcome the city to waste taxpayers dollars again to suit us.”