Saugatuck Township Adopts New Fireworks Ordinance; Amends Noise Law As Well
In order to mitigate the headache short-term rental homes are causing neighbors, the Saugatuck Township Board, at its Wednesday’s meeting last week, adopted a new ordinance regulating fireworks and made an amendment to its noise ordinance.
It’s part and parcel of ongoing efforts to confront the slew of rental problems being reported by those living along Silver Lake Drive, Lorrimar Lane, and Newport and Harbor roads (e.g., two-day rentals for bachelor parties, cars constantly traveling to and fro, nudity, late night noise with fireworks and parties).
The noise ordinance provides clarity in the language and gives more “teeth” as it relates to enforcement, according to township officials.
The fireworks ordinance limits fireworks to national holidays, including the previous and subsequent days, and prohibits their firing between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.
The next step for the township is putting an actual ordinance on the books to regulate rentals—designate parking areas, limit the number of people owners can rent to, and so on, Saugatuck Township Zoning Administrator Steve Kushion told The Local Observer.
“We are narrowing down the ordinance language, trying to protect property rights as well as realizing we are a rental community. That is the nature of the animal, balancing these two things,” he said.
The township currently only has language that states rental owners must register with, and acquire an approval for, fire inspection from the local fire department.
“We need language on the ordinance that makes sure we hold rental owners accountable,” added Kushion.
“If you are going to rent out your house, you have to make sure your renters know (that) ‘These our the rules, and if they are not followed, than you can’t rent.’”
One issue that came up during last Wednesday’s discussion about the fireworks and noise ordinance is how these will be enforced, particularly since the township does not have a deputy solely dedicated to it.
Allegan County Undersheriff Frank Baker, present during the meeting, told the Observer that Saugatuck Township currently shares one deputy with five other townships.
“As a routine, we do not enforce township ordinances. We have 24 townships; our officers are not going to go around carrying 24 different citation books,” Baker told the board.
While firework’s regulations are also part of a state statute, noise is not, Baker explained.
“We typically don’t write tickets, unless you—specifically, the township supervisor—have asked us to.”
He further explained, “If it’s your ordinance, you are responsible for prosecution.”
Nevertheless, Baker noted, “If you do have problems, by all means contact us, we’ll be there to help.
“Noise is not a a high-priority, but if it’s ongoing, ask to see a deputy.”
Baker told the board the township could hire a county deputy for about $100,000 a year, with the county covering 25 percent of that cost.