Coloma OKs final draft of new blight ordinance

COLOMA — Residents of Coloma will have to adhere to some new rules aimed at keeping the city looking good.

The Coloma City Commission approved the final draft of its new blight ordinance Monday night on a 4-2 vote, with Mayor Jim Polashak absent.

The commission held a public hearing on the new ordinance in October, and as a result, the ordinance committee decided to make some changes before it was made final.

The new blight ordinance, in summary, states that brush and/or junk piles of unusable items must be removed within a seven day period; front porches and decks must not be used for storage; and that the storage of non-motorized items in a structure, such as a carport, is prohibited for storage of junk.

It states unmovable or inoperable camping equipment must not be visible by neighbors, and that recreational vehicles, motor homes or trailers must not protrude past the front of a house, so that they do not block a neighbor’s ability to safely back out of their driveway.

The ordinance states that recreational vehicles may only provide temporary housing up to two weeks, unless prior approval is given by the city.

In addition, the ordinance creates guidelines so that construction projects are completed within a reasonable time, and states that trash receptacles must be removed from curbside within 24 hours of pick-up service.

The full ordinance language is available at City Hall.

Commissioner Jason Hicks and Kent Churchill both voted no.

Churchill was appointed Monday to serve on the ordinance committee for next year, while Hicks served on it last year.

Commissioner Fred Reeves, who will also serve on the committee next year, asked Churchill if he’d be willing to work with the committee in the future.

Churchill said, “I just think the ordinances you’ve been arguing about for the last seven years is just a bunch of crap.”

Hicks said he didn’t believe this was the place to have this conversation. Mayor Pro Tem Marsha Hammond said she agreed and moved the meeting along.

In other business, North Berrien Fire Rescue Chief Mike Mattix reported to the commission that the department is looking to buy a new fire truck in 2020.

He said the estimated $670,000 cost is being worked into next year’s budget, and that the truck should  last the department about 20 years.

“It’s an investment so we can handle calls today and into the future,” Mattix said.

He said most of the fire equipment in the old fire truck is new enough that it will be moved into the new engine. The old vehicle would become a backup.

North Berrien Fire Rescue serves Coloma, Coloma Township and Hagar Township.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewmannd notes