The Environmental Commission in Meridian Township met in April to discuss the regulation of activities on wetlands and recycling access in residential complexes.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act states: “A local unit of government may regulate wetland(s) within its boundaries, by ordinance, only as provided under this part. This subsection is supplemental to the existing authority of a local unit of government.”
The Environmental Commission clarified these terms with individuals and businesses in Meridian Township to assure they are not ticketed or fined for breaking ordinance laws.
Commissioner William McConnell made sure to hear each concern voiced by residents at the meeting.
“The township has a policy of no net (of) loss of wetlands,” said McConnell. “If anyone ever does something that disturbs a wetland, that are considered essential, big enough and functioning well, they need a permit to do that.”
The ordinance, he said, matches the state’s law as it pertains wetlands.
Public comments also focused on multi-family apartments and the absence of recycling in those areas. Although some apartments in the township have access to recycling in single homes or apartment building, McConnell said many family apartments do not.
“We don’t currently require recycling of anybody,” said McConnell. “Our recycling program only reaches single-family homes right now and we’ve been working for years to try to get the apartment building to do recycling, but it seems like they’re probably not going to do that until they’ve got a good incentive.”
McConnell recognizes recycling services as a part of the amenities in apartments for residents. Meridian Township resident Arianna Dickason said she was shocked by the lack of recycling in Meridian Township for multi-family homes.
“My apartment, fortunately, offers recycling for us,” said Dickason. “It isn’t the most accessible, but it is important that more apartment complexes have them. I think making them more accessible within buildings would also be important.”
Justin Hudson works and lives in The Towers, an apartment complex in Okemos. The complex mostly houses college students, and he said does not have any recycling besides outside of the building.
“It would be nice to (have) recycling access on each floor,” said Hudson. “Having to go out and walk a distance just to recycle is just inconvenient compared to just being able to throw it all down the trash bin.”
Similarly, Meridian Township resident Sophie Fiala sees the lack of recycling resources where she works. Fiala, an employee at Meridian Mall said a large number of resources are wasted each day.
“The store I work for specifically, does not recycle often, if at all,” said Fiala. “The problem goes beyond just apartments and residences, but even business (that) just don’t really think or care about recycling, and that’s unfortunate.”