International property maintenance code becoming heated topic

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By Steven Miller
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer

At Bath Township’s July 18 board meeting, township officials discussed a proposed property maintenance code for over 30 minutes.  The board members had different views, and the tension in the room was palpable.

At the next board meeting on August 1, the same lengthy discussion took place among the board members.  This time, there was an added wrinkle, as multiple members of the community showed up to express their thoughts on the issue.

One member of the public was extremely displeased with the ordinance.  “If you’ve got an apartment or you are renting from somebody, that is your kingdom, that is your home,” Mr. Cox, a Bath resident said.  “No one should have the right to tell you that you need to have a 120 foot family room, or you can’t hang a sheet over a window.”

The ordinance is aiming at driving up property values and maintaining a certain level of safety for buildings.  The board is still hammering out the details of the proposition.  As of now, the ordinance will not apply to owner occupied dwellings.

Two other members of Bath Township showed up, and were less than pleased with the language of the ordinance.

Right now, one of the debated issues is whether the code should deal with aesthetic standards, or just safety issues.  Some members of the board, like Leon Puttler, firmly believe that Bath should be turned into a “vibrant” community, and is very worried about how the township looks visually.  He thinks it is important to drive up the property values.

Trustee Walter Pett stated that “vibrant” is not something he wants the city to be.  He thinks that other agency should be taking care of safety issues in the community, like the Mid-Michigan Health Department.  Also, Pett said the notion that aesthetics drive up property values is “very subjective”.  He is intent on defending resident’s personal rights

It will be interesting to see where the ordinance goes from here, and when the matter will be settled.  This code has been in discussion for over a year.  Supervisor Tom Schneider hopes to have the issue voted on by September 6th.

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