Fenton City Council discusses mobile vendor ordinance

Citizens and officials gathered on June 12 to discuss and work to approve or deny the ordinance that discusses food truck licensing and regulation in the city. Regulation is speculated for whether or not food trucks and vendors should be required to be licensed to operate in the city or for special occasions. The ordinance, which is labeled as No. 714 mobile vendor ordinance, and states it will “secure public health safety and general welfare of the residents and property owners of the City of Fenton…by regulating Mobile Vendors within the City and to repeal all ordinances or parts thereof in conflict within.” 

The process, if approved, will have the steps of verifying the relevant code pertaining to the operating mobile vendor, determining if a certification is required, if required then payment of fees and application and then adhering to vending requirements and finally verifying the zoning compliance. 

City council members have not come to a conclusion. 

Fenton city attorney Chris Patterson said in a city council meeting: “We’re going to create an application form and I think the application form will also help and then have to set a checkbox that will say, ‘are you doing this?’ If not, you don’t need to do this and ‘are you doing this?’, proceed to complete this section. They’re designed to sort of make this licensing system work easier because we are asking individuals to potentially, in a certain scenario, complete a license.” 

Patterson advised the city council on the overall process of the food truck ordinance and the process on how to achieve its licensing and approval to operate in the city of Fenton. 

“Consistent as a peddler and a solicitor’s license, they also have to coordinate with the property owner to get a special event zoning permit,” said Patterson. 

Food truck ordinances come into place because of various reasons. 

“We did have complaints about the generators and the trash,” Fenton Mayor Sue Osborn said at the meeting.

Torrance City Council meeting draws vocal citizen comment

The Torrance City Council meeting held on June 20 drew a crowd, half of the citizens carrying signs demanding environmental change with the others decked out in patriotic attire. Demands for the Torrance Refinery to be more transparent were made along with groups fighting to stop a decision that would allow flags other than that of the country or state on street lamps and poles. 

A proposed discussion was on the agenda to help the city council members decide whether the city should allow banners or flags, other than that of the city or state, to be put on city street lamps and poles. Three business owners discussed wanting to put banners with company logos or decorate the city for events. 

Despite there being no mention of specific events or kinds of flags that would be acceptable, there were rows of citizens adorned in American flag attire at the meeting that had come to try to stop the city councilors from allowing this. Seven members from that group who came up to speak targeted their comments toward pride month

 “A month dedicated to the sexual preference of one group has become overwhelming and unnecessary,” said one member of the group. 

All comments that were not in favor of allowing more kinds of flags and banners focused on pride month, despite pride flags being only one example given by community members. 

City council members and the mayor said they are dedicated to bettering their community and local government is all about the seemingly small issues. 

“Local government participation is where the public gets to truly interact with their elected officials in a very transparent forum,” said Mayor George Chen. “We encourage everyone to come and let their voice be heard.” 

Another group of citizens were present at this meeting, but for an entirely different cause.

Williamston City Council hears update on microplastic reduction

Williamston City Council held its bi-monthly meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss management of microplastic pollution in local water, absentee ballots being on the rise in Williamston, and its search to fill the vacant spot on the board. 

When reached the audience participation portion of the agenda, executive director of the Ingham Conservation District, Michelle Beloskur, approached the podium. In the effort to reduce microplastics in the water, Beloskur is working with Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes to provide mesh laundry bags to Williamston residents and inform community officials on the effects of microplastic pollution. 

The community is a year into the three-year project and a new prototype of a sensor has just been created. The sensor will exist in the pipes and can detect how much microplastic and what kind is in the water. The goal is to have four sensors stationed in the city by next year, making Williamston one of the main hubs of the study.

What does the passage of Prop 1 mean for small communities?

It’s been five weeks since Michigan votes decided to legalize recreational marijuana, but Williamston City Manager Corey Schmidt said he does not expect a huge change for community residents. “To the extent that is, if it’s occurring in public, there could be some ramifications there,” said Schmidt. “But as of right now, when I talked to our police chiefs and whatnot, we just don’t expect a huge change.”

With the passing of Proposal 1, all communities who are against it still have the opportunity to opt-out of dispensaries within their city limits. Communities had this ability to opt-out when medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan. The Williamston City Council has been debating this issue for months.

City Council discusses road improvements, fire codes

At the Oct. 8 Williamston City Council meeting, the cost of keeping the city running safely and efficiently was the focus of the evening. The theme of the night was the costs of replacements. The first item on the agenda for approval was a new 2018 Factor 2100i Frontliner chassis for a street-cleaning Vactor truck with the price of $390,981.86. Vactor trucks are used for sewage and excavation but also helps clear out clogs in sewers which can damage homes and back up into basements.