Ferndale Makes Code Enforcement Standards More Specific
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 4, 2020)
Ferndale, MI – Officials in Ferndale voted in December to approve changes to the city code that set more specific “minimum standards governing the maintenance, appearance and outdoor conditions of residential premises.”
Then-Councilperson Julia Music introduced the proposed changes after working with city staff and the city attorney to come up with language that would be clear and easy to enforce.
“It was time to look at our codes for home ownership,” Music said. “The idea to tighten the ordinances came from several residents that are frustrated by outdoor hoarding situations which attract rats and are eyesores. With the way the ordnance is now written, residents have clear-cut rules about outdoor storage that are closer to what we expect of our businesses.”
The ordinance requires the owner and operator of property to keep it free of hazards that include refuse, hazardous natural growth such as dying trees and limbs, overhanging objects including ice, rubbish, ground surface hazards, unsanitary conditions, and recurring accumulations of storm water. The ordinance also addresses chimneys, flues and vents, exterior porches, landings, balconies, stairs and fire escapes.
Plus it limits on outdoor storage, stating “Outdoor storage of items accessory to residential use shall not exceed thirty-six (36) square feet total on premises, shall only be located within the rear yard and shall not be located within any required side yard or rear yard set-back for the property.”
In regards to outdoor storage, the ordinance also outlines what can and cannot be stored, and where. Among the provisions are those that limit the number of bicycles stored out side to no more than two for each number of persons occupying or residing at the premises.
The ordinance does not limit lawn furniture, including tables, chairs, working grill, umbrellas and benches commonly associated with garden/lawn furniture if in working and functioning order, toys, play equipment, or play structures.
The Ordinance Committee approved the changes at their Nov. 25, 2019 meeting, and Council approved them on Dec. 16.
“This took some of the existing ordinances applicable to commercial properties to apply to residential properties,” said City Attorney Dan Christ. The ordinance takes effect March 16.
For those looking for specifics, see “The City of Ferndale Code of Ordinances, Chapter 6, Buildings and Building Regulations, Article VI, Housing Code, Division 3, Outdoor Conditions.”