August 22, 2019

Standish enforcing blight control in-house

Posted

STANDISH — The city of Standish is enforcing and handling blight control in-house rather than contracting with the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department, as was originally planned.

City Manager Jerry Nelson said the sheriff’s department does not have available staff to take on the duties and is currently unable to hire someone new, so the city will be taking matters into its own hands at no additional cost.

“We’re going to handle it in-house and actually (city Administrative Assistant) Janice Cuttitta is the one who is going to be doing it,” he said.

The city began looking for an option to handle its blight control when previous Code Enforcement Officer Gary McFarland resigned. Nelson said McFarland stepped down from the position because he works out of town and services other municipalities, and it was challenging for him to tend to Standish.

Nelson explained that if someone is in violation of the blight ordinance, including having out-of-commission cars or grass taller than 12 inches, a letter will be sent to whoever is responsible, allowing them seven days to contact the city.

“It’s basically just a notice to get ahold of us — a warning,” he said. “And then they can take care of it without any issues. And if they don’t respond to those efforts then at that point (Cuttitta) will look to write tickets.”

Nelson said the city will use common-sense judgment when determining blight, such as in situations where several people are visiting someone for the weekend and there happens to be extra cars parked on the grass.

“If people get these letters and they call, at that point they can kind of explain their situation,” he said. “Or we can explain to them what they need to do, because a lot of times they may not even understand that that’s something they aren’t supposed to be doing.”

Nelson said communication is going to be key, as the city wants to work with the community.

“We’re not out there looking to write tickets — we’re looking to get things accomplished and just get things cleaned up and/or if there are any issues out there get them fixed,” he said.

While blight isn’t a major issue in the city, Nelson said it’s important to stay on top of the situation.

“I think overall our community is clean,” he said. “Our community looks good. But there’s always little things here and there that if you don’t get a handle on them, then good things can start to go in the other direction.”

Nelson said residents in violation will be charged $50 for not responding within the seven-day time frame, $250 for not responding a second time and $500 for a third time.

“The best thing is responding right away,” he said.

For more information, call the city at 989-846-9588.

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