City council likely to proceed with multiple ordinance amendments

MANISTEE — Manistee City Council will likely proceed with several ordinance amendments this month, which would allow local law enforcement to ticket violators.

Two of the ordinance amendments will enforce the already stated city-wide policies banning dogs on the Manistee Riverwalk and beaches, excluding the areas between the piers at First Street Beach and at Man Made Lake.

City council members approved the ordinance amendments on Tuesday; however, a second reading is required for both. Council member James Grabowski was not in attendance.

“The ordinance now allows our police officers to enforce what has been the policy of the city for many years,” stated Thad Taylor, city manager.

The first ordinance amendment modifies Chapter 606 Animals, with respects to dogs and cats. City of Manistee police officers are able to charge a state offense as a city ordinance violation.

With that, “Section 606.5 D.” was added to “prohibit dogs on city beaches, except between the piers at First Street Beach, and from the north end of Man Made Lake to the north end of the city beach.”

Violators will face a civil infraction.

Another ordinance amendment modifies Chapter 1024 Sidewalks and Riverwalk, prohibiting anyone from walking dogs on the Riverwalk from the west end of the Manistee Municipal Marina to the west end of the Riverwalk.

Bicycles, skateboarding and rollerblading are prohibited along all portions of the Riverwalk. Officers will also enforce violations as a civil infraction.

Both modifications are subject to approval at the next council meeting.

Currently, there are areas in the city designated for dogs like city sidewalks; the First Street Beach between the pier heads; Nordhouse Dunes; North Beach Access and Douglas Park Recreation Area and the dog park.

Service dogs are allowed on the Riverwalk and all areas of the beaches.

While the ordinance would be enforced, Manistee Public Safety director Tim Kozal said in a past interview that civil infractions are not always easy to enforce.

“It is going to have to be something we would have to observe in our presence,” said Kozal. “The only other way we could do something about a civil infraction like that is have someone from the public make the complaint, and they would have to come in as a witness to do that.”

Currently, the city has no ordinance addressing dogs on public beaches, parks and the Riverwalk, rather there are policies in place stating dogs are not allowed in certain areas.

Police are able to ask people to follow the posted rules, but cannot enforce it any further.

If approved by council, violators would be held responsible by law.

Council members also approved the following ordinance amendments on Tuesday, which are subject to a second reading:

• Two proposed changes to Chapter 663 Fireworks — the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act was amended in late 2018, to allow greater periods of time for cities to bar the use of consumer fireworks.

The proposed modification to the ordinance bars the use of consumer fireworks “except for those days and times that the 2018 amendment to the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act does not permit the city to regulate”;

• Two changes were also made to Chapter 662 Peace Disturbances. The change is required by state law, providing that “being intoxicated in a public place, standing alone, is not a violation, but the individual must also be acting in a way that endangers the safety of someone, endangers property or is causing a public disturbance.”

Another section was added to provide that consumption of marijuana in a public place — other than an area identified by a private property owner — is prohibited; and

• An amendment to Chapter 1482 Residential Rental Properties, clarifying which rentals must comply with the inspection requirements. In addition, the “Certificate of Compliance” issued after an inspection terminates after three years, but is assignable to a new owner.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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