By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Owosso City Council voted during its Monday, Dec. 21, meeting to continue to allow swing sets on any part of a residential property. The city’s Planning Commission forwarded an ordinance change to the council after a city resident complained about a neighbor having a swing set in the front yard of a residence.
The council voted unanimously to deny the item, with numerous council members wondering why the issue was forwarded from the Planning Commission in the first place.
“Obviously this comes to us from the planning commission, so council looks at it at this time,” Mayor Ben Frederick said to Assistant City Manager and Community Development Director Susan Montenegro during the meeting, since she is the staff person who works with the planning commission. “But I’m not really with you on this. We have an ordinance that allows burning barrels and yet we don’t have a provision in here that would allow play structures in yards that don’t have back yards. I don’t think it would be so bad if a few residents had play structures in their front yards. I don’t want to deny families the ability to have play structures for their kids.”
“As I look through this city I see a lot of properties that would not fit a play structure in the back yard,” Councilman Burton Fox said during the meeting. “If a person wanted to plead their case with the Zoning Board of Appeals it would cost them $50 to do so. This, in my opinion, is just another way of putting a financial burden on people who can’t afford it. I just think that we need to understand that our ordinances need to fit the city as a whole. I don’t see what the big hassle is.”