Council decides lakes ordinances are prudent

| 13 Sep 2012 | 01:46

— Councilman Lou Signorino makes no secret of the fact that he wants as little government as possible. To that end, he suggested the council discuss repealing what have become known as their "lakes ordinances," two pieces of legislation requiring residents of lake communities to notify their association when looking for septic and large construction project approvals.
The ordinances were approved on Dec. 7, 2011 and went into effect Dec. 27.
Signorino, who was a member of the council who approved the measures nine months ago, made the recommendation last month, calling the ordinances "discriminatory."
"At the onset, I realized one set of residents were being penalized," said Signorino. "It's not necessary for the township to get involved. Ultimately, everyone should be treated equally and fairly."
But he found no support on the council.

What it's all about

The ordinances - 2011-16 and 2011-17 - were the idea of the Lakes Committee, a group of representatives from a dozen lake communities throughout the township. The committee determined it would be beneficial to them to know when certain properties were making changes that could possibly encroach on the lakes and parkland. They said the best way to ensure this is to have homeowners abutting lakes and sensitive parkland to notify their association. The requirement of notification is for bigger construction projects and septic changes, not smaller changes that do not affect the environment.
Some residents in the lake communities did complain that the ordinances were prejudicial, making them perform an additional step that other residents in the township would not. However, these ordinances actually lessened the requirements that were in place since 2008 which required a 14-day waiting period before work could be done. The 2011 amendments took that waiting period away.
With this current ordinance, applicants may copy the first page of the application or write up a letter stating they are moving forward with the application, send it to their lake association via certified mail and then send the certified mail receipt to the township.
The council discussed the proposed ordinances from August 2011 until an agreement was reached in December.

No support to repeal

Councilwoman CarlLa Horton lives on Pinecliff Lake and said she is okay with the ordinances as a lake community homeowner. She said ultimately she would look to the lake community property owners for their guidance before making any changes to this.
"I haven't heard much opposition," she said.
Councilman Joe Smolinski agreed with Horton and said he didn't think they were discriminatory at all.
"It's a notification," said Smolinski. "Requirements are minimal. They send a certified letter with a receipt. The Lakes Committee was satisfied with the ordinances. I don't see anything wrong with it."