Village council takes aim at park ordinace

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Ortonville-During the regular meeting on Sept. 27, the village council approved an amendment to the village ordinances pertaining to parks with a 6-0 vote. Councilmember Keith Dylus was absent with notice.
The amended ordinance, 92.05, reads that existing and proposed trail segments will be evaluated based on ADA guidelines as well as the degree to which forest vegetation and topography currently provides a visual barrier and physical barrier between the trail segment and adjacent private parcels. The ordinance would apply to all parks within the village.
“I believe it makes sense at any park, being conscious of where the residents are and their privacy and safety,” said village president Tonja Brice.
The planning commission brought the ordinance amendment to the village council because previous ordinances were restrictive of trails, particularly in the Ortonville Wildlife Preservation Park.
“We need to get this ordinance so that we can make the next step so we can get that master plan complete,” said planning commission chairman Bob McArthur.
Some members of the council were worried the ordinance was too open to non-specific, but the planning commission crafted it to apply to all parks in the village.
“It doesn’t say we can’t put a trail where there isn’t a physical barrier, it just says that we need to take that into consideration and evaluate based upon those considerations,” said council person Larry Hayden. “Maybe we would add some sort of vegetation on our own if we wanted to address that [visible trail sections] and work something out with that resident. It gives us flexibility. In this case it just says we’re going to work with those residents on adjacent properties.”

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