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Idea#86

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consolidation

Create a county building department with satellite stations throughout the county.

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Submitted by Community Member 3 years ago

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Comments (6)

  1. Part of the premise of Michigan's (and other State's) "Home Rule" foundation in the Constitution is to put your elected representative closer to the electorate.

    Consolodating and "rolling up" some Governmental responsibilities may make sense in some economic areas on a contractual basis.

    However, many rural communities CHOOSE to have less regulated local building and code enforcement.

    e.g. some mini-cities require permits/inspections at each transfer of ownership, when a property goes vacant or for something as inane as changing plumbing fixtures and even putting in a brick paver sidewalk...

    a centralized county building department can effectively administer a national or state building code. however, it would be impractical and inefficient for them to attempt to be 'local experts'

    3 years ago
  2. I disagree with the comment that this is a "local" issue. Michigan has adopted a statewide building code that spells out the minimum requirements of protecting the health and safety of all those in Michigan. It should not be a local decision on whether it is enforced or not as everyone may use a building, buy a house in a community, or even be a guest. This is life-safety, not aesthetics. Communities can have Planning and Zoning Commissions and make all the decisions they want about such things. As for what is actually built, there should be basic standards and shame on those communities that ignore this for "local" reasons. I would question of whether the County can do this as cost effectively as a community, or whether it should fall back on the State, which is what happens if a community does not do it on their own, and that should be looked at. The County already performs things like assessing for many communities and one can argue whether it is better, worse or more expensive. This is the discussion we should be having. As a professional engineer, I would greatly appreciate a uniform enforcement of the State code instead of having to deal with each communites individual interpretations, or lack of.

    3 years ago
  3. I think regional consolidation among adjacent communities may save some tax dollars, but trying to do it county-wide would only create another big, inefficient government office with various communities vying for its resources.

    3 years ago
  4. Mr. Johnston, while I respect your position - the State's codes are as you stated the MINIMUM for health and safety.

    They also do not address situations of enforcement for properties that over time become 'unsafe' through neglect, or through the foreclosure process.

    With respect to aesthetics - many communities do find that basic aesthetics can contribute to life-safety issues as properties that are not maintained, left vacant, etc. become an attractive nuisance or magnets for mischief.

    Further, it is my understanding that as an example, that unified code does not consider an auxilliary building under 200 sq ft as a "permenant structure" and thus some communities may elect to ignore the construction of such structures. Other communities strictly enforce site-plan/elevation/ground-water retention regulations - in these communities a "zoning permit" is needed to even put in a brick paver patio.

    There are many reasons why some communities integrate their local zoning ordinance/code-enforcement with their building departments.

    Note: after initially responding to this, I became aware that there are some communities that do contractually utilize some aspect of Oakland County or State Inspectors. I do not have a full list, but either Groveland or Springfield Townships pass some level of inspections off to non-local inspection efforts (I think Oakland County)

    3 years ago
  5. Let me start by saying that building officials, no matter what the jurisdiction, have the right to "tag" or otherwise act on an "unsafe" property such as an abandoned, foreclosed or otherwise neglected structure. The police or other enforcement agency could then act on that determinations. There are legal issues concerning right of entry and I will let an attorney, sheriff, or police official comment on that since it is beyond my expertise. Whether they do this or not is perhaps what concerns you. A community can also have a zoning or ordinance officer completely separate from a "building official" that reviews construction plans and actual construction or remodeling. A code enforcment officer would certainly be responsible for any violation of local ordinances but may not be either legally or by credentials, able to act on "building" violations and this would of course need to be defined by local ordinance.

    I'm not sure about Groveland, but Springfield Twp. currently uses a private company as their "Building Department" One can argue about whether a private or government service is better, cheaper, or more responsive but that is a much larger subject that many communities are looking at for all services.

    3 years ago
  6. I think you and I are mostly on the same wavelength Mr. Johnson. However, in terms of efficiencies afforded to the taxpayer/applicant having a centralized County building department for contstruction applications/inspections may prove a hinderance in communities where there is heavy/strict/regulated local ordinances.

    Especially if they do delve into site plan elevations, ground water run off calculations, lot coverage densities, line of sight analysis near lakes, wetland, and woodland ordinances.

    It's bad enough keeping it all straight when they are housed under one roof - commuting back and forth between the local municipality and a centralised county office can be problematic is more or less what I was trying to paint a picture of.

    and while communities can have code enforcement separate from building inspections - they are often inter-related and sometimes even comingled under one administrative department.

    :)

    3 years ago