By Rosemary K. Otzman
Over the last few weeks what looks like a new junk yard just popped up in Sumpter Township and the residents want to know what’s going on.
At the regular township board meeting on Sept. 9, Marty Kalasz brought up the subject and others joined in with questions.
Treasurer John Morgan, who is acting township supervisor, explained that the auto auction business on Rawsonville Road is handling a number of cars that were damaged in the flooding in Detroit and they asked to put them temporarily on the township fairgrounds.
But, the township was having a car show and so couldn’t give them the space. So, they got the use of land zoned industrial, back off Willis Road, across from Holiday West mobile home park.
Kalasz complained that he saw 14 ordinance violations on the cars parked there and township residents with those violations would be cited.
Attorney Rob Young said on Thursday the planning commission was meeting and the planner would be there and they’ll figure out what needs to be done. He said usually a site plan needs to be submitted.
Kalasz said oil and gas could be leaking into the county ditches and that a DEQ violation.
Acting Supervisor Morgan said, “They came in overnight and we don’t know if they’re in violation of anything.”
“You’re waiting too long,” Kalasz insisted.
“The potential is there,” agreed Debbie Chamberlain. “If residents can’t park a car in their yard without a license plate, registration, and insurance… The ordinance officer should be out there checking it out.”
“As far as we know they haven’t done anything wrong,” Morgan said. “We’re not going to harass them over the potential … If anything’s wrong we’ll make sure it’s made right.”
“My ordinance officer has been out there,” said Trustee Bill Hamm, who has been put in charge of the building department.
Hamm said because of the Act of God in Detroit cars have been piled up all over the Detroit area, in Westland, Dearborn, Wayne, and Inkster, along with Sumpter.
“This is a very temporary state for their cars,” Hamm said.
“I hope so because it looks terrible,” Chamberlain said.
“I expect them to be out of here in less than two months,” Hamm said.
“Randy is OUR ordinance officer, not YOUR ordinance officer,” she reminded Hamm and he agreed she was correct.
Mary Sherwood noted that someone said the auto auction may have purchased that property and if they purchased, it seems more permanent and should have a privacy fence.
“If they want to stay, they will need a privacy fence,” Morgan agreed.
“I don’t think Sumpter Township should be a dumping ground,” Sherwood said.
Trustee Alan Bates said the cars will be parked there until they are auctioned off. When people asked the location, Bates said it’s across from Holiday Wood, east of the Bokon property, and can be seen from the road.
Sumpter Police Captain Eric Luke said his department has contacts with the auto auction and they expect the cars to be gone within two to three months. He said they are all water damaged, not crashes.
Captain Luke said they talked of putting out a fence, but they quicker they auction them off, the quicker they get the money. He said vehicles are coming in every day.
Morgan said, “You heard Mr. Hamm said the Governor declared a state of emergency.”
Kalasz said on Monday he saw semis going in and dropping stone.
In other business at the Sept. 9 meeting, the board:
• Approved POAM contract language that put in place the rank of corporal and approved Police Chief James Pierce’s appointments of Detective John Toth to the rank of Det./Cpl. and Officer John Ashby to Corporal, effective immediately. There are stringent requirements for the rank, including 12 years of continuous service and one year of previous review by the chief and captain and one year review after the promotion;
• Approved the zoning ordinance amendment to insert words that were inadvertently left out in the updating of the ordinance;
• Approved the reappointment of Joy Cichewicz to the planning commission with a term to expire in 2016;
• Approved awarding demolition ids for three properties (5760 Oakville Waltz, 43525 Willis, and 13671 Rawsonville) to Bush and Sons for $25,200 contingent upon all proper permits obtained and to be paid with federal Community Development Block Grant funds;
• Approved the bid of S&J Paving to sealcoat and strip the township hall, community center/police, and old township hall parking lots at a total cost of $9,775;
• Approved purchase of one six-foot merry-go-round mat from Miracle Midwest for $1,020 to be paid with funds from the Wayne County Parks Grant fund;
• Approved purchase of one, six-foot merry-go-round from AAA State of Play for $1,978 paid with funds from the Wayne County Parks Grant fund;
• Unanimously approved location of the sand volleyball court northwest of the playground some 90 feet from the back of the beach at Banotai Park. A motion to put it in the northeast corner failed at the Aug. 26 meeting;
• Approved paying warrants of $640,100.32; and
• Heard Chief Pierce tell of the police department employees who painted part of the police department exterior and finished on the hottest day of the year. Captain Luke said court workers did some of the work, but the landscaping was purchased by the Command Officers Fund. Luke said even though the building is 60 years old, it’s important to take pride in what you have. Morgan said all the employees of the township chip in and go to the extreme to help the township.
By Rosemary K. Otzman