At its meeting last night, Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Waterford Township Board of Trustees was expected to introduce four amendments to the offenses section of the township’s ordinance code, three of which have been revised to keep up with evolving case law and requirements.
“Many of these provisions were adopted years ago and so we periodically revise them based on current need or changes in the law. It’s a manner of updating,” said township attorney Walter Bedell.
While some of the amendments merely clarify language, one section has been added that pertains to depositing snow on sidewalks.
If passed, any person who shovels, plows or deposits snow onto a public sidewalk or non-motorized pathway where it interferes with the public right-of-way would be in violation.
The section is not applicable to the Road Commission for Oakland County or any other governmental agency involved in clearing snow from roadways.
“It prohibits people from piling snow on (public) property,” Bedell said. “It amends the existing code of ordinances by incorporating this new section.”
Another section — which appears under “disruption of the peace” — is being considered for revision. If adopted, it would be associated with public order, decorum, noise levels and activity in a residential setting, on commercial premises and in the workplace.
To “disrupt” would mean to interrupt the normal course of harmony or activity at any residential setting, commercial premises, or workplace.
Likewise, the harassment ordinance is also up for revision.
“Stalking and harassment weren’t defined in the former ordinance and, while some of the language has been changed, some remained the same,” said Treasurer Margaret Birch.
Stalking would be defined as “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment that would cause someone to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. Harassment would include, for example, stalking or the transmission of e-mail or phone messages which contain threats of bodily injury, or other threats intended to place a person in fear of the safety of their person or property.”
Lastly, the board considered modifying rules on consuming alcoholic beverages on highways and open containers in motor vehicles in order to clarify that drinking alcohol in commercial or apartment complex parking lots without permission from the proprietor or owner’s agent is prohibited.
Violations of these rules would be considered civil infractions. Violators would not be entitled to a trial by jury. The burden of proof would be based on the preponderance of evidence. Violators would have a right to a hearing before a judge, who would assess any citation.
If passed, a second reading and adoption of the revised ordinances would take place at the next township board meeting, slated for Nov. 14.