The Orchard Lake Police Department won’t be getting carports anytime soon after the City Council suggested an alternative of housing some patrol cars at the Department of Public Works (DPW) garage.
A discussion was held last month on whether six carports should be built on city property to house police vehicles. Police Chief Joe George said extreme heat or cold is not only a detriment to patrol car computer systems, but snow and ice delays response time.
However, the underlying problem lies with a city ordinance that prohibits carports, and although a variance could be issued, it would be unfair to residents who would want to follow suit, some have said.
“The zoning ordinance says no carports in the city and even though the Zoning Board of Appeals could grant a variance, why wouldn’t we allow that for everybody? Some on Council felt it just wasn’t important enough, so they suggested using space in the DPW garage,” said Director of City Services Gerry McCallum.
An ad hoc committee, comprised of City Councilmen Jerry Kosmensky and Norm Finkelstein, researched the issue prior to the Monday, Oct. 15 meeting during which the alternative was suggested.
The pair reviewed rules in surrounding communities such as Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor, West Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, and both Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township to determine if they used carports.
“Basically we came up with information that more communities use carports or DPW garages, so at the meeting Council suggested using the DPW garage because there’s space,” Finkelstein said. “The carports couldn’t be built until winter, so we are trying the DPW garage this winter. The chief thought it was a good idea and Gerry said it was something we could do.”