Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Storage Shed Battle Between Mark Adams and Bridgeport Township

Another part of the legal battles between Mr. Adams and Bridgeport Township is the storage shed he has placed on his property.
First let me start with a little history of this parcel of property on Riverview.  I have been told that a person owned this parcel and had constant battles with the township over it and finally just got so tired of it they let it go back for taxes. I wonder if they had as many fines and court costs racked up as Mr. Adams has over this parcel?  I don't know who this person is but I would love to find out and talk with them about it. Maybe that was when Bridgeport Township got control of it in 1997?
Now there was a old small barn/shed that sat on this parcel of land.  You can see it here in a photo that is posted on the Saginaw Area GIS site.  It looks a little dilapidated in this photo.  I have no idea what year this photo was taken.

When Mr. Adams purchased this land in October 2010, that building was no longer standing, it had been demolished and was just a pile of rubble on the property.  I guess some of the rubble had even been thrown down into the river.  Mr. Adams did clean all the rubble up from this building.  I wonder if any residents ever complained about the dilapidated building or the pile of rubble that sat there for years?  
You would think that the area residents and the township would have appreciated someone cleaning this property up and trying to make improvements on it?

So Mr. Adams did place a small storage shed on this property to store tools etc.. in.  It is a nice improvement over what was there.  If the old shed had not been demolished and was still standing I wonder if Bridgeport Township would have given Mr. Adams citations for it?  So here is a photo of Mr. Adams and his storage shed.

Now here are 3 citations issued to Mr. Adams from Bridgeport Township for the shed.  Unfortunately part of the 3rd citation is cut off in this image.

So the first citation is for having a "Accessory Building" on vacant land.  According to their zoning ordinance Section 304:  "They are permitted only in conjunction with a dwelling (not permitted on a vacant parcel) with the following exceptions".  One of those exceptions is if it is located in "Agricultural District".  
His property was zoned Residential/Agricultural but not Agricultural.  And they have changed his zoning to just Residential Vacant now which I suspect has changed anything he can do on his property. 

The second citation is for "Failed to obtain the required zoning permit to place an accessory building on this vacant property".   If the first citation says he can't have an accessory building on vacant land, then how can they cite him for not obtaining the required permit?  Confused?  I sure am.  It appears you can apply for "special permits" for various things in this township.  Does this mean he could have applied for a "special permit" for this shed?  I have been told that if a shed is allowed on your property, you don't need a permit if it is under a certain square footage.  This shed is under that limit.  I have looked through the rules, codes, zoning ordinances that are posted online but I can't find anything pertaining to the size of a building that does or does not require a permit. Maybe you always need a permit for any accessory building but I just can't tell for sure.
Now for special use permits, those are granted here in Bridgeport, and some people I have spoken with feel you just have to have friends in the right places to get one.

The third citation has something to do with the Michigan Building Codes and Mr. Adams failing to get the proper permit.  Again I ask if you can't have a small storage shed on vacant land, then how can they cite him for failing to get the proper permits?  It is all very confusing to me as I suspect it would be to most people.

Summary:  Don't bother spending money on buying any vacant land in Bridgeport Township.  Unless you plan on building a home on it, it seems you have no right to do anything with the property, you can't even put up a bird feeder or have a grill, can't have chairs to sit in and enjoy the view of the river. You can't use the property for enjoyment or the neighbors will be filing complaints.  You can't make improvements or put any structure on it or the township will start the citations, court hearings, then the fines and legal costs will start adding up into the thousands of dollars.

My Advice to anyone looking to purchase a piece of vacant property in Bridgeport Township -  Look Elsewhere, Anywhere But Bridgeport Township!

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