Jackson council plans to repeal two ordinances adopted in 2017

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JACKSON – A public hearing has been scheduled for the May 26 meeting of the Jackson Township Council on two ordinances that will, if adopted, repeal a pair of ordinances that were adopted by the governing body in 2017.

The ordinances to be voted on May 26 were introduced during the council’s May 12 meeting. Council Vice President Alex Sauickie, Councilman Andrew Kern and Councilman Martin Flemming voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the ordinances. Councilman Ken Bressi abstained.

The first ordinance that will be considered for adoption on May 26 will repeal a 2017 ordinance that prohibits dormitories anywhere in Jackson. The second ordinance that will be considered for adoption will repeal a 2017 ordinance that prohibits schools in certain zones in Jackson.

Sauickie said the ordinances that are proposed to be repealed, from a legislative standpoint, are redundant.

“That means whether the ordinance is there or not, the same type of procedures need to be followed,” he said.

Township Attorney Gregory McGuckin explained why the 2017 ordinances are considered to be redundant.

“Ordinance 04-17 banned dormitories anywhere (in Jackson) as a permitted use. That ordinance was redundant because dormitories were not a permitted use in the first place.

“Ordinance 03-17 eliminated certain zones (in Jackson) from permitting schools. (The ordinances that were introduced May 12) put the ordinances back to where they were in 2017 with respect to certain zones,” McGuckin said.

Due to the ongoing 2020 coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, the May 12 council meeting was live-streamed via Zoom.

Many residents who were watching the meeting and had the chance to speak expressed criticism regarding the introduction of the two new ordinances at a time when they cannot physically attend a meeting of the governing body.

The public hearing for the two new ordinances is scheduled for May 26. If the restrictions on public gatherings are lifted by that time, residents would be able to attend the council meeting. If the restrictions are not lifted, the meeting will be live-streamed.

During the May 12 meeting, one resident asked how Jackson defines a dormitory.

According to the 2017 ordinance, a dormitory is defined as any building, or portion of a building, that has been designed or converted to contain living quarters which are provided as residences or for overnight sleeping for individuals or groups, operated as an accessory use to a school, college, university, boarding school, convent, monastery, nonprofit educational institution, religious order or other use.