Mount Clemens rolls out ‘a new way that we will process blight’

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published April 18, 2023

 Mount Clemens City Hall, where the Administrative Hearings Bureau sessions will be held.

Mount Clemens City Hall, where the Administrative Hearings Bureau sessions will be held.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MOUNT CLEMENS — Nobody likes blight on their block.

Whether a lawn is unkempt or a building is falling apart, buildings left to blight are an eyesore at best and a hazard at worst. Laws enforcing blight are on the books, though enforcement requires police and courts to get involved.

But in Mount Clemens, a change is coming. The product of months of planning and many City Commission sessions, the Administrative Hearings Bureau has finally come into effect.

“The (AHB) is a new way that we will process blight,” Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp said. “What we formerly did was we took blight complaints and those through our enforcement department and also through 41B District Court.”

Under the AHB system, property owners that receive a blight infraction will receive a letter with the upcoming monthly hearing date that spells out a process to either correct the violation or explain their case before a hearings officer.

“Basically, all of the blight violations will be processed in-house now,” Kropp said.

AHBs are a power given to Michigan cities in Section 117.4 of the Home Rule City Act of 1909, but Kropp says the city’s system is based on the one in Port Huron.

“Myself and former city manager Don Johnson were invited to a Kiwanis meeting where one of the officers from Port Huron was giving a talk on the (AHB) process that they have in Port Huron,” Kropp said. “He’s been a part of that since the inception of that, so he explained it to us and we saw the success that Port Huron has had with it.”

Following the meeting, investigating AHBs in other cities and taking into consideration past complaints about the effectiveness of Mount Clemens’ prior blight enforcement procedures, Johnson and Kropp got the ball rolling toward an adoption of the system in Mount Clemens. The last approvals from the City Commission were made on Monday, April 3.

Port Huron is where the Mount Clemens AHB finds its first two hearing officers, Timothy Juengel and Stanley Hirt. Officers are appointed by the City Commission and have to meet certain requirements.

“There is only one person that presides over (hearings), and that’s the (AHB) officer,” Mount Clemens Interim City Manager Gregg Shipman said. “They have to be a licensed, practicing attorney for at least five years. They have to go through a course that we provide that educates them on the process.”

As for how residents and property owners may come to face — or dispute — the officers, Shipman says the AHB system allows for ticketed people to resolve problems before even attending a hearing.

“Now, you start out with a ticket, and there’s a fine attached to it,” Shipman said. “However, if you complete the cleanup or fix the problem within a timely fashion, then the fine goes away.”

Under the prior blight enforcement process — which is still in effect for cases started before the AHB went into effect — not fulfilling the ticket’s request means a day in court.

“The main thing is this isn’t about money, this is about compliance,” Shipman said. “It’s just about getting everybody to comply and make our city a more beautiful, better place.”

More information about the Mount Clemens AHB can be found at or by calling code enforcement at 586-469-6800 ext. 905 or 930.