New prosecution team examines, refines city ordinances

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published May 18, 2016


CLAWSON — The city’s new prosecution team has been busy during its honeymoon phase, revising many municipal ordinances with the goal of easier local enforcement.

Clawson City Council members unanimously adopted the group of ordinance revisions during their May 3 meeting.

“We’ve been working with (Police) Chief (Harry) Anderson regarding the philosophy of the new ordinances, and we recognize after talking to Chief Anderson and (City Attorney) Mr. (Jon) Kingsepp also that the city of Clawson is having some new issues, or additional issues in respect to the growth of downtown — different kind of businesses coming downtown,” said attorney Erich Goetz.

“(It’s) our need to kind of be proactive to react to what we perceive are initial issues that we have to deal with — with the new businesses in downtown — specifically dealing with some alcohol issues and things of that nature,” Goetz said.

“So we’re trying to be proactive in addressing what we perceive are going to be some issues going forward — not necessarily negative things — but things that we need to allow our law enforcement to assist the city and the citizens, and that really is the basis for the majority of proposals,” he said

City prosecutors Goetz and Renis Nushaj worked with Anderson on many of the revisions, along with an ordinance revision committee consisting of Police Department members and Kingsepp.

“They have worked diligently to come up with these new ordinances,” Anderson said.

Nushaj said there are a lot of issues on the state level with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and they felt it was necessary to make some local clarifications.

“The way it was passed, the referendum … it is very problematic,” he said. “It is problematic for our officers (and) it’s problematic in the courtroom dealing with the day-to-day application of some of the aspects of the marijuana act.”

Ordinance revisions were passed dealing with the transportation of medical marijuana for card holders similar to what was passed in Royal Oak recently. The drug must be in a closed container in the trunk while driving.

Other ordinance revamps addressed operating a vehicle with a higher blood alcohol content, the unlawful summoning of emergency responders, double parking, and revisions to the city’s noise ordinance.

Nushaj said they had to tweak Clawson’s existing noise ordinance following a recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision that rendered basically all current noise ordinances unconstitutional.

“As such, we had to address it, we had to make it more specific, we had to basically craft it in such fashion where it would withstand constitutional scrutiny,” he said.

The majority of the ordinance revisions also put greater control and revenue back into Clawson.

Nushaj said in many cases it is better to have locally written ordinances that serve the citizens of the community better and govern revenue sharing differently as opposed to a state statute.

This was the case with revisions to the city’s nuisance and blight ordinances.

Kingsepp said with newly adopted ordinance revisions, the fine has increased as well as a potential judgement for recovery expenses.

Kingsepp said the new ordinances also make enforcement local with respect to recovery of costs, expenses, cleanup and allowing the court to enter a more prompt and effective judgement.

City Council approved a new contract recently with Goetz-Nushaj PLLC to serve as the community’s prosecution team.

All new ordinances will take effect by the end of the month.