The Wayland City Council Monday night decided to table two proposed ordinances after public hearings.
Members delayed decisions on a chicken ordinance and on a regulation of at least 450 feet from any dwelling in the city limits for bow hunters.
The latter issue was more controversial, as several hunting enthusiasts showed up to the meeting to protest the proposed minimum distance. The 450 feet was suggested because of old rules from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Lonnie Wagner told the council he has bow hunted on his property for many years and felled six deer. He added there hasn’t been even one instance of injuries or problems in as many as four decades.
The issue surfaced earlier this month when local citizen Nathan Cardosa urged the council to do something because he is worried that someone, particularly children, could get hurt. So Councilman Rick Mathis asked acting City Manager Terry Nielsen to come up with a proposed ordinance amendment.
Wagner said Cardosa didn’t talk with him about the matter and went straight to the police and city officials.
Wagner’s nephew, Alan, echoed the sentiments and said it is most likely current conditions are safe enough for everybody.
“I don’t intend to endanger anyone,” he said.
Cardosa told the council he isn’t targeting the Wagners in a neighborhood dispute.
“I have no vendetta against the Wagners, it’s a matter of safety,” he said. “I respect hunting and I respect hunters.”
Bruce Haveman said his hunt on that property was ruined when he was asked if he knew was property he was on. Cardosa countered that he has never spoken to Haveman.
Wagner later in the meeting told the council it was his understanding the old city ordinance permitted bow hunting within 150 feet of households.
Councilwoman Tracy Bivins said, “I think 450 feet is an awful lot.”
Alan Wagner pointed out, “If you impose the 450 feet it will be the city’s law and the DNR won’t enforce it.”
Councilwoman Jennifer Antel said she checked with Otsego and Plainwell and learned both cities do not permit hunting within their city limits.
However, she suggested more information is needed and therefore suggested tabling the issue.
The proposed chicken ordinance is running into snags because there are questions about who will enforce it.
Councilman Rick Mathis said he didn’t want to tie up police officers’ time with such matters and suggested instead a part-time ordinance enforcement officer be hired.
Acting City Manager Larry Nielsen said such an officer “would need some training and certification because sometimes you might wind up in court.”
Another reason for delaying a decision is that hiring a part-time enforcement officer would be a matter for the fiscal year 2018-19 budget.
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the City Council:
• Reappointed Virgil Gleason and Andrew Shelest to three-year terms on the Planning Commission.
• Appointed Robin Beckwith, manager of the Wayland branch of United Bank, to an open seat on the Downtown Development Authority Board, succeeding longtime member Ron House.
• Re-elected Antel mayor pro tem, who will take charge of meetings when Mayor Tim Bala is absent.
• Heard a presentation from longtime businessman Bob Serulla about the possibility of adopting an ordinance permitting a marijuana provision center 739 S. Main St. He said the business would provide a safe space for exchange of the substance between licensed patients and licensed care givers only, and it would be strictly regulated.
“We have over 5,000 medical marijuana patients within a five-mile radius (of Wayland),” he said. “These people need a safe place to go.”
He said the operation he proposes would not be involved in the transport or growing of marijuana.
Serulla was told the city is continuing to work on the medical marijuana dispensary issue, but nothing has been decided as yet.