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Jackson City Council approves police oversight commission and urban farming ordinance

Posted at 3:25 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 17:49:13-04

JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson City Council passed an urban farming ordinance and approved the creation of a Community Police Oversight Commission on Tuesday night.

This is what it means for you.

COMMUNITY POLICE OVERSIGHT COMMISSION

The Community Police Oversight Commission will consist of five members nominated by the mayor and City Council who will be residents or business owners of the city. Members will serve three-year unpaid terms.

The commission would advise the director of police and fire on community relations, policies, procedures, rules, training, recruiting and hiring among “other applicable programming.”

The city will look into hiring social workers. One member will be designated as a liaison to the commission.

“I think that that process should not just come in times of conflict or crisis or tragedy or waiting for the next movement to arise and demand those changes we can be very proactive with our police department and engage the community, not just the mayor and some bureaucrats, but engage the community in reviewing those policies and making recommendations on what changes may be necessary,” Dobies said.

The commission will work with Jackson police to encourage the “respectful treatment of all persons without undue use of force” and will provide a process for outside review of some incidents to evaluate the police response in the incident and recommend any changes to the police policies or practices.

Jackson resident John Wilson believes this ordinance is unnecessary says it needs some tweaks.

“Seven council members including the mayor is our oversight commission,” Wilson said. “Could you possibly make some requirements for those who sit on this commission? Maybe they have some hours riding with a police officer, maybe attending the reserve academy rather than just putting together a group of citizens that will fit the description of whatever diversity means.”

For more information on the ordinance click here and go to page 488.

URBAN FARMING ORDINANCE

The Urban Farming Ordinance will allow city residents to have bees, pigs and chickens under certain conditions.

Applicants who wish to have these animals on their property must get signed consent from all property owners within 100 feet. The city will issue a permit after the applicant enters into a development agreement with the city.

People will not be able to have more than three hens at any time. Roosters are not allowed. You would not be able to slaughter the chickens and they must be always in a fully enclosed structure.

For those raising honeybees, the hives must be at least 25 feet from the edges of permit holder’s property line unless the hives are eight feet above the ground or higher, or behind a flyaway barrier with signage indicating there are honeybees at the residence.

Hives may not be taller than four feet. The city is not allowing more than two hives per property

If a resident wishes to keep a pig, it must be a registered miniature potbellied pig. Residents will not be able to have a pig in the city limits if it weighs more than 100 pounds, is not spayed or neutered, is used a food source or is taller than 18 inches.

Residents would not be able to keep more than two pigs.

Jackson Resident Kerry Hyder-Grant said she’s excited for this ordinance.

“This isn’t something that someone is going to trip into. And they're also not going to grow huge, like 60 pounds is the max that the pig that I would get gets to be. That’s smaller than my Labrador. That's quieter than my Jack Russell terrier. Are there are a lot of us? No. Are we enthusiastic? Yes we are,” Hyder-Grant said.

For the full ordinance click here and go to page 116.

THE BLACKSTONE LOFTS PILOT PROGRAM

The Blackstone Lofts are one step closer to reality after City Council passed the final approval of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the project. MVAH Partners plans to build these lofts for low-to-moderate income residents. Developer Pete Schwiegeraht says their goal is to have this housing development complete in 2023.

For more information click here and go to page 102.

LIVING WAGE ORDINANCE

Mayor Derek Dobies’ proposed Living Wage Ordinance was met with resistance on City Council. The ordinance would raise minimum wage for certain city staff and organizations that do business for the city to more than $15 an hour.

Councilmember Laura Dwyer-Schlecte says she voted against it because she needs more time to see how this would impact small businesses.

“Are they only going to charge that amount for a project they do for the city? Or, is this something that they’re going to keep on their books for every project they do because contractors out there just don’t work for the city, they work for other people. I think that’s going to be a balancing act for the small business person,” Dwyer-Schlecte said.

By a 4-3 vote, the first reading of this ordinance was postponed until the Oct. 26 City Council meeting.

The urban farming ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.

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1:52 PM, Dec 16, 2020

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