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October 07, 2002

CITY OF PLYMOUTH

 

CITY COMMISSION MEETING

 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2002

 

A regular meeting of the Plymouth City Commission was held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 7, 2002 at Plymouth City Hall, Plymouth, Michigan 48170.

 

PRESENT:  Mayor Pro-tem Colleen Pobur, Commissioners Michele Potter, Stella Greene, Phil Pursell, Dan Dwyer, Ron Loiselle

 

ABSENT:    Mayor Bill Graham, excused

 

Also present were City Manager Paul Sincock, City Attorney Robert Marzano, as well as various Department Heads.

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mayor Pro-tem Colleen Pobur.

 

 

CITIZEN COMMENTS

 

Peter Bunting, 256 Farmer, announced that Boy Scout Troop #P6 would be out in the neighborhoods this Saturday selling pumpkins, corn stalks and collecting any pop cans or bottles to help out their troop.

 

 

APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

 

Motion was offered by Comm. Potter and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the agenda for Monday, October 7, 2002.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

ENACTMENT OF THE CONSENT AGENDA

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur requested that #4b be added to the agenda for approval of August and September Bills.

 

Motion was offered by Comm. Greene and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the consent agenda, as amended.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

COMMISSION COMMENTS

 

Comm. Potter spoke about an article she recently read in the Wall Street Journal concerning a local business in the City of Plymouth and was nice to have such a nice write up in such a prestigious publication.  She also reminded everyone about the Chili Cook-off and Harley Motorcycle Show that is taking place in town this Sunday.

 

Comm. Dwyer spoke about the Building Expo at the Cultural Center on Saturday and felt it was very well received and thanked all the people involved for their hard work.  He spoke about participating in the Youth Leadership interviews and attending the Employee Benefits Expo.

 

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

6a.  Broe Report –

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur provided a re-cap of the last regular meeting in which there was discussion concerning problems and issues with Dr. Broe and the properties he has purchased to house open head injury patients for rehabilitation.  She indicated that there has been an extreme amount of time and research done on the part of the administration and also help has been requested from State Representative John Stewart on this subject.  She spoke about the questions submitted by Tom MacDonald, explained the responses and indicated that it was also the responsibility of the neighbors in that area to make complaints to the State of Michigan and the Police Department   She indicated that it seemed there was a lack of requirements or regulations by the State and that is why Rep. Stewart has been asked to review the material and summon the resources of the State of Michigan to further address this issue.  She indicated that there were forms in the back of the room for residents to complete and they would also be encouraged to get on the website and click on Family and Health Services.  She stated that the residents need to be aware that Housing Discrimination based on a handicap is not allowed, nor is limiting the number of handicapped persons in an area or neighborhood.  She stated zoning is the best way to regulate these types of issues and they are currently operating in compliance with the zoning laws.  Mayor Pro-tem Pobur informed the residents that this is not finished and that the City Commission and Administration will continue to research this for answers on how to get a handle on this problem.  She spoke about the potential meeting that was going to be set up by Ann Manning from Dr. Broe’s office and that the City provided the labels for their use to inform the residents of the date and time of the community meeting with representatives from Dr. Broe’s office.  Unfortunately, at the very last minute it was relayed to the City of Plymouth that they would not meet with the residents because a client privilege confidentiality issue.  She indicated the City is very disappointed that the offer was made to have the meeting at the last Commission Meeting by Ann Manning and they withdrew at the last minute after the City had offered a facility to have the meeting and the labels to notify the residents.

 

Matt Cardwell, 1069 N. Mill, submitted questions to be given to Dr. Broe to respond to regarding his businesses to determine what is going on in those buildings in that residential area.  He stated he feels it is a zoning issue and that Dr. Broe is running a medical facility and is concerned with shifting supervision to other facilities and not having constant 24 hour care in those buildings with the type of residents there.  He stated he doesn’t feel that the work is done yet on this issue and would like the Commissioners to continue to research on what can be done legally and answer the questions

 

Lynn Gill, 358 W. Liberty, stated if a new meeting is scheduled she would like the City to make sure that all the residents are to be notified.  She expressed concern with whether they are required to have the 24-hour supervision and could anyone rent those units from Dr. Broe.  She feels there are violations of zoning and wants the City to know that no one is satisfied with the responses they are getting about this problem.  She indicated that more information needs to come forth and questions answered.

 

Greg Gill, 328 Farmer, indicated that the disturbances are still going on daily at those facilities and gave examples.  He stated that Dr. Broe has talked to him and in their conversations indicated he would answer various questions and satisfy complaints about problem patients of his at those facilities.  He stated that certain patients have thrown rocks and batteries at his family members and propositioned several individuals and was told they would be relocated and they weren’t.  He stated that they have company vehicles picking tenants up and taking them places and it is a company run organization in a residential area.  He indicated he and other individuals have made complaints at the CIS Department about the patients at those addresses owned by Dr. Broe.  He spoke about serious incidents that are happening and being harassed by the patients and also the Police Department.  He stated Dr. Broe doesn’t want to have a direct forum to be made accountable as to what he is doing in that neighborhood.  He stated the complaint form being offered by the City of Plymouth is not the correct one.  He pointed out that if Dr. Broe has nothing to hide, then why does he have all these units under different names.  He stated it is very hard to live there right now because of all the safety issues his family is experiencing.

 

Tom MacDonald, 297 Farmer, spoke about an ordinance in the Michigan Legislature, Act 207 of 1921 regarding zoning for adult foster care facilities.  He stated Plymouth has good zoning laws and referred to home occupation and concerns with requirements not being met with businesses being run in the community.  He stated he did not move to Plymouth to live in a fearful neighborhood and they have real issues with safety with these Broe Rehabilitation houses.  He spoke about ordinance #78-52 and feels they don’t comply with this city ordinance.  He said he knows they are supposed to call the Police with any incidents, but he hopes no one is hurt before they get there.

 

Susan Clark, 305 Farmer, questioned if anyone physically has set foot inside those homes since all these problems have been going on.  She spoke about the houses were bought with intentions of housing closed head injuries.  She fears for the safety of her children with these types of people walking around in their neighborhood that don’t know right from wrong.  She stated the City Commissioners need to work harder to find answers to solve the problems with these transients and it is not fair to the residents and the City of Plymouth.  She stated that Dr. Broe is not going to treat this as a family residence and make the necessary upkeep like the people that have bought their homes and take pride in them and work hard to make them look nice. Dr. Broe is definitely running a business out of those homes and it is not fair to the residents in that area or to the City of Plymouth.  She spoke about a business in that area that is having a hard time selling because of what is going on and it will drag down property values with what is happening in their neighborhood.

 

Lynn Gill, 358 W. Liberty, stated she agrees with Susan Clark and provided additional questions that the City Commissioners should be asking.  She expressed concern that the City of Plymouth has accepted that the title of these homes are “rental”.  She asked the Commissioners to go back and look at the definition of a rental unit, who is paying the rent, who’s name is on the lease, how long are they there, what type of supervision, who can rent there, what relationship is between the leaser and lessee.  What right do the residents have because their rights are being violated.  The tax base should be a concern for the City if no one wants to live in that area because of these businesses.

 

Susan Parks, 308 Farmer, asked questions about zoning and Jim Penn clarified and defined a two family and one family unit and stated it is very difficult to determine who is living in a family unit unless there is an inspection.  He stated based on square footage there are limitations and Dr. Broe’s four unit building is inspected and the others he would have to be invited to inspect or have a court order to go into the units.

 

A resident on Starkweather spoke about her thoughts and expressed concerns with tenants operating as a halfway house and the residents viewed as the bad guys infringing on handicapped population.  She has concerns with the City asking everyone to call in their complaints and not doing anything about the situation and with the many hats of Dr. Broe with no regard to the residents in that area or the City of Plymouth.  She stated it seems quite convenient that Dr. Broe has a ready-made clientele for these establishments and where is the rent monies coming from.  She feels that he is not only a doctor but also a real estate tycoon.

 

Peter Bunting, 256 Farmer, spoke about his brother that has a closed head injury and they tried to get him into the Broe facilities in his neighborhood.  He encouraged the Commissioners to speak with his wife about her conversation with the workers at Broe Rehabilitation.

 

Joe Labold, 915 Mill, stated it is very apparent what these Broe houses are all about and make no mistake it is a time bomb waiting to happen and hopes everyone is ready for what comes before them.  He stated that those houses are nothing but a glorified medical campus and fears for everyone’s safety with lack of supervision for those patients in that neighborhood.  He stated he feels that this problem will be around for a while and doesn’t feel the neighborhood wanted to go in the direction of having this in the community.

 

Gregory Bader, representative and attorney for Dr. Broe, spoke about the website that people can go to that describes adult foster care and the complaint forms they can submit if they have a problem.  He stated he feels if people don’t feel they are complying with City of State Ordinances that they are free to file complaints.  He spoke about the last regular meeting and questions that were asked of Ann Manning who was representing Dr. Broe Rehabilitation, and she was unable to obtain the information because it got into client privilege and those patients have the right to their privacy and chose to not have their support services as public information.  He indicated that due to those issues they decided it would be inappropriate to schedule a meeting and not be able to discuss various issues.  He thanked Mr. Sincock for the offer to assist them in holding this anticipated meeting but due to the fact that there were privacy issues they should not schedule a meeting.   He informed everyone that there is no law regarding a fifteen hundred feet rule as to how close these facilities can be to each other, it was overturned in a lawsuit.  He stated he appreciates the difficult circumstances the City Manager and Administration has been put in with this situation and they really want to be good neighbors.  He stated he appreciates all the research and questions that the City Manager has answered and looks forward to their future with the City of Plymouth.

 

Comm. Dwyer expressed concern and indicated he wasn’t buying anything that Mr. Bader was relaying to the City Commission.  He stated he felt it was a smoke screen and that they could have a meeting and never once mention anyone’s name and they could talk about how to be a good neighbor.  He stated that Mr. Bader’s memory is very vague about how their discussions came about for scheduling a meeting. They picked Plymouth like everyone else did because it is a beautiful community.  He stated that being professionals, they had to know that if they put three of these types of facilities in the same neighborhood in close proximity, they would have problems.  He stated he doesn’t agree with some of the neighbors that the role of the government is to find out everything about the people.  He stated he feels comfortable expressing to Mr. Bader that Dr. Broe and his staff do not know how to be a good neighbor.

 

Comm. Potter spoke about the criteria for accepting a patient in the program and Mr. Bader stated he was not at liberty to divulge that information to be able to protect an individuals privacy rights and it goes beyond what he is comfortable with.

 

Mr. Bader stated that if any of their tenants violates an ordinance or law they should be treated like anyone else.  He stated that they are individuals and should be treated no differently and they have a right to their privacy.  He stated that this is America and people of all walks, colors and disabilities have the right to fair housing.

 

Comm. Potter asked Mr. Bader if Dr. Broe would be agreeable to having a community meeting if they stayed away from confidentiality issues and criteria. 

 

Mr. Bader indicated that he would not be in favor of having a meeting due to the active press in the community, comments made at the last meeting and the tone of the present meeting.  He stated he doesn’t see anything good coming of it and it would do nothing other than raise the level of panic and fear.  He indicated he felt that the City Commissioner and Administration had done their job by providing information to the residents about how to file complaints and the website they can review.  He stated citizens have the responsibility to understand the law and their feelings and fears and put them in the context of the law and live like a responsible neighbor like everyone else.

 

Comm. Loiselle spoke about safety factors and citizens documenting all these incidents to help the state be aware.  He stated the only way they can prove the problems in that neighborhood is to document and report and the City needs their help.

 

Greg Gill, 328 Farmer, realizes he should have reported incidents and all the incidents were factual and feels he has the right to his privacy and he and his family feel like prisoners. He stated that the patients need 24 hour care and they do not know what they are doing and don’t know right from wrong. 

 

Susan Clark stated she feels like they are all being conned by Dr. Broe and why doesn’t he sell the three units and keep the larger one and just have one in that neighborhood. It would be a neighborly thing to do.

 

Matt Cardwell stated he takes privacy issues very seriously and was very disappointed that no meeting was scheduled with Dr. Broe instead of his attorney.  He spoke about discussions with neighbors fearing that their property values will be affected and also the serious safety issues.  He stated he feels is too much saturation of more than one unit in that area.  He stated he hopes they can get answers from Mr. Bader as quickly as possible.

 

Carol Levitte, 223 N. Main, spoke about a similar incident that happened in the City years ago on Roe Street and sees it happening all over again.  She spoke about the home occupation ordinance that is extremely tough and people here are asking for enforcement of the City Ordinances by the City Commissioners.  She stated this is a business being run out of these homes and has residential zoning and this should have went before the Zoning Board of Appeals and Mr. Penn, the building official.   She offered to loan her transcripts and files to the City Attorney to review that she has concerning Roe Street.  She is asking the City Commission and Dr. Broe to meet with these residents to discuss business issues and concerns in an open session.  She stated she feels complaints need to go to the City and not the State of Michigan and the zoning issues need to be enforced properly and have an obligation to do so.

 

Comm. Pursell stated he doesn’t feel this problem will go away and feels Dr. Broe needs to meet with the residents and come to some resolution.  He stated that this is liable to end up in court unless they can come to some kind of resolution.  He asked that Mr. Bader pass this information along to Dr. Broe.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated that this is not the end of the situation and they will continue to look into it and have open dialogue with the residents.  

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

7a.  Authorization for Emergency Purchase –

 

RES. #2002-146

 

WHEREAS, on Sunday night, September 29, 2002 the City experienced a significant water main break.  This break in the water pipes caused a variety of damage to Rose Street and to private property in the area; and

 

WHEREAS, after crews were able to shut down the water main and make repairs it became apparent that Rose Street from the break location downhill to Mill Street had suffered sub-base and grade level damage that would make the street a threat to the traveling public health, safety and welfare; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Manager did authorize emergency repairs to Rose Street, estimated to be approximately $60,000.  The City Manager authorized the repairs under the Plymouth City Code, Section 2.137.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby confirm and authorize the emergency repairs to Rose Street in an amount estimated to be approximately $60,000.00  Peter A. Basile Sons, Inc. is the authorized contractor for this job.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Dwyer and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

7b.  Lower Town Grill Outdoor Seating –

 

RES. #2002-147

 

WHEREAS, the Lower Town Grill has requested a Temporary Authorization for outdoor seating service; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Plymouth has a policy in place which allows for temporary outdoor seating on public right of ways between April first and November first.  This temporary permit must be applied for on an annual basis.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby approve temporary outdoor service in accordance with the City’s Outdoor Café Policy for Lower Town Grill.  This approval is valid through November 1, 2002.

 

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT due to the location of the Lower Town Grill near the residential area that the hours of operation of the Outdoor Seating Area is to be limited to between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily through November 1, 2002.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the resolution.  Motion was approved, with a no vote from Comm. Greene. 

 

 

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

8a.  Committee Reports -  Report submitted by Comm. Dwyer

 

8b.  City Manager Report – Update for Commissioners concerning ongoing projects and current projects with the Administration

 

8c.  Appointments -  None

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and supported by Comm. Pursell for adjournment of the meeting at 8:55 p.m.  Carried unanimously.