Grattan Township looking for new zoning officer

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:24 am on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grattan Township Board members, from left, Trustee Dennis Heffron, Trustee Paul Knoerl, Clerk Jim Fues, Supervisor Frank Force and Treasurer Sabrina Freeman discuss items on the township agenda during a monthly township board meeting Monday night. — Daily News/Cory Smith

In other matters …

The Grattan Township Board:
• Voted 5-0 to reduce the fee for returned checks from $30 to $5.
“Our original return fee was $30 for residents who paid bills but had their checks bounce,” Force said. “But the financial institution we have now only charges us $5.”
• Following the introduction of a noise ordinance on Feb. 28, board members decided to allow the Kent County Sheriff’s Office access to the township’s noise meter.
“The county sheriff and the state police are willing to enforce our ordinance, but they need to have access to our noise meter,” Force said.
After Knoerl’s suggestion that the noise meter be left at the township fire station and deputies be given access to the facility, the board agreed that was the best option.
“It’s an expensive device, but they know how to use it and have already done a good job of making sure the races this spring at the Grattan Racetrack are below the maximum levels outlined in the ordinance,” Knoerl said.
• The board also agreed to look at replacing the township sign, which is outdated and lists businesses in the area that are no longer open.

 GRATTAN TOWNSHIP — As of June 1, Grattan Township will be without a zoning enforcement officer, and members of the Grattan Township Board are hoping someone who is qualified will come forward and fill the position.

Current Zoning Enforcement Officer Al Darzniak is resigning from the position and after Monday night’s monthly township board meeting, board members decided the position needed to be filled by someone “out of house.”

“A couple things have to come to mind when filling this position,” Board Supervisor Frank Force said. “We can either keep it in house, meaning one of the staff members would do it, or send it out and bring in candidates for interviews.”

Board members were skeptical that any current staff member could perform the job accordingly combined with other township duties.

“I’m not big on a staff member doing it,” Trustee Paul Knoerl said. “I’d probably prefer that we put it out as an open position.”

Trustee Dennis Heffron did not believe any current staff member was qualified to handle the position.

“I don’t think there’s anyone on staff that is qualified to do it, to be perfectly honest,” Heffron said. “I think we need to go out and find somebody similar to what we had before.”

Force then agreed with his fellow board members and said the position will soon be posted and interviews will follow.

According to Force, two Grattan Township Planning Commission members have also resigned, leaving two positions vacant.

Heffron said he believes those positions should also come from outside and that board members should begin seeking applicants.

“I do think that we need to take a little bit of time to seek out some applicants,” Heffron said. “One thing that concerns me about the planning commission is that we don’t have any agricultural representatives on the commission.”

Force agreed with Heffron, but said there just hasn’t been much interest from anyone in the township in wanting to take one of the two open positions.

“It’s probably the most important commission that we have,” Force said. “But I’m here to tell you, nobody wants to do it. I’m having difficulty finding people to apply.”

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