A new ordinance that will help protect residents from annoying neighbors is being drafted in Marion Township.

The Marion Township Board of Trustees discussed the possible particulars of a nuisance ordinance at Thursday night’s regular meeting. Discussion about such an ordinance came about from an outdoor lighting dispute between a pair of neighbors in the community. At a prior meeting, officials had a pair of possible drafts to consider, and chose then to take a closer look at the shorter one. Township Supervisor Bob Hanvey said the longer one was more detailed, but also harder to implement and enforce. This new, shorter one has a more generic description of what a nuisance is and should be more easily enforceable.

The Board of Trustees spent a large portion of their discussion time on the ordinance in dealing with the penalty structure. The current draft calls for fines starting at $50, with a $500 maximum. They discussed options with what do if a nuisance is re-occurring. Trustee Les Andersen suggested in those cases, $50 per week for 10 weeks as long as it is occurring, arguing that any offender will get the message. They also discussed whether the violation should be a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. Treasurer Duane Stokes argued for the infraction, with having the offender come before the board for a show cause hearing. Clerk Tammy Beal said that there is never going to be a one-case-fits-all with a nuisance ordinance, and that they are going to have to keep working on it.

The board agreed to send the draft back to their lawyer with instructions to focus on the penalty rate. (MK)