couple's request to amend zoning law denied
MENDON -- A Mendon couple stormed out of the Planning
and Zoning Commission meeting last week after their
request to amend a zoning ordinance was unanimously
Julie and Kent Gwillaim said they have been trying
for many months to find a way to rent out their basement,
but have had every attempt thus far blocked by the commission.
At Wednesday night's meeting they proposed an amendment
to the ordinance that would allow single home owners
the ability to rent each vacant room in their house
to one individual.
"We are proposing to change the wording in ordinance
so that if an applicant (someone who desires to rent
out space) desires to rent out a portion of their property
they could do so in a way that is compliant with the
ordinance," Kent said.
Kent also argued the commission has a responsibility
to seek a solution to the shortcomings of the ordinances
currently in place.
Justin Anderson, city planning and zoning commissioner,
said he appreciates the desires of the Gwillaim's to
rent out their basement, however, he does not feel that
the city ordinances have any transgressions regarding
Anderson said he was against allowing a zone one,
or single family home, to rent out rooms in their own
house because if an exception to the rule was made for
one individual, others would ask for similar treatment.
"If others come in and rent, this will become a rental
community, and [home] values will go down," he said.
Jason Wooden, Mendon City Council representative,
said he agreed with Anderson, but the possibility of
Mendon becoming a rental community wasn't his biggest
Mendon City planners set up zoning throughout the
city according to the resources available, Wooden said.
If renters are allowed, it would be difficult to regulate
how much human waste is going into septic tanks, and
the cost for additional services like garbage removal.
"If we allowed [single family zone] homes to rent,
it would put our resources over the top. This is why
we have limited multi-family zone areas in Mendon. This
would open up all homes in the city to have renters,"
Wooden said the sudden increase in population would
also raise crime rates and possibly taxes which would
be needed to pay for the extra expenses.
Kent also brought up the point that others in the
city are currently renting out space in their homes
without having gone before the planning and zoning commission
and the city has done nothing to stop them.
To this Wooden said he has not heard of this occurring,
however, due to the size of Mendon and the lack of city
funding, it is almost impossible to police. Those problems
usually only become recognized by the commission if
they are brought up as a formal complaint by a city
In response Kent said, "Well maybe we'll just rent
out our basement anyway and in that time consult with
a [lawyer], and when you find out, we could make this
a very nasty fight."
The final decision by the commission was to refer
the inquiry to city council with the recommendation
to deny the request.