An ordinance to promote the health, safety and welfare of the people of Merrill Township ("Township"), Newaygo County, Michigan, by regulating the maintenance and safety of certain buildings and structures; to define the types of buildings and structures regulated by this ordinance; to establish procedures for the maintenance or demolition of certain building s and structures; to establish remedies, provide for enforcement, and fix penalties for the violation of this ordinance; and to repeal all ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict therewith.



This ordinance shall be known and cited as the Merrill Township "Dangerous and Dilapidated Buildings Ordinance."


The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate and prohibit the existence of dangerous and/or dilapidated buildings within Merrill Township. Furthermore, it is the intent and purpose of this ordinance to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Merrill Township by regulating the maintenance, alteration, health, safety, and improvement of buildings and structures and to establish remedies and provisions for the enforcement of this ordinance.


As used in this ordinance, including in this section, the following words and terms shall have the meanings state herein:

A. --- "Dangerous building" means any building or structure, residential or otherwise, that has one or more of the following defects or conditions or is in one or more of the following conditions:

1. A portion of the building or structure is damaged by fire, wind, flood or other cause so that the structural strength or stability of the building or structure is appreciably less than it was before the catastrophe and does not meet the minimum requirements of the Housing Law of the State of Michigan, Act No. 167 of the Public Acts of 1917, as amended, being Section 125.401 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or the Township Building Code for a new building or structure, purpose or location.

2. A part of the building or structure is likely to fall, become detached or dislodged, or collapse, and injure persons or damage property.

3. The building or structure, or a part of the building or structures, because of dilapidation, deterioration, decay, faulty construction, or the removal or movement of some portion of the ground necessary for the support, or for any other reason, is likely to partially or completely collapse, or some portion of the foundation or underpinning of the building or structure is likely to fall or give way.

4. The building or structure, or a part of the building or structure, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is used or intended to be used.

5. The building or structure is damaged by fire, wind or flood, or is dilapidated or deteriorated and becomes an attractive nuisance to children who might play in the building or structure to their danger, or becomes a harbor for vagrants, criminals or immoral persons, or enables persons to resort to the building or structure for committing a nuisance or an unlawful or immoral act.

6. A building or structure used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, including the adjoining grounds, which because of dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, or otherwise, is unsanitary or unfit for human habitation, is in a condition that a Township official or the health officer of the Township or Newaygo County determines is likely to cause sickness or disease, or is likely to injure the health, safety or general welfare of people living in the dwelling.

7. A building or structure is vacant, dilapidated and open at the door, wall, roof, or window, leaving the interior of the building exposed to the elements or accessible to entrance by trespassers.

8. Any portion of a building or structure open to the elements whether such opening occurs due to a broken, missing, or dilapidated door, wall, roof, or other structural or exterior component of the building.

B. "Enforcing agency" means this Township, through the Township Building Official, Zoning Administrator, and/or such other official's) or agency as may be designated by the Township Board to enforce this ordinance.

C. "Owner" means any person, corporation, partnership, or entity which owns, co-owns, or has an ownership interest in the property at issue.

D. "Township Building Code: means the building code administered and enforced in the Township pursuant to the State Construction Code Commission Act, Act No. 230 of the Public Acts of 1972, as amended, being Section 125.1501 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or adopted pursuant to any other state law.


It shall be unlawful for any owner or agent thereof to keep, possess, own, or maintain any building or part thereof which is a dangerous building as defined in this ordinance.


A violation of the ordinance constitutes a municipal civil infraction. Any person who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects, or refuses to comply with any provision of this ordinance, or any amendment thereof, or any person who knowingly or intentionally aids or abets another person in violation of the ordinance, shall be in violation of this ordinance and shall be responsible for a civil infraction. The civil fine for a municipal civil infraction shall be not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) for the first offense and not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) for subsequent offenses, in the discretion of the court, in addition to all other cost, damages, expenses and remedies provided by law. For purposes of this section, "subsequent offense" means a violation of the provisions of this ordinance committed by the same person within twelve (12) months of a previous violation of the same provision of this ordinance or similar provision of this Ordinance for which said person admitted responsibility or was adjudged to be responsible. Each day during which any violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

This ordinance applies to the property at issue in a particular circumstance. For purposes of being found responsible for a violation of this ordinance (and for being subject to and bound by any penalties and court orders for violation of this ordinance), the word "owner" shall include not only the person, partnership, corporation, or other entity shown as evidenced with the relevant real estate document recorded with the Newaygo County Register of Deeds records, but in addition, shall also include any owner or co-owner of the property (whether or not shown of record with the Newaygo County Register of Deeds records), and where a land contract is involved, shall apply to both the record owner of the property as well as the person or persons purchasing the property on land contract. Anyone who assists another in violating this ordinance, or who aids and abets another in violation of this ordinance, shall also be deemed to be in violation of this ordinance

In addition to the other remedies mentioned above, upon a finding of responsibility for a civil infraction, the Court may also issue an order requiring that the property or building involved either be brought into full compliance with ordinance ( as well as the Township Building Code and any other applicable ordinances or codes) or alternately, that the owner of the property completely demolish or remove the building or structure involved within a reasonable period of time. Such a court order may also provide that if demolition and/or removal of a building or structure is ordered (or some other action is required to be take by the property owner) and the property owner does not fully comply with the order, the Township shall be authorized to enter the property involved and remove or fully repair the dwelling or structure involved (or bring the property into full compliance with the court order) and that the Township shall be fully reimbursed for all of its costs and expenses, with the same being secured by a lien on the property.

In addition to the above mentioned remedies, the Township is also authorized (at its option and discretion) to pursue a civil lawsuit to enforce and/ or ensure compliance with this ordinance in the Newaygo County Circuit Court.

This ordinance may be enforced by the Township Zoning Administrator, the Township Building Inspector, and such other Township official or agent as the Township board may designate from time to time by resolution.


This ordinance shall not apply to any non-dwelling building which actively and regularly used or maintained in conjunction with bona fide ongoing farming operation.


The provisions of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable and if any clause, sentence, word, section or provision is hereafter declared void or unenforceable for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, it shall not affect the remainder of such ordinance which shall continue in full force and effect.


All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed (including the prior ordinance entitled "Township of Merrill Dangerous Buildings Ordinance" which was adopted on February 13, 2003), to the extent of any such conflict; provided that this ordinance shall not be construed to repeal expressly or y implication any provision of the Township Building Code ( or maintenance, electric, plumbing, or similar code) or the Township Zoning Ordinance.


This ordinance shall take effect thirty (30) days after publication as required by law.

The above ordinance was offered for enactment by Board Member James Green and was seconded by Board Member Marilyn Pembrook at a special meeting of the Township Board of the Township of Merrill, held at the Merrill Township Community Complex, on the 15th day of June, 2006 p.m., the vote being as follows:

YEAS: Frank Jackson, James Green, Dorthy Harrison, and Marilyn Pembrook