Observer 7/11/14 : Page 1

Douglas City Council Approves Contract For Updating Its Comprehensive Master Plan Page 3 Volunteers Needed At Kids Against Hunger Event This Saturday At Community Church Of Douglas Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING July 11, 2014 Vol. 12 No. 28 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Lake Street Protesters Told To Remove Most Signs Or Face More Legal Action Efrain Sandoval Correspondent Some members of the com-munity are calling the framing and signage in front of 790 Lake St. in Saugatuck, a “monstrosity” and are asking the city to immediately remove them, while the property owners responsible for erecting the display call it “art” and invoke the First Amendment to defend themselves. Using ordinance codes, city officials refer to them as “opinion signs,” and asked property owners and life partners John Porzondek and James Serman to remove at least 11 of what they have identified as a total of 14 signs, per the city’s violation noti-fication of July 3. The city gave the couple until this past Monday, July 8 to move on that request, but the couple have not done so. Among the dizzying array of featured decorations on the front lawn is a central bush, circular in shape, decorated with what appears to be rolling eyes and horns on the top. Multiple and in different colors, the signs have different mes-sages: from, “They did a McClendon on our property,” to “SHDC historic/ fix the fraud!,” and also “Return our roof,” to “WTF!!, ” and so on. Asked about that last mes-sage, Porzondek told The Local Observer it was not referring to that vulgar phrase so often used by texters in abbreviated form meaning, “what the f---,” but rather it meant, “Wait, Think, and Forgive.” He explained, “I am forgiv-ing them (city officials). They are stepping in my home.” Those not familiar with the history of tensions and legal wran-gling between city officials and the couple may not know that the dispute goes back to 2009. The signs on Porzondek and Serman’s front lawn are protest-ing the city’s historic district regula-tion that does not allow the property owners to put up an awning umbrella on their second floor deck. The spark began when the couple failed to file a formal request -and receive written approval from the SHDC as mandated by local law -to put up the awning. Both men knew SHDC approval was required for certain changes they wished to make to the exterior of their home at that time as they did apply for and received SHDC approval for other renova-tions. Asked Monday what the city would do if the property owners did not take down the signage, Saugatuck City Planning Director Mike Clark told the newspaper, “We will proceed with further code enforcement action, including but not limited to civil infraction tickets and legal action.” Porzondek, a former Saugatuck City Councilman, con-cedes he himself is repulsed by his own “art,” but was compelled to do the signs. “All I want is my umbrella (to be able to install it on the second floor porch of his home) and them (city officials) to leave me alone.” He and Serman have led petitions drives to have the Lake Street area removed from the historic district and eliminate all together the commission. The couple has lost all their appeals -including in court -on the matter. In 2011, for example, in a failed appeal, the Allegan County Circuit and District Courts ordered the property owners to take down the canopy that was installed on the front of the two-story house. That ruling came after the couple’s appeal before the state his-toric district commission also failed when it upheld the local Saugatuck Historic District Commission’s denial for the awning. In 2013, the couple again attempted to install what they referred to as a “freestanding repur-posed awning,” arguing it acted as an umbrella, and as such was lawful under city code standards. They took that structure down as well when the city told them it was also a violation, a move Porzondek now says he regrets. Man Forgets Backpack Filled With $8,000 At Post Office Staff Report A California man accident-ly left a backpack filled with about $8,000 in cash on a counter at the Saugatuck Post Office on Monday and luckily for him an honest, good Samaritan turned it in. When a postal official was handed the backpack, he was busy so didn’t immediately open it, but tossed it in the back room. Later, before closing for the day, he unzipped the backpack and was astonished to find it filled with cash and some bank deposit slips. The postal employee put a call in to the local police department, and a short time later Saugatuck-Douglas Police Chief Ken Giles responded. Chief Giles reportedly helped count all the cash at the front counter with others present so there were no shenanigans, and police sub-sequently called the bank based on the information on the deposit forms. It took only a little time for the police to come up with the name of the man linked to the bank account. When police called the man on his cell phone and asked him if he had lost a backpack, the man report-edly at first said no. When asked to check, the man came back on the line and said he found it was missing. The police then made arrangements to return the cash. Street Guitarist Turns Down Plea Deal Staff Report In light of the 18 year old who was arrested two weeks ago in the City of Saugatuck for playing his acoustic guitar on a sidewalk without a public entertainment permit, Douglas officials, during Monday’s City Council meeting, said they will be considering a change to the city ordinance as it relates to street performers and musicians. The city also will be looking at putting on street per-formance events modeled after the City of Holland’s downtown sum-mer Thursday series. The issue surfaced Monday night when Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath made reference to the aforemen-tioned incident and asked Douglas (Cont. Page 7)

Lake Street Protesters Told To Remove Most Signs Or Face More Legal Action

Efrain Sandoval

Some members of the community are calling the framing and signage in front of 790 Lake St. in Saugatuck, a “monstrosity” and are asking the city to immediately remove them, while the property owners responsible for erecting the display call it “art” and invoke the First Amendment to defend themselves.<br /> <br /> Using ordinance codes, city officials refer to them as “opinion signs,” and asked property owners and life partners John Porzondek and James Serman to remove at least 11 of what they have identified as a total of 14 signs, per the city’s violation notification of July 3.<br /> <br /> The city gave the couple until this past Monday, July 8 to move on that request, but the couple have not done so.<br /> <br /> Among the dizzying array of featured decorations on the front lawn is a central bush, circular in shape, decorated with what appears to be rolling eyes and horns on the top.<br /> <br /> Multiple and in different colors, the signs have different messages: from, “They did a McClendon on our property,” to “SHDC historic/ fix the fraud!,” and also “Return our roof,” to “WTF!!, ” and so on.<br /> <br /> Asked about that last message, Porzondek told The Local Observer it was not referring to that vulgar phrase so often used by texters in abbreviated form meaning, “what the f---,” but rather it meant, “Wait, Think, and Forgive.” <br /> <br /> He explained, “I am forgiving them (city officials). They are stepping in my home.” <br /> <br /> Those not familiar with the history of tensions and legal wrangling between city officials and the couple may not know that the dispute goes back to 2009.<br /> <br /> The signs on Porzondek and Serman’s front lawn are protesting the city’s historic district regulation that does not allow the property owners to put up an awning umbrella on their second floor deck.<br /> <br /> The spark began when the couple failed to file a formal request - and receive written approval from the SHDC as mandated by local law - to put up the awning.<br /> <br /> Both men knew SHDC approval was required for certain changes they wished to make to the exterior of their home at that time as they did apply for and received SHDC approval for other renovations.<br /> <br /> Asked Monday what the city would do if the property owners did not take down the signage, Saugatuck City Planning Director Mike Clark told the newspaper, “We will proceed with further code enforcement action, including but not limited to civil infraction tickets and legal action.” <br /> <br /> Porzondek, a former Saugatuck City Councilman, concedes he himself is repulsed by his own “art,” but was compelled to do the signs.<br /> <br /> “All I want is my umbrella (to be able to install it on the second floor porch of his home) and them (city officials) to leave me alone.” <br /> <br /> He and Serman have led petitions drives to have the Lake Street area removed from the historic district and eliminate all together the commission.<br /> <br /> The couple has lost all their appeals - including in court - on the matter.<br /> <br /> In 2011, for example, in a failed appeal, the Allegan County Circuit and District Courts ordered the property owners to take down the canopy that was installed on the front of the two-story house.<br /> <br /> That ruling came after the couple’s appeal before the state historic district commission also failed when it upheld the local Saugatuck Historic District Commission’s denial for the awning.<br /> <br /> In 2013, the couple again attempted to install what they referred to as a “freestanding repurposed awning,” arguing it acted as an umbrella, and as such was lawful under city code standards.<br /> <br /> They took that structure down as well when the city told them it was also a violation, a move Porzondek now says he regrets.

Man Forgets Backpack Filled With $8,000 At Post Office

A California man accidently left a backpack filled with about $8,000 in cash on a counter at the Saugatuck Post Office on Monday and luckily for him an honest, good Samaritan turned it in.<br /> <br /> When a postal official was handed the backpack, he was busy so didn’t immediately open it, but tossed it in the back room.<br /> <br /> Later, before closing for the day, he unzipped the backpack and was astonished to find it filled with cash and some bank deposit slips.<br /> <br /> The postal employee put a call in to the local police department, and a short time later Saugatuck- Douglas Police Chief Ken Giles responded.<br /> <br /> Chief Giles reportedly helped count all the cash at the front counter with others present so there were no shenanigans, and police subsequently called the bank based on the information on the deposit forms.<br /> <br /> It took only a little time for the police to come up with the name of the man linked to the bank account.<br /> <br /> When police called the man on his cell phone and asked him if he had lost a backpack, the man reportedly at first said no.<br /> <br /> When asked to check, the man came back on the line and said he found it was missing.<br /> <br /> The police then made arrangements to return the cash.

Street Guitarist Turns Down Plea Deal

In light of the 18 year old who was arrested two weeks ago in the City of Saugatuck for playing his acoustic guitar on a sidewalk without a public entertainment permit, Douglas officials, during Monday’s City Council meeting, said they will be considering a change to the city ordinance as it relates to street performers and musicians.<br /> <br /> The city also will be looking at putting on street performance events modeled after the City of Holland’s downtown summer Thursday series.<br /> <br /> The issue surfaced Monday night when Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath made reference to the aforementioned incident and asked Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere about the city’s regulations.<br /> <br /> “Our ordinance is very similar to Saugatuck’s; they are designed for large concert events…not for oneperson or small-group acts in the streets,” said LeFevere, adding that the existing regulation needs an update to incorporate language to address that.<br /> <br /> “We have city-sponsorship (larger musical performance events), and in many places downtown we have wider sidewalks (than Saugatuck’s) for that,” he added.<br /> <br /> The city recently hosted an outside performance by the 50-piece Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra at downtown’s Beery Field.<br /> <br /> Gabriel Novak, who lives in Ann Arbor and goes to school at the Cleveland Institute of Music, spent a two-night stay in the Allegan County Jail after ignoring multiple warnings from the police to stop playing the guitar in front of downtown businesses on the public sidewalk.<br /> <br /> The police and Saugatuck city officials informed Novak that buskers—performers that play for voluntary donations in the streets or subways—could play at city parks without a permit, but Novak chose not to avail himself of that option.<br /> <br /> Out free on a $2,000 bond, Novak is being charged with resisting arrest at the time the police put him in handcuffs on June 28. Although his resistance was done in a mild temperament, as Saugatuck Douglas Police Department Chief Ken Giles reports, Novak is still facing the felony resisting charge that carries the possibility of up to two years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines, or both.<br /> <br /> Novak last week turned down a prosecutor’s offer to reduce the felong charge if he would plead guilty to a reduced misdemeanor count related to the alleged felony resisting-and-obstrucing charge. He now faces an upcoming pretrial hearing.

Mill Pond Realty, Inc.

 

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