By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to address the definitions and laws on seasonal and permanent gazebos placed in backyards.
At the council’s April 23 meeting, Council President Susan Dabaja explained that the amended ordinance creates a distinction between seasonal canopies and permanent structures.
“This ordinance will enable the public to better understand which structures require a permit, sort out any confusion and will assist field inspectors with enforcement of non-compliant structures,” she said.
“Seasonal pergolas, cabanas and gazebos are those erected no earlier than March 1 and taken down no later than Nov. 30,” Dabaja said. “They have a maximum height of 16 feet and an area of 192 square feet. They must be anchored or attached to grade, must be prefabricated and may not be used for parking of storage of vehicles.”
Permanent accessory buildings that do not meet the requirements will require a permit.
If the conditions set by the administration and council are met, seasonal gazebos will not require a permit and will not be considered a taxable value on the property.
Councilman Michael Sareini asked for confirmation from the administration that the seasonal gazebos will not be taxable so residents don’t have another issue to deal with.
Corporation Counsel Debra Walling said the seasonal gazebos won’t have a taxable value, but that gazebos with a permit or still up past the deadline will.
The initial gazebo topic began when Dabaja and Sareini said they received multiple complaints from residents because they were issued fines, tickets, violations and provided with different explanations on what the city’s gazebo laws were.
“Last year council became aware that people were being given tickets and permits were being required for pop-up coverings used for shade in the summer,” she said. “This became the topic of numerous meetings and we’ve had discussion since then.”
Study sessions were held on Sept. 17 and March 6 when the concerns of determining a clear explanation on what the law is for gazebos and the type of structure the gazebos or pergolas were considered were discussed.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)