By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – The City Council May 11 amended its dust control ordinance for paved, partially paved and unpaved lots, as well as storage lots, while strengthening enforcement and fines.
Fugitive dust refers to visible particles created naturally or mechanically, and may come from the dust blown off storage piles, or from unpaved roads or parking and storage lots.
City Council President Susan Dabaja said particulate dust has had a particularly detrimental effect on residents in the city’s South End.
“The ordinance seeks to mitigate and ultimately prevent the effects of dust, debris, odors, smoke and vehicle track out by targeting areas where these conditions are most prevalent in the city,” she said.
Dabaja said the city has received 21 complaints since the original ordinance was passed in 2020, and six of those resulted in notices of violation as well as 13 tickets issued against nine companies.
“Based on the nature of the violations occurring, any corrective action, or lack thereof, being taken by offenders, there are several changes being recommended to us,” she said.
Dabaja said a purpose and intent section was added, to explain the ordinance’s scope and purpose, and to explain the city’s justification and reasoning for the regulations, as well as to defend it against any challenges to enforcement.
She said the reduction in correction time from 14 to three days is meant to address nuisance conditions more quickly.
“We are going to require owners and operators of unpaved and partially paved lots with truck traffic to clean trucks leaving the lot, and install rumble strips, and have trucks pass through a wheel wash station, to address track out and fugitive dust caused by truck traffic,” Dabaja said.
She said ordinance penalties will increase from $500 to $1,000, which will increase to $2,500 for repeat offenders. A fourth violation within a 12-month span will be treated as a misdemeanor violation.
Councilwoman Erin Byrnes said she was glad to see the ordinance revision coming forward.
“We are making the ordinance much stricter, and I think it will go a long way toward addressing the pollution and the environmental racism that we know exists specifically in the South End neighborhoods of Dearborn,” she said.
Byrnes said the director of the Property Maintenance and Development Services Department is researching the storage of solid materials, and will take action on that, as well.
“I just want folks to know that there is more to come on this,” she said. “We are taking it very seriously, and resident input has been valued.”
Dabaja said she conducted a Zoom town hall meeting on the ordinance, and said that afterward, she had a conversation with PMADS Director Tim Hawkins, and said he is committed to seeing what can be done about the storage of solid materials, as well.
Any fines generated through enforcement of the fugitive dust ordinance will be focused on pollution prevention and reduction, environmental protection and restoration, and other issues impacting public health.
The ordinance, included in section 13-5.3, can be found on the city website, cityofdearborn.org. Call PMADS at 313-943-2688 for information about enforcement.