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Selected Otsego City
Ordinance Summaries


Selected Ordinances


  • Ordinance #153 - An Ordinance To Add Article Viii, “Fireworks”, Sections 38-201 Through 38-207 Of Chapter 38 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Otsego, Michigan To Regulate The Ignition, Discharge, And Use Of Consumer Fireworks In The City And To Amend Section 46-121 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Otsego, Michigan To Provide For The Public Health, Safety, And General Welfare In The City - Click to read, effective 09/08/13

  • Ordinance #157 - Revised - An Ordinance To Amend Section 78-36 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Otsego To Regulate Building Sewers And Connections - Click to read, effective 05/15/16

  • Ordinance #156 - An Ordinance to Amend Article III, Division 1 of Chapter 10 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Otsego, Michigan, to provide for the registration and inspection of rental dwellings. - Click to read, effective 07/01/14

  • Ordinance #155 - An Ordinance to Amend Article III, Division 2 of Chapter 10 of the Code of Ordinances to provide for the Adoption by Reference of the International Property Maintenance Code, 2012 Edition - Click to read, effective 07/01/14

  • Ordinance #154 - An Ordinance to Amend Section 46-31 and to Add Section 46-32 to the Code of Ordinances of The City Of Otsego to Regulate Begging and Solicitation Within The City - Click to read, effective 12/02/13

  • Ordinance #150 - Establish Registration Fees and Additional Requirements for Peddlers, Solicitors, and Transient Merchants - Click to read, effective 06/10/11

  • Ordinance #149 - Provide for the Recovery of Costs Associated with Certain Emergency Response Services - Click to read, effective 06/10/11

  • Ordinance #148 - Prohibit the Installation and Use of Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers - Click to read, effective 03/29/10

  • Policy for Mailbox Placement with the City Right-Of-Way - Click to read, effective 09/22/09

  • Fences / Walls

    1. Residential Districts
      1. Only decorative or ornamental fences not exceeding forty-two (42) inches in height may be permitted in required front yards. A fence of this height shall be permitted from the front building line of a residence to within eighteen (18) inches of the sidewalk.
      2. Decorative or ornamental fences may include wrought iron, split rail, picket, board on board, cyclone, planting screen, or masonry wall.
      3. No solid fence, wall or planting screen greater than thirty (30) inches in height as measured from grade, shall be located within a triangular section of land formed by two (2) fifteen (15) foot perpendicular lines intersecting at the driveway and street pavement point and a connecting line.
      4. A fence or wall shall not exceed six (6) feet in height on rear or side property lines or in rear or side yards.
      5. Fences, with the exception of cyclone/chain link fences and fences constructed of vinyl or other maintenance free materials, shall be placed twenty-four (24) inches within the property boundaries for maintenance purposes. A cyclone, chain link, vinyl, or other maintenance free fence may be placed directly on the property line.
      6. No electrically charged fences are permitted.
      7. Barbed Wire
        1. Fences with barbed wire are prohibited in all Residential Districts.
        2. Barbed wire strands may be used to enclose storage areas or other similar activities in General Industrial and Commercial Districts or uses.
        3. The strands shall be restricted to the upper most portion of the fence and shall not extend lower than a height of six (6) feet from the nearest ground level.
      8. All fences erected by individual property owners must be located on his/her property.
      9. All fences shall be maintained in a good condition so that they do not result in an unreasonable hazard to persons who might come near them.
      10. Fences constructed of wood or other material having one (1) side designed and considered the decorative side shall be erected with that side facing the adjoining street or abutting property owner's premises.
      11. Fences constructed on the side yard of a corner lot shall be erected on the lot, eighteen (18) inches from the inside edge of the sidewalk.
      12. It is unlawful to construct any private fence or barrier within a public right of way.

  • Landscape Buffers

    1. Side yards and rear yards for Nonresidential Districts and uses abutting Residential Districts or uses shall be screened by any of the following.
      1. A natural buffer ten (10) feet wide measured at the property line and planted with evergreens or shrubbery which maintains their density and screening effect throughout the calendar year, not less than four (4) feet in height at the time of planting and maintained in a neat and attractive manner commensurate with the adjoining Residential District.
      2. An artificial wall or fence of sufficient density or compactness to screen the structures and activities of the business from the view of occupants of adjoining premises, not less than five (5) feet in height and maintained in a neat and attractive manner, commensurate with the adjoining Residential District.
    2. For side yard screening, no wall or fence used for screening shall terminate closer than twenty (20) feet from any adjoining street right of way (or rear alley into which a lot has vehicular access/egress), in order to provide safe visual sight distances.
    3. Additional screening may be required by the Zoning Administrator where he determines that proposed or existing screening is inadequate to prevent the creation of any nuisance or annoyance by artificial lighting or activity.


  • Fire Control

    Open fires are not allowed within the city limits!

  • Home Occupations

    Home occupations shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator, who shall issue a certificate of occupancy which shall specify the home occupation as to use, size, and the specific measures by which compliance with this Section will be maintained and provided the relevant Section in the residential zoning district is met.

    Only members of the family residing in the home shall be engaged in connection with the home occupation at the same time.

    The use of the dwelling unit for the home occupation shall be clearly incidental and subordinate to its use for residential purposes by its occupants, and not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the floor area of the dwelling unit shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation. No part of the home occupation shall be conducted in any accessory building.

    There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the building, no variation from the residential character of the dwelling, and no visible evidence of the conduct of the home occupation;

    There shall be no sale of products or services except as are produced on the premises by the home occupation. There shall be no outdoor, on-site storage of materials, equipment, or accessory items and/or display of materials, goods or supplies used in the conduct of the home occupation.

    The home occupation will not create traffic congestion, parking shortages, or otherwise adversely affect the pedestrian or vehicular circulation of the area. Any parking for vehicles associated with the home occupation shall be provided off the street. The following factors shall be considered by the Zoning Administrator to determine whether the traffic effects on a neighborhood may be excessive:

    1. Whether the subject parcel is located at the entrance or the interior of a residential development where increased traffic volumes may be otherwise anticipated.
    2. Whether the nature of the proposed home occupation requires scheduled appointments or whether traffic volumes may be higher at certain times of the day.
    3. Whether traffic volumes may vary on a seasonal basis.
    4. Whether the home occupation could be conducted in a manner that reduces traffic generated in the area.

    No equipment or process shall be used in the home occupation which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference detectable to the normal senses off the premises. In the case of electrical interference, no equipment or process shall be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises or causes fluctuations in the line voltage off the premises.

  • Inspections, Licenses, and Permits

    Permits are necessary for any structural change, addition, demolition, new building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical (heating) work. Permits can be obtained from the city's Building Inspector Service, Professional Code Inspections of Michigan, at 1-800-628-3335. The Building Inspector has office hours at City Hall on Tuesday's from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Inspections of finished work are also necessary to insure that code requirements are met.

    Garage sales require a $1.00 permit and are limited to three days. Residents may have up to two garage sales per year. Permits can be obtained at City Hall.

  • Maintenance of Lawns and Vacant Areas

    Property-owners in Otsego are required to keep "weeds and noxious plants" cut to a reasonable level as a matter of public health. A notice of public nuisance will be served to those who do not comply with this ordinance. A failure to comply following notice will result in the City mowing the property at the current rate for manpower and equipment.

    Rubbish, junk vehicles (inoperable, dismantled, un-licensed), or car parts are not to be stored in the open on any property within the city limits. Following City notice of violation of this ordinance, the possessor of the property has 10 days to remove the cited object(s) or will be guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to the City for removal costs as well as fines imposed by the court.


  • Outdoor Burning

    Except as otherwise permitted in this section and except for bonfires for community activities or special requests which have been approved by resolution of the city commission pursuant to criteria established by resolution of the city commission, no personal shall create open fires out-of-doors for the burning of rubbish, leaves, grass, combustibles or any form of waste material for the purpose of disposing of such material.

    For purposes of this section, an open fire is deemed to be any fire where the flames are open and visible and are not covered by a hood or furnace with a suitable chimney to carry away the smoke.

    In addition to community bonfires permitted by the city commission under subsection (a) above, burning out-of-doors is permitted under the following circumstances:

    1. Burning, which is done for the purpose of cooking food for consumption, is permitted, subject to the restrictions set forth in subparagraph (3) below.
    2. Recreational burning is permitted between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and midnight, local time, subject to the restrictions set forth in subparagraph (3) below.
    3. The following restrictions shall apply to burning under subparagraphs (1) and (2) above.
      1. Such burning may only occur on private property and not on any public place;
      2. Burning shall not occur within 15 feet of any structure or within 15 feet of adjacent property lines.
      3. Such burning shall be supervised at all times by at least one person over the age of 18, who shall be in attendance at all times and be in control of and capable of extinguishing any fire.
      4. Burning materials are limited to clean wood products, charcoal, or commercially produced fuels which do not emit fumes that irritate, annoy or constitute a nuisance to others.
      5. All fires shall be contained in a fireproof structure which is no more than 3-feet in diameter and which is fitted with a spark arrestor.
      6. Fire pits are not permitted.
    Regardless of any other provision in this section, no person shall create in any manner whatsoever excessive smoke or obnoxious odors within the city.

  • Signs

    Signage in Otsego is a matter of concern for businesses, the City, and Downtown Development Authority. The City realizes that signs are an important form of advertising and a way for a business to define its image. However, for safety and aesthetic reasons, certain types of signs are not allowed in Otsego. A comprehensive sign ordinance is in effect for the City. Signs for home occupations located in residential areas are also restricted. Before you erect a sign, please contact City Hall (692-3391).

  • Snow Removal

    For all residents of Otsego (individuals and businesses), the ordinances concerning snow and ice removal cover the following:
    • Do not cover or obstruct access to a fire hydrant.
    • Residents - You are strongly urged to keep your sidewalks clear, especially after snow events, for the safety of children and adults utilizing the sidewalks.
    • Do not leave snow in sidewalks or in the street. The only allowable place other than the owner's property is the curb lawn between the sidewalk and street. Do not pile snow in such a way as to dangerously obstruct views of vehicles or pedestrians. Persons violating the snow removal ordinance are subject to a $100 fine and costs of removal.

    • Businesses in Particular

      Each business operator within the City limits is required to keep the sidewalk in front of his/her place of business clear of ice and snow. If the ice or snow is not removed after a reasonable time following official notification, the City will remove it. However, the business may be fined up to $250 and charged for the cost of removal.

An Additional Note

While not an ordinance, downtown businesses are also encouraged to sweep the sidewalk in front of their establishments during the summer. Please dispose of the dirt into a trash receptacle rather than sweeping into the street, so as not to clog the storm sewer system.