Council considers gazebo rules modifications

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The City Council continued its discussion on improving and clarifying the law on seasonal or permanent gazebos put up by residents in their backyards.

A March 6 study session at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. allowed the council to further address complaints from residents who had been ticketed for gazebos and given different explanations on what the gazebo law was.

No action was taken on the proposed changes during the study session; a vote to implement the modified laws would have to place at a future city council meeting.

The council will change the name of temporary gazebos to seasonal gazebos, establish a time frame for seasonal gazebos, and keep the permanent gazebo title.

“Seasonal means it can only be up between March 1 and Nov. 1, so after Nov. 1 it has to be taken down,” Council President Susan Dabaja said. “Those are called accessory structures versus an accessory building. The accessory building would have to be 10 feet away, and the seasonal doesn’t have to be 10 feet away from the home, the primary structure.”

Dabaja explained that a permanent gazebo can be up year round, including in the backyard even it is on the driveway as long as residents follow zoning codes.

“Actually even the seasonal has to be three feet away from the fence so the water is not running off into the neighbors property away from the fence,” she said. “The permanent also has to be 10 feet away from your home, three feet from the side yards and yard setbacks. It can be up all year round, but you have to get a permit.”

The council is going limit seasonal gazebos to 192 square feet and 16 feet in height. Residents also will be able to put the temporary seasonal gazebos in the driveway even if it is in front of their garage.

“You can’t put it on the driveway next to the side door, you have to do it from the back of the house line so rear yard,” Dabaja said. “It can be in the driveway if it’s in the rear, it can’t be in the front or the side.”

The initial gazebo topic began when Dabaja and Councilman Michael 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.

At a Sept. 17 study session, the council, administration and Legal Department listed the main areas of concern including gazebo placement, ordinance language, explanation of gazebo or pergola, time frame and garage access.

Council members said then that their biggest concerns were determining a clear explanation on what the law is for gazebos and the type of structure the gazebos or pergolas were considered, during that same study session.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)