The May Township Board of Supervisors and property owner William Emison have a disagreement over how his property at 15520 Square Lake Trail, May Township, is being used. The board passed a resolution last week that Emison is in violation of town code, allegedly using the property as an event center.

Emison claims the property has only been used by family and friends and isn’t in violation of town code.

Town Planner, Nate Sparks, sent a letter to the Emison property after a wedding took place in September. The letter indicated that the wedding was in violation of town code, and that a violation hearing would be held. The issues raised were the number of cars and people attending, whether or not the sale of alcohol was permitted, and whether or not goods and services were exchanged for use of the property. Emison disputed all of the board’s claims.

“The code does not say you can’t do weddings and it should have it under conditional use permits if that is the case,” said Emison. 

Various issues were raised at the time of the violation hearing regarding the clarity of the May Township code and events permissible on residential property. After some back and forth on the clarity of the code, board supervisor John Pazlar attempted to simplify the argument from the board.

“Understand, the general concept here is that some municipalities allow weddings or events and some don’t,” he said. “You can debate whether or not that should be in someone’s town code, but for whatever reason May Township doesn’t allow it… The issue is simply that if you are operating your property in that way, we are compelled to do something about it. We’re just trying to enforce our code and it appears that you operate your property in a way that is in conflict with that.”  

Pazlar then asked Emison, with a better understanding of how the town board views the matter, if he planned to continue using the property in the same manner. Emison replied, “If I wasn’t here today, or last month, and we weren’t having these conversations, my answer would be, ‘of course I would.’ However, there’s this thing going on, and honestly, I don’t know what to make of it yet… I’m a little bit in the middle of the road here.’”

Pazlar then made a motion to table the resolution that would find Emison in violation of town code for 30 days giving time for Emison to review the resolution and consider whether or not he would continue to use the property in the same manner. The motion failed due to lack of a second.

Chairman Bill Voedisch then made a motion to pass the resolution finding Emison in violation that passed with a two to one vote. The adopted resolution would have Emison cease the use of the property that violates town ordinance.

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