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What regulations should there be on personal ice rinks?

With winter fast approaching, many hockey and skating enthusiasts in the state of Michigan are already coming up with ideas for this year's backyard ice rinks. For many avid fans of winter, there may even be plans to make a rink large enough for the entire neighborhood.

For six years, one Fenton man has made it his goal every winter to put up a temporary ice rink for the neighborhood children to skate. At present, there are few regulations for ice rinks, even allowing residents to keep them up year round, which has many neighbors unhappy and asking for city ordinances.

In September of this year, the city's planning commission met with city officials to discuss the possibility of placing zoning restrictions on "temporary ice rinks." The planning commission would like to see separate ordinances for ice rinks while others feel that personal rinks should require little to no regulation.

The plan for the zoning ordinance would require them to be built in backyards only, with a 4-foot setback from adjacent residential property lines. There would also be a timeline to make sure that rinks don't stay in place during the summer. City planners on the other hand feel that there should be more complex limitations such as a 15-foot setback and stricter regulations for mounted lights and rink size.

The city council has approved a temporary memorandum on the creation, establishment and maintenance of ice rinks while the planning commission can put together an ordinance. It is unclear as to how the city will act on the proposal at this time or what this will mean for rink builders in Fenton.

Source:, "Fewer restrictions favored for personal ice rinks in Fenton," Dana DeFever, Sept. 28, 2012

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