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East Lansing ordinance would keep people off of roofs

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
This portion of Grand River Ave in East Lansing would be part of the "City Center II" development

The East Lansing City Council is considering a new ordinance that would make recreational activities such as tanning or drinking on residential rooftops a misdemeanor.

George Lahanas is the city manager of East Lansing. He says he noticed many young people have been using roofs as a hangout spot.

“It's not a safe thing to do being on a roof,” Lahanas said. “There are no handrails, the pitch of the roof can be difficult to navigate, and we want to make sure people are safe.”

Lahanas said he wants to avoid a situation that happened this past St. Patrick’s Day in California where a roof collapsed at a college party, resulting in eight people being injured.

Lahanas says police have told him there has been more than one instance when people have fallen off the roof and injured themselves. He says sometimes people were intoxicated and sometimes they accidentally fell. 

He says having recreational activities on rooftops as a misdemeanor will make the ordinance more effective and make it easier for the police to enforce.

“The intent is to not issue citations or arrest people,” Lahanas said. “The intent is to give officers the ability to say to a person or people to get off the roof - warn or ask them. Of course, if that doesn’t work, they will have a stricter tool to give a citation or arrest them for a misdemeanor.”

The council will be introducing the ordinance on July 7, and a public hearing will be held on August 4. 

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