Ypsilanti Township has filed a lawsuit against a man and a woman accused of pumping a strong marijuana odor from their home.
According to a verified petition filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the odor is so “overwhelming” that it has regularly disrupted next door neighbors’ life over the last year.
Police and township officials say they have smelled the odor outside the home at 1397 Crestwood Ave. on multiple occasions. That constitutes a violation of a zoning ordinance that states that the "creation of offensive odors shall be prohibited" in any zone, attorneys contend.
The township is asking a judge to order the defendants, Deborah Klochubar and Michael Engle, to stop pumping the alleged marijuana fumes out of the home.
Engle declined an interview with AnnArbor.com.
Officials aren’t sure what exactly is happening inside the home to produce the odor, which is especially prevalent between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It is coming from a metal piping protruding from the basement window, according to the petition.
Township officials and attorneys stressed that the case has nothing to do with a violation of the state’s medical marijuana laws, but is about the violation of the township’s zoning code relating to odors.
“It’s the noxious odors that’s really the nuisance and that’s the bottom line,” Township Attorney Doug Winters said.
Township Attorney Dennis McLain said the smell is so extreme that one neighbor has been physically sickened, it has disturbed neighbors’ sleep and prevented them from opening their windows on warm days over the summer.
“The neighbors are just beside themselves because of this over the past months. It’s an unacceptable situation,” McLain said.
In May, Engle entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to stop the emissions after he was cited for a civil infraction in March. Officials say that agreement with the 14-B District Court has gone ignored. Winters said Engle admitted that there was a disruptive odor being pumped from the home by entering into the agreement.
The verified petition also questions whether Klochubar and Engle live at the property and states that it believes a grow operation or dispensary is being run out of the house. Neither is permitted in a residential zone per the township’s zoning ordinance.
It also states Engle told Mike Radzik, the township's community standards director, that he was not in violation of the township’s local zoning laws because they were “unconstitutional.”