In September 2016, Jackson passed Ordinance 21-16 forbidding the non-residential use of trailers (i.e. “office trailers”) in every area of town except under very limited circumstances. One is still allowed to have trailers on their property for the purpose of living in them though. Was this request in response to a rash of businesses popping up in trailers around Jackson?
In fact, the ordinance was precipitated by a request from Mayor Reina a month earlier. In his “travels” through “several different communities”, said the Mayor, he had noticed that trailers were being used by “congregations of different faith based groups” to “accommodate needs”. An ordinance must be passed to prevent the “possibilities of it happening here”.
Essentially, not in response to trailer problems in Jackson at all, but as a preventative measure against religious use seen in nearby communities. The final ordinance reflects his observations about the ways in which certain “faith based groups” employ trailers and restricts only non-residential use of trailers. But, if trailers are the issue, why not make an ordinance that limits the size, number and placement of any trailers in Jackson regardless of use.
Also, which faith based groups and what nearby communities? It doesn’t say, if only there was a way we could figure it out…
The ban comes up again in a different email from the Mayor, addressing “issues” that Jackson is facing. In the same sentence, he talks about how he and the council are working to “no longer allow the use of trailers”, “not allow non permanent structures to be placed in front yards”, and handle the “issue regarding the use of ERUV wires”.
Are these three items unconnected, or maybe mentioned together as they have a common thread? They must be important to get rid of considering that the township has been “trying to acquire more code enforcement officers”.
The context here seems apparent, at least to us: The flood of ordinances in the past few years coincides with an increase in Orthodox families moving to Jackson, and suddenly “seldom enforced” half-century old ordinances must be aggressively applied and all sorts of new bans introduced against currently permitted items that people think the Orthodox might want to use. This trailer ban targets a specific use that the Mayor thinks is associated with this “faith based group”, not all trailers in Jackson. It’s no wonder that Jackson is being sued.
Click here for all trailer related emails.