During Monday’s Plymouth City Council meeting, Charles Karamon who lives at 701 Rex Street appeared before the council to dispute an invoice from the city for the removal of a portable basketball hoop.

Karamon told the council he moved into the home at 701 Rex Street in early August.  He has children and the kids put the portable basketball hoop on the grass along the alley beside his home.  He did admit that the hoop did protrude into the alleyway.

A letter dated August 16th was mailed to the 701 Rex Street address informing the property owners that the basketball hoop violated the city code of blocking or obstructing the alley.  The letter from Building Commissioner Dennis Manuwal Jr. gave them 10 days to remove the obstruction.  The letter stated that if the issue wasn’t addressed by the property owners then the city would remove the item and bill them for the time, equipment, and a disposal fee if needed. 

On or about August 28th the basketball hoop was removed by the Street Department and just before Labor Day, the invoice was sent to Mr. Karamon.  When he received the unexpected invoice, he called the city office to find out what it was for.  The city office said the $100 invoice was for the removal of the basketball hoop. Up until that point, he believed that the hoop had been stolen.  

He asked why it was picked up by the city and the Clerk’s Office told him the city sent a letter about the violation, giving him 10 days to correct the issue.  This letter was not sent by certified mail and was never received by the homeowners.  There was no follow-up mail, phone call, email, note on the door, or not even a knock on the door. 

Street Superintendent Jim Marquardt said he received a letter on August 28th requesting the Street Department remove the basketball hoop in the alley from Code Enforcement. 

Council members had several questions including whether the basketball hoop had been returned, which it hadn’t been.  They asked if certified mail is used for code violations and learned that the Building Inspector only uses certified mail for unsafe buildings.

The motion made by Councilman Robert Listenberger to return the basketball hoop and waive the $100 invoice fee was unanimously approved by the city council.

Councilman Jeff Houin suggested looking at another way to address code violations with certified mail or follow-up mail and possibly a knock on the door or a note on the door.