Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Ypsi Charity to be Closed by Zoning Code

16. October 2004 • Murph
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Fairy Godparents, an Ypsi Township nonprofit dedicated to collecting basic household items and distributing them to needy recipients, is being threatened by the Township’s zoning ordinance. The organization relies on public sales for operating funds, and the zoning code forbids retail activity both in their building and on the grounds.

From the Ann Arbor News:

The current zoning allows for warehouses and light industrial but not retail activities. The organization is located in a corridor occupied by a small shopping plaza, storage facilities and warehouses.
. . .
When Burkhardt was told he couldn’t use the building, he started selling the goods in front of the building. Township building officials told him businesses are allowed to hold three outside sales a year; however, he has continued to hold sales bi-monthly outside the building since June. They helped him find a place near Industrial Drive in the township, but Burkhardt said he could not afford the rent.

Fairy Godparents distributes goods to people with referrals from non-profit agencies in Washtenaw, Livingston, and Wayne Counties, filling 580 requests in 2003.

James Gartin, economic and development director at the township, said officials support the organization but it must comply with township ordinances. “We cannot turn a blind eye,” he said.

Without the public sales, the organization will be forced to close.

  1. Ah, zoning… protecting warehouses from the noxious externalities of charity garage sales. What would we do without ye?
       —Brandon    Oct. 16 '04 - 06:09PM    #
  2. Holmes and Ford? Why not rezone that area? It’s not like the light industrial there is really a cash cow, and they could make it mixed use without much problem.
    This is zoning done stupid. And what, are the neighbors complaining? It’s not like he’s going to be taking away from their business…
       —js    Oct. 17 '04 - 09:33AM    #
  3. A friend told me about your oregation saying that you could help me with furnature for my new appartment for my self and my teen age son. I can be reach by e-mail at or by phone at 734-222-8814 if no answer please leave a message on my machine thank you Christine Baker

       —Christine Baker    Mar. 15 '06 - 11:14PM    #