You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Ann Arbor officials announce free sofa drop-off as new porch couch ban takes effect

By Ryan J. Stanton

The city of Ann Arbor announced today it is providing a free sofa collection event for Ann Arbor residents and property managers in response to the recent passage of a city ordinance that prohibits the outdoor use of upholstered furniture.

From Oct. 22 through Oct. 24, a drop-off area will be located at the intersection of East University and Oakland streets. The hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m.


Students and other residents will be able to drop off their porch couches at a city collection event next month.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Those leaving any other types of materials, depositing furniture from non-Ann Arbor properties, or using the site during off-hours are subject to illegal dumping fines, city officials said.

The collection site will be actively monitored on a 24-hour basis.

Ann Arbor’s porch couch ban goes into effect this Saturday, but city officials said today there will be an "amnesty period" to allow residents to properly dispose of their upholstered furniture.

The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved the couch ban last week in response to a fire earlier this year on South State Street that killed 22-year-old Renden LeMasters. Authorities believe the fire was exacerbated by a porch couch.

City fire officials have been lobbying the City Council for several years to approve the ban, calling porch couches a well-documented fire hazard.

According to statistics cited by city officials, there have been 373 fires since 2003 in multi-family residential dwellings in Ann Arbor. Of those, 21 percent "significantly involved" exterior upholstered furniture, either as the origin of the fire or in causing it to spread.

Ann Arbor joins several other college towns with porch couch bans already in place, including East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Ypsilanti, and Marquette in Michigan, as well as Columbus, Ohio, and Madison, Wisconsin.

City officials put out a reminder today that sofas and other items that do not fit into the city’s refuse carts are subject to fines if abandoned at the curb. Other suggestions for disposing of furniture for a fee, including taking materials to the Drop-Off Station at 2950 E. Ellsworth Road, are posted on the city’s website under “bulky items” at

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

If I were a student who wasn't happy about the porch couch ban, I might be inclined to dump the couch illegally in some highly visible public space. Maybe paint it at the rock or something? I have to wonder if the city isn't asking for trouble with this. They should make arrangements for curb side pick up of all of these couches. It might cost them less money in the long run since the city could ultimately be responsible for removing couches which have been illegally dumped on public property. (and let's face it, the odds of anyone getting caught dumping their old couch in some park are pretty slim)


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 11:07 p.m.

So doe's this just apply to campus area student housing? What about the family on the old west side that has a nice little loveseat on their porch next to the swing? Ridiculous. Our city council needs to concentrate on more important things!

Kathy Griswold

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 9:56 p.m.

Here is an easier option for disposing of your porch couch donate it to Kiwanis. We will pick up your coach for free and put it to a good cause. If your couch is in good condition no tears, missing cushions or broken legs, just call 665-0450 and leave a message. Also, you may drop off coaches and other items in good condition on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 11:30 AM at the Kiwanis building on Washington at First Street in downtown Ann Arbor. See Proceeds from our sale are donated to local non-profits through our grant process. In recent years, we have donated $150,000 in funds and goods annually to over 100 local service organizations. See for a grant application.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 9:09 p.m.

Laws can protect the fool, but not the stupid fool.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 7:21 p.m.

Gorc: Bean bags are banned but not nickel bags!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 6:38 p.m.

Are bean bags banned?


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

What about a ban on barbeque grills and smoking on porches? Those are dangerous activities! People really need to be told what to do by other people, its what makes America great, bossing others around. As far as obscure dangers go we need to ban cars and airplanes too because sometimes (in fact very few instances, apparently much like couches) they can burst into flames. Anyone care to report what actually caused this fire? Cigarette? Thats where the real attention should be focused: carelessness. Couches don't spontaneously combust (usually). This one single issue is being used as a red herring so that other residents can get their way and finally get rid of the couches once and for all. FOR SHAME.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:43 p.m.

It also isn't "my cause" per se, but I do find lumping people togther and then making braod strokes quite lame. It is possible some of the couches are clean, the school year just started. I used to have furniture on my porches in my younger days, and i kept them in good condition.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

Sure. My post was more directed at his althogh i did include "you guys" which was a mistake on my part. I agree with your post for sure. Although I will say they kind of rushed through this before the fall when the students would have been back in full force and able to put up a more meaningful opposition to this. But that's happened before.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

@Loka... Honestly, I'm being lazy just commenting. There are way better ways I could spend my time. As a matter of fact, I need to empty the dishwasher before my wife gets home. We were accused of being lazy when we were young as well. Sometimes we were. You'll see.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

@Lokalisierung I like you. I really do. You make a lot of sense and while I also like bugjuice quite a bit, don't mistake that for favoritism. My only point was that if one method of action does not work, try another. You are still here getting all hot under the collar in a place where it will do you the least good. The people that care about your cause can't help you here and the people that don't care just ridicule you here. As for me, I'm just tired of it. That's okay with you; isn't it?


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

Brilliant! Not only are today's college kids lazy, addicted to medical mary jane, and too dumb to tell the difference "it is" to a hole in the ground, but also there's no possible way they could have a nice couch. You guys are just too good for them eh?


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:06 p.m.

@SillyTree. If the moldy porch couch crowd knew what a "duff" was (besides Homer Simpson's preferred beer) they couldn't get off of it because they're too stoned with the rewards of their newly acquired medical marijuana license and can't tell it's difference to a hole in the ground.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 4:52 p.m.

I so badly want in on this. I just don't know what to say. It's all been said so many times. Oh wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, disposal of couches. Here's the way we did it in the olden days. If you didn't like something that "the man" was dishing out, you got off your duff and went out in the streets with signs and stuff. We ended Vietnam that way and we took a big bite out of racism that way. We weren't too worried about sofas, but so be it. If sofas are the hill you want to die on, get off your duff and let "the man" know how you feel. He ain't listening to ya here. Try another tact. Other than that, this has been fun. Will the sofa thing go away now, please!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

I think it is funny how you have a group of people in Ann Arbor that truly live like it is Republic of Ann Arbor and do not have to conform to any norms of society. I love that as much as anyone else, but seriously, couches on porches is really that much of an issue for regular people? If that upsets you, I would hate to see how you would react living in a suburb outside of Ann Arbor. Only in Ann Arbor do you have people cut grass around large weeds in the yard, if they cut it at all. I have seen it all here. It is one thing to be eccentric and another to look like a hoarder. Having a couch on the front porch can be a target for a fire hazard according to the last article that quoted by Ann Arbor Fire Chief.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 3:52 p.m.

So why are the AA taxpayers being saddled with the cost of disposal? A typical AA homeowner doesn't get free disposal of large items like that.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 3:22 p.m.

@Ignatz, we have all those empty porches becaus we've had a ban on porch furniture (other than the outdoor type) for years.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

@ EyeHeartA2 -- Is that another Primal Scream reference?... because I don't know that one. ELO maybe?


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

"I get a chuckle out of all these kids that are digging there feet in about a smelly, nasty piece of furniture" It's not only them, "regular" people are affected also.

Bob Needham

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

(Off-topic comment removed)


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:25 p.m.

Will the couchs be redeployed to the upcoming medical marijuana stores and placed on the sidewalk? With outdoor dining in vogue this seems like a natural extension. Have dinner on Main St. and then smoke down on a cushy couch in front of your favorite pot shop. Could also be a business opportunity for a munchies shop on Main!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

@ EyeHeartA2 -- Just what is it that you want to do?


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 2:14 p.m.

That's somewhat funny some neighborhoods, the color you paint your home is determined by acceptable standards set by HO Assns or even the Historical Society...and chipping paint will get you a visit by the Standards Committee! LOL I get a chuckle out of all these kids that are digging there feet in about a smelly, nasty piece of furniture [that lends itself to some "student" housing to looking like crack houses in the ghettos of any big city] as their "rights" are being trampled on...oh to be so young, idealistic and carefree as to only have that worry!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

Ya Right come and get mine and I will take you to court!!!!!!!!!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

"I suggest a bonfire for their disposal instead of burying them in the landfill." Don't worry, since these couches are so dangerous I expect them to self combust many times on drop off days. "There are lots of other kinds of porch furniture out there. You know, the kind that are made for outdoor use." Sure, and my neighbor hasn't cleraned their grill in awhile and it looks kinda dirty so let's just not have that there. Some of the paint is chipping on their house to so they should be forced to be repainted. Of course, mos tother people on the block wanted painted a different color so we'll just decide that too.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

I see a lot of empty porches in Ypsi.....forget I said that.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

This is really a good thing. I have a good friend whose house burned down as a result of a couch fire. Total disaster. Ann Arbor is a beautiful city, and those porch couches are gross. There are lots of other kinds of porch furniture out there. You know, the kind that are made for outdoor use.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 1:16 p.m.

I suggest a bonfire for their disposal instead of burying them in the landfill.