Publications for Zoning & Land Use
Imagine that you are the head of your municipality and you receive a frantic call from a constituent. The constituent says “Hey, Mr. Supervisor- I live in a residential subdivision and my next door neighbor is growing 72 marijuana plants in his backyard! I thought he couldn’t do that unless there was an ordinance allowing it? What are you going to do about it?”
In a previous article (The Case for Putting it in Writing), the case was stated for putting “spoken” agricultural contracts in writing. This time, the focus shifts to a particular type of contract: the land lease.
In late August, an 18-month long lawsuit against Almer and Ellington Townships ("the Townships"), which was brought by a subsidiary of wind energy giant NextEra Energy Resources LLC (“NextEra”), was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, North Division.
In an unpublished opinion released on October 30, 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a local zoning ordinance cannot prohibit medical marijuana caregivers from cultivating marijuana as a “home occupation.” Charter Twp of Ypsilanti v Pontius, Court of Appeals Docket No. 340487 (Oct. 30, 2018).
Acquiring Michigan agricultural property involves a number of legal issues. One that should be addressed with an attorney is the effect of the acquisition on the qualified agricultural property exemption (“Ag Exemption”).
Property tax exemptions can have a big impact on local communities. Although exempt properties do not generate tax revenue for local units or tax-sharing units (like schools and libraries), exempt properties still use tax-funded services, like police and fire protection. An increase in tax-exempt properties can in turn increase the strain on local budgets.
As I discussed in the first article in this series addressing property tax exemption issues in Michigan, property taxes account for billions of dollars for essential community services such as schools, public safety departments, transportation, infrastructure, and governance for local residents and businesses.
After many months of new releases and public discussion of the Court of Appeals’ "big box" decision in Menard Inc. v City of Escanaba, 315 Mich App 512 (2016), the Michigan Supreme Court ended some of the speculation on October 20, 2017 by determining not to hear Menard Inc.’s appeal.
If you have an ordinance that regulates gun shops or the sale of firearms, it may be subject to scrutiny under the Second Amendment.
Last September, Gov. Snyder signed HB 4209 (now called the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act). The relevant portion of the Act to townships is Section 205. Marijuana facilities may not operate in a township, and will not be able to obtain a license from the state, unless the township has adopted an ordinance (zoning or otherwise) that authorizes that type of facility.
On September 21, Gov. Snyder signed HB 4209 (now called the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, Public Act 281 of 2016). The Act imposes a licensure mandate and authorizes a regulatory scheme for certain medical marijuana facilities including growers, transporters, processors and dispensaries.
Municipalities often put great care and effort into deciding whether to amend their zoning or regulatory ordinances. While the substance of those amendments is important, so too is the form of the amendments.
In Kalkman, the Court found in favor of a property owner who relied on a building permit issued by the City of the Village of Douglas, even though the building permit was improperly issued.
The City of Wyoming, like many Michigan municipalities, adopted a zoning ordinance that barred any land uses that are contrary to federal law. A medical marijuana patient sued to have the court declare that the ordinance is invalid as conflicting with the Act.
The Michigan Legislature has moved forward on a new bill that would pre-empt local zoning when it comes to handling request to co-locate wireless telecommunications equipment on an existing tower.
Selling property by land contract is often a viable option where conventional financing is not available. However, there can be risks associated with a land contract that are completely unrelated to the financial considerations.
The Michigan Legislature has legislatively overruled Kyser and reinstated the "very serious consequences" rule.
For decades, Michigan courts have held that a zoning ordinance that prevents extraction of natural resources is invalid unless "very serious consequences" would result from the proposed extraction.
The Court of Appeals rejected a claim that a township was excluding commercial uses where there are many commercial uses in the neighboring city and some of those uses were formerly in the township before the city annexed the land on which they exist.
A zoning ordinance that merely lists uses eligible for a special use permit (SUP) generally does not comply with Michigan zoning laws.
In Robinson v City of Lansing, __ NW2d __ (2010), the Michigan Supreme Court examined the issue of whether MCL 691.1402a(2)...applies to sidewalks adjacent to state highways or only to sidewalks adjacent to county highways.
In early October, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down a township zoning ordinance that regulated the sale and distribution of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers.
Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a township’s decision to reject an application by a religious organization for a variance to construct a building for worship purposes – even though that building would be used for other uses
On July 3, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that ordinance enforcement officers conducting warrantless searches may face personal liability under the Civil Rights Act for violating the Fourth Amendment.
On March 13, 2008, Governor Granholm signed into law Senate Bill 206, creating the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, which takes effect on September 1, 2008.
In June 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a county must comply with a township’s ordinances when the county sited an outdoor shooting range...
The Michigan Court of Appeals very recently issued a perhaps-controversial opinion that highlights the importance of municipalities identifying sound rationales when enacting new zoning ordinances so as to avoid infringing citizens’ Constitutional rights.
In Michigan, nearly all property is zoned by the local government, more commonly known as either the city, village or township.
The Governor recently signed Senate Bill 206 unifying the three current planning acts for municipalities, townships, and counties into a single Michigan Planning Enabling Act.
In a recent case before the Michigan Supreme Court, Houdini Properties, LLC v City of Romulus, a landowner had requested a use variance to erect a billboard on its property.
Last month, the State Legislature enacted Public Act 12 of 2008, which amended the Zoning Enabling Act.