blog, articles & publications

Michigan Municipal Law: Our Contribution

Congratulations to Jeff Sluggett and Crystal Morgan on the recent publication of Michigan Municipal Law. The handbook for public sector attorneys is published by The State of Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education. It is the first treatise of its kind published in Michigan in a number of years.  Read More

In Memoriam: Walter B. Freihofer

Recently, the Grand Rapids legal community lost a giant with the death of attorney Walter B. Freihofer. Walter passed away at age 89 on May 26, 2012. Our condolences go out to Walter’s wife, Sue, and the Freihofer extended family.  Read More

Cemetery Maintenance: More than Mowing the Lawn

Virtually every township in Michigan has at least one township owned cemetery. Some township officials, however, may not have a full grasp of the importance of this township service and the value and comfort that it can offer to the community. Few township topics engender such great public emotion as township cemeteries, and safeguarding this important component of a township's history remains a critical tether to residents' connection to their township.  Read More

Congratulations are in Order

We're proud to announce that BSM's Crystal Morgan was invited to become a member of a Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) committee tasked with providing written educational materials to municipal attorneys around the state.  Read More

Riparian of the Year Awarded to BSM's Cliff Bloom

We're proud to announce that BSM partner, Cliff Bloom was awarded the “Master’s Jacket” as the outstanding riparian of the year by the Michigan Lake & Stream Associations at its annual convention in April 2012. Read the entire article below.
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BSM Featured in Rapid Growth Media

Rapid Growth Media, a weekly news publication featuring growth and business development in the Grand Rapids area, has featured Bloom Sluggett Morgan in this week's edition. Read the article in its entirety here Read More

Zoning Tools

The single best tool available to protect inland lakes, streams, rivers, and watersheds in Michigan, in my humble opinion, is local municipal zoning. I have discussed lake access (i.e., anti-funneling/keyhole) zoning regulations in The Riparian and at various ML&SA meetings so often that I fear that many of you are probably overdosed on the subject! However, in addition to water access regulations, there are numerous other zoning techniques which can help protect our water resources. Unfortunately, Michigan is light years behind most other industrialized states at the state level when it comes to many zoning issues and lacks many of the statutes found in other states regarding environmental protection. Therefore, most innovative planning is occurring at the local municipal level in Michigan. I realize that asking riparians to learn more about zoning issues is sometimes a little like asking someone who is not very fond of broccoli to eat it. Nevertheless, zoning has huge implications for lakes and watersheds, and riparians in the future will ignore becoming involved in local zoning decisions at their own risk. Following are brief descriptions of some of the innovative and beneficial techniques available in many other states which the Michigan Legislature has either failed to authorize or support financially to the extent needed to be truly beneficial.   Read More

Survey Stakes

All of a sudden, you discover that survey stakes have appeared on some undeveloped lake frontage land, not too far from your riparian lot. Although the undeveloped property has some frontage on the lake, the parcel also has asignificant amount of land area away from the lake. All sorts of bad things go through your mind. Is it going to be a mobile home park? Is the property owner/ developer going to develop a large number of lots upland and attempt to "funnel"those lots onto the lake through the limited lake frontage of the parcel? Is someone attempting to put in a marina or commercial operation? It is enough to send a chill up the spine of any riparian property owner.   Read More


"Trespass" is the venturing onto the lands of another without permission. As many riparians well know, trespass is a common problem around lakes.   Read More

Urban Sprawl

An increasing number of people in the state of Michigan believe that urban sprawl and the permanent destruction of farmland, forests and open space will be one of the most pressing problems facing Michigan in the 21st century. Some even label it as Michigan s No. 1 long-term problem. Development is forever. Once a farm is carved up into residential lots, woods are cut down for a shopping center or a wetlands is filled for a parking lot, the natural environment can never be practically reclaimed.   Read More