blog, articles & publications

The New Public Road Ends at Lakes Law

On March, 2012, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley signed the House Substitute for Senate Bill 778 into law. This is the so‑called “Public Road Ends at Lakes Law.” It can be found at MCL 324.30111b (the “New Law”). Of course, the New Law is not perfect. But as the old saying goes, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! Overall, the New Law is pro-riparian, pro-public lake access, pro-rule of law, and pro-local government. The language for the New Law is contained in the side bar to this article.  Read More

Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

On July 31st the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion involving the “medical marihuana” ordinance adopted by the City of Wyoming in 2010. The amendment prohibited any use in the city that was contrary to federal law. The effect of the amendment was to prohibit the use of medical marihuana in its entirety within the city because federal law prohibits the use of marihuana. Wyoming was not alone in this response to the adoption of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMA”); a number of communities on the eastern side of the state took the same approach.  Read More

Welcome To Our Open House

After allowing some time for the dust to settle, we finally took the opportunity to throw ourselves a party. Our much anticipated open house took place on Thursday and we received many well wishes from our fantastic clients and friends by way of mentions like this from our friends at Alpine Township, floral arrangements, and of course, guests at our event.  Read More

The Michigan Right to Farm Act and Urban Farming - Court Decision

Our attorneys were municipal co-counsel in the recent Michigan district court case of the People of Georgetown Charter Township v Sutton (Case No. 705-1652).  In that case, the Court held that what some people call “urban farming” is subject to local municipal zoning regulations, notwithstanding the Michigan Right to Farm Act.  The Court held that the GAAMPs under the Act did not shield a homeowner who kept chickens and goats in his backyard in an urban neighborhood from prosecution under local zoning regulations.   Read More

Michigan Fireworks Safety Act

Slowly, the questions raised by the adoption of the new Michigan Fireworks Safety Act (Act No. 256 of the Public Acts of 2011; the “Act”) are beginning to get answered. On June 12, Michigan’s Attorney General issued an opinion concluding that the Act does not preempt a generally applicable local ordinance where both the Act and the ordinance can be enforced. Thus, zoning and general police power ordinances not specifically addressed to the use or specifications of fireworks may well survive a legal challenge.  Read More

Special Assessment Districts For Lakes
 Made Easy

Assisting Townships with the Process
Setting up a special assessment district for a lake to fund efforts to control invasive and nuisance aquatic weeds is often a relatively easy solution to a complex problem.  Special assessment districts for aquatic weed control purposes have been in widespread use by many townships throughout Michigan for decades.  The Michigan Townships Association (“MTA”) often recommends such districts.  At the current time, it is likely that dozens (if not over 100) Michigan townships have such lake special assessment districts in place.  Read More

In Memoriam: Richard L. Root

We note with sadness the passing of former Mayor Richard L. Root of Kentwood. Mayor Root was a true friend and dedicated public servant. He represented Kentwood on a regional and state-wide level and, in doing so, brought great honor to the City. He was good man and will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to his family.  Read More

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