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Important Michigan Court of Appeals Decision regarding Zoning Site Plan Appeals to Circuit Court

In Woodcreek of Ann Arbor Association, et al. v City of Ann Arbor, et al., unpublished decision dated March 12, 2019 (Case No. 342848; 2019 WL 1140261), the City of Ann Arbor approved a site plan to allow a developer to develop a condominium complex.  Neighboring property owners and a nearby property owners association filed a lawsuit in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court to overturn the zoning approval.  The circuit court dismissed the neighbors’ lawsuit as untimely, which decision was upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals.  

First, the Court of Appeals agreed that an appeal of an administrative municipal site plan zoning approval is subject to a 30-day time limit for appeal to circuit court pursuant to MCR 7.122 (which is similar to a statute of limitations).  The neighbors did not file an appeal with the circuit court within 30 days, and as such, the appeal was properly dismissed.  Second, even though the neighbors also included claims for noncompliance with state law and the zoning ordinance, mandamus, violation of state law and violation of substantive due process in the appeal or lawsuit, the Court of Appeals essentially held that those other claims are simply part of the appeal and not independent causes of action or legal theories.  Or put another way, all of those other causes of action and legal theories were “consumed” within the appeal, and are time-barred.  

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