blog, articles & publications

Michigan Court of Appeals Upholds Zoning Escrow Fee Policy

In Forner v Allendale Charter Township Supervisor, an unpublished decision decided on March 21, 2019 (Case No. 339072, 2019 WL 1302094), the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the application of Allendale Charter Township’s zoning escrow fee policy pursuant to a zoning board of appeals case.  The township required the plaintiff to pay a $1,500 zoning escrow fee pursuant to an appeal to the township’s zoning board of appeals.  The plaintiff alleged that the township lacked statutory authority to charge the fee.  Both the district court and the circuit court held that the township had the right to charge a zoning escrow fee pursuant to MCL 125.3406(1) because plaintiff’s request related to a legal question regarding land use.  The Court of Appeals determined that MCL 125.3406(1) applies only to zoning permits and does not authorize a zoning escrow fee for appeals to the administrative zoning board of appeals.  However, the Court of Appeals upheld the zoning escrow fee for the appeal to the zoning board of appeals based on the jurisdiction of the township’s zoning board of appeals pursuant to MCL 125.3603 and the Allendale Charter Township Zoning Ordinance, which provides that fees may be charged for an appeal to the zoning board of appeals.  The Court held that township ordinance authority is to be broadly construed.  Furthermore, the township had in place a resolution which both authorized fixed fees and also variable zoning escrow amounts.  The Court noted that the zoning escrow fees in the case were only used to reimburse the township for actual costs incurred for the services necessarily incurred by the township for the zoning board of appeals to carry out its duties.    Read More

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 v City of Ann Arbor, et al., unpublished decision dated March 12, 2019 (Case No. 342848; 2019 WL 1140261), the City of Ann Arbor approved a site plan to allow a developer to develop a condominium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.    Read More

The Michigan Court of Appeals Enhances Township Regulation of Public Roads

In Oshtemo Charter Township v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission, decided on June 25, 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals made it easier for Michigan townships to enact reasonable regulations regarding county public roads (especially truck route ordinances) over the objection of the local county road commission.  For more information, contact our office.  Read More

Michigan Supreme Court to Hear Appeal Regarding Demolition Orders

In December 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a published decision that requires municipalities to give property owners an opportunity to repair structures prior to demolition, regardless of the extent of the damage or the cost to repair  Read More

Crystal Morgan and Cliff Bloom: Success at the Michigan Supreme Court in a Riparian Case

After receiving an unfavorable decision in the circuit court in a case involving riparian/lake access issues, the plaintiffs/riparian property owners hired our attorneys to pursue an appeal of the decision.  Our clients won a partial victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals, which reversed portions of the trial court’s adverse decision.  Thereafter, our clients pursued an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court and based on the record and the application for leave to appeal drafted by BSM attorneys, the Michigan Supreme Court vacated the erroneous portions of the Court of Appeals decision regarding a prescriptive easement, and granted major relief to our clients.  To read the Court of Appeals opinion and the Michigan Supreme Court order, click here  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