blog, articles & publications

Constitutional Due Process and Equal Protection Challenges To Zoning Decisions

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals addressed the specificity with which local units of government should tailor zoning decisions to avoid constitutional violations.  In City of Holland v MCBR Properties, LLC, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued January 11, 2018 (Docket No. 336057), the City’s Zoning Ordinance prohibited residential properties within a specific zoning district adjacent to Hope College from allowing more than six vehicles to be parked on a single property; this came to be known as the “six vehicle rule.”  Owners of affected properties challenged the six vehicle rule on constitutional substantive due process and equal protection grounds.  Read More

Seasonal Homes and the Michigan Principal Residence Exemption

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a municipality which denied a property owner’s petition for a “principal residence exemption” (“PRE”).  Under Michigan’s PRE, also known as the “homestead exemption,” a principal residence property can be exempted from the property tax levied by a local school district for school operating purposes.  To apply the PRE, a person must be a Michigan resident who owns and occupies the property as a principal residence.  Michigan statute defines “principal residence” as “the 1 place where an owner of the property has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home to which, whenever absent, he or she intends to return and that shall continue as a principal residence until another principal residence is established.”  Read More

Medical Marihuana Outdoor Cultivation

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that local zoning restrictions on outdoor medical marihuana cultivation are preempted by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”). In Charter Township of York v Miller, homeowners who were also MMMA patients constructed a backyard structure to be used for medical marihuana cultivation. The Township’s Zoning Ordinance expressly provided that, while residential property could be used by a medical marihuana cardholder for growing marihuana, the medical marihuana was required to be contained “within the main building” in an enclosed, locked facility.  This zoning restriction was consistent with the MMMA’s original cultivation restrictions; however, a 2012 amendment to the MMMA expanded the permissible cultivation locations to expressly include outdoor space. However, the Township argued that its broad zoning authority under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (“MZEA”) authorized it to prohibit entirely outdoor medical marihuana cultivation.  Read More

Freedom of Information Act Update

A recent Michigan Attorney General Opinion (No. 7300) sheds light on the current obligations of a public body under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).  Read More

2018 Best Law Firm Recognition for Municipal Law in Grand Rapids

We're humbled and delighted to announce that we've been recognized as a "2018 Best Law Firm" in the field of Municipal Law.  Read More

Jeff Sluggett Presented On Das/Small Cell Wireless Construction

This fall Jeff Sluggett presented on the topic of how municipalities can regulate small cell wireless construction at the ROWE Professional Services office in Flint, Michigan.   Read More

Jeff Sluggett Receives "Best Lawyers in America" Honors Once Again

We're pleased to announce that Jeff Sluggett has been selected by his peers for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers™ in America 2018" for his work in the area of Municipal Law.  Read More


Jeff Sluggett will be a speaker March 21-22 at the Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference, a conference for state and federal issues affecting local communities.  The Conference is sponsored by the Michigan Municipal League and will be held in Lansing at the Lansing Center. Jeff will be speaking on telecommunications issues.  For more information please visit  Read More

Legislative Alert - Two Notable Bills Headed to Governor's Desk

Two pieces of legislation are headed to the desk of the Governor and, if signed, could impact Michigan’s municipalities.  Read More

Jeff Sluggett to Speak at Local Government Academy in Lansing

Jeff Sluggett will be a speaker on May 18th at the Local Government Academy, a three-day seminar for  newer lawyers sponsored by the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. The Academy is held in Lansing. Jeff will be speaking on public right of way issues.  Read More