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In a recent unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals addressed the specificity with which local units of government should tailor zoning decisions to avoid constitutional violations.  In City of Holland v MCBR Properties, LLC, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued January 11, 2018 (Docket No. 336057), the City’s Zoning Ordinance prohibited residential properties within a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

Rental Inspections

P.A. 169 of 2017 was approved by Governor Snyder in late November and takes effect on February 19, 2018.  P.A. 169 is an attempt to clarify existing law regarding the inspection of multiple dwellings and rooming houses. Under the Michigan Housing Law (the “Housing Law”) a “multiple dwelling” is a dwelling used as a private dwelling occupied other than by a single family or two families sharing the dwelling; a “rooming house” generally means a dwelling occupied by one or two families but which also has rooms leased to non-family members.  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

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

Municipal Civil Infractions

Michigan Townships Association Releases Manual on Ordinance Enforcement Authored by Cliff Bloom of Bloom Sluggett Morgan  Read More