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Land Use and Zoning

Municipal / June 25, 2009

Court/Case No: Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 284238

Tried/Argued Before: Judges


Verdict:  Summary disposition in favor of the Township affirmed

Name of Judge(s):  E. T. Fitzgerald, Michael J. Talbot, Douglas P. Shapiro

Keys to the Case:

The Charter Township of Orion adopted a map amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance to rezone Plaintiff’s property from a commercial designation to an office designation in order to comport the zoning designation with what was designated in the Township’s Master Plan.  Following the rezoning, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Oakland County Circuit Court alleging a litany of causes of action, including alleged constitutional violations and an alleged taking of its property without just compensation.  The Township filed a motion for summary disposition on the basis that the Township’s zoning and land use decisions were reasonable and comported with constitutional requirements and that the legislative rezoning of the property did not constitute a taking of the property for which just compensation would be due.  Judge Colleen O’Brien, of the Oakland County Circuit Court, granted the Township’s motion for summary disposition and dismissed the case.

The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a lengthy opinion, affirmed the decision of the circuit court.  The Court found that the Township’s decisions with regard to the rezoning of the property were reasonable and within the constitutional confines for equal protection and due process.  The Court further found that the rezoning of the Plaintiff’s property did not amount to a taking of the property for which just compensation would be due.  Finally, the Court upheld the Township’s Tree Ordinance as constitutional and not violative of the Headlee Amendment.  The key to the case was a showing that the Township had a legitimate governmental interest at stake and the Plaintiff failed to overcome its burden to render the land use decision unconstitutional.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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