Michigan Supreme Court docket Eases Necessities to Enchantment Land Use Choices


Efficiently interesting a municipal land use resolution in Michigan is notoriously tough. First, one should qualify as an “aggrieved social gathering.” Separate from conventional notions of standing, “aggrieved social gathering” standing has been narrowed by the courts to embody solely a small group of potential events. Second, even when one qualifies as an “aggrieved social gathering,” one should nonetheless overcome a normal of evaluate that may be very deferential to the native planning physique. Nevertheless, the Michigan Supreme Court docket just lately eased certainly one of these necessities.

In Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance v Saugatuck Township et al., the Michigan Supreme Court docket took a tough have a look at the “aggrieved social gathering” requirement for land use appeals. It opined that Michigan courts have been unduly slim of their software of this requirement. To treatment this, the Court docket set out a brand new check for potential “aggrieved events.”

To qualify as an “aggrieved social gathering” underneath the brand new check, the appellant should meet three standards:

  • First, the appellant should have participated within the challenged proceedings by taking a place on the contested resolution, similar to by way of a letter or oral public remark.
  • Second, the appellant should declare some legally protected curiosity or protected private, pecuniary, or property proper that’s more likely to be affected by the challenged resolution.
  • Third, the appellant should present some proof of particular damages arising from the challenged resolution within the type of an precise or seemingly damage to or burden on their asserted curiosity or proper that’s totally different in form or extra vital in diploma than the consequences on others in the area people.

This new check eradicated essentially the most stringent requirement of the earlier check, which required appellants to point out particular damages distinctive from different “equally located” events, not merely others in the area people.

The impression of this resolution won’t be clear for a while. It unquestionably makes qualifying as an “aggrieved social gathering” simpler. Nevertheless, it has no impression on the appellant normal of evaluate, which stays extremely government-friendly. Nonetheless, even an incremental shift in direction of making these appeals viable may change the calculus of many potential appellants.

Dalton & Tomich attorneys have dealt with quite a few municipal land use appeals. For those who really feel you might have grounds to enchantment a land use resolution or wish to defend in opposition to an enchantment of your approval, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be pleased to talk with you.



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