Real Property

This summary also appears under Municipal


Issues: Action for a writ of mandamus compelling the defendants to issue a land use permit; "Ripeness"; Lake Angelo Assoc. v. White Lake Twp.; Michigan Chiropractic Council v. Commissioner of the Office of Fin. & Ins. Servs.; Statute providing that when conditions for rezoning are not satisfied "the land shall revert to its former zoning classification"; MCL 125.3405(2); Principle that the rules of statutory interpretation apply to ordinances; In pari materia sections must be read together; Goldstone v. Bloomfield Twp. Pub. Library; Bloomfield Twp. v. Kane; Principle that "persons seeking authority from a governmental unit must exhaust their remedies within such governmental unit before seeking relief in court"; Trojan v. Taylor Twp.; Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning; Agricultural zoning (AG); Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Chestnut Dev. LLC v. Township of Genoa

e-Journal Number: 58918

Judge(s): Per Curiam - M.J. Kelly, Cavanagh, and Meter


The court held that the trial court abused its discretion by granting the plaintiff-developer a writ of mandamus compelling the defendants-township and zoning administrator to issue a land use permit. While the court rejected defendants' claim that the zoning classification matter was not ripe, the issue whether plaintiff was entitled to a land use permit to construct a single family home and to enlarge an existing pond on its property was not ripe for adjudication. Thus, it affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. Plaintiff sought a writ of mandamus compelling defendants to issue a land use permit allowing it to construct a single family home. Defendants claimed the matter was not ripe for adjudication and that plaintiff had to comply with its zoning ordinance as a consequence of the property's prior PUD zoning. They also claimed plaintiff actually sought to mine sand from its property to sell, which is only permitted in industrial districts with special land use approval. After several hearings, the trial court eventually granted plaintiff's request for a writ of mandamus and ordered defendants to issue the land use permit. As to defendants' argument that the matter of zoning classification was not ripe, the court found that the zoning agreement entered into between defendants and the prior property owner became void when the prior owner abandoned the development project and the property. "Therefore, the conditional rezoning of the property from AG to PUD was automatically revoked and, at some time before plaintiff purchased the property, the property reverted back to its original zoning classification, AG, by operation of" defendants' ordinance and MCL 125.3405(2). Further, "[a]ll of the information necessary to resolve the issue of zoning classification was available and its resolution was not dependent on any determination by the ZBA." However, the issue of whether plaintiff was entitled to a land use permit to construct a home and to enlarge the pond on its property that is zoned AG was not ripe "because the municipality did not render a final determination regarding the requested use considering the property's AG zoning classification . . . ." Thus, the claim "'rests upon contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or may not occur at all.'"


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