Zoning issues

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  • Zoning authority and limitations: The Michigan legislature, through enabling statutes, has delegated authority to local governments to enact general police power ordinances for the promotion and protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.  However, this authority is limited by State and federal law. For example, a zoning ordinance may not preclude farming activity that comes within the protections of the Right to Farm Act and is unenforceable to the extent that it would prohibit conduct protected by that act.  Residences in close proximity to agricultural operations are impacted by such things as dust, odor, and noise.  However, a farm that complies with generally accepted agricultural and management practices of the Right to Farm Act does not constitute a private or public nuisance.
  • Nonconforming use:  A property owner typically has a vested right to continue a use that was lawful prior to the enactment of an ordinance making it unlawful or non-conforming.
  • Variances:  A variance is an authorization, typically made by the Zoning Board of Appeals, to improve and use land in a manner that would not otherwise strictly conform with the zoning ordinance.  “Nonuse” variances involve authorizations to improve and use property in a manner that does not comply with an area or dimensional requirement, such as a minimum set-back requirement.  “Use” variances authorize an actual use of property, e.g., multiple-family residential, office, or business, not otherwise permitted in the district where the property is located.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your zoning issue, please call (734) 475-4659. 

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The foregoing is general information only and does not constitute legal advice regarding your specific legal matter nor does it create an attorney-client relationship regarding your matter.