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E-M:/ Friends of Novi Parks Seeks Injunction Against City of Novi, MI



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Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friends of Novi Parks Seeks Injunction Against City of
Novi, MI
Novi, MI., November 20, 2001

CONTACTS
Lynda Racey					
Friends of Novi Parks				
P.O. Box 123					
Novi MI 48376-0123				
Phone: (248) 374-1888			
Fax: 	(248) 596-9146			
www.friendsofnoviparks.org			

Scott Howard
Olson & Bzdok, P.C.
420 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone:	(231) 946-0044
Fax:	(231) 946-4807
email: scott@envlaw.com

The Friends of Novi Parks requested an injunction
today in Oakland County Circuit Court against the City
of Novi. The injunction seeks to stop the illegal
transfer of up to 95 acres of City parkland to
Sandstone Associates. "The city is planning on giving
away 25 percent of all the land in one of our most
valuable public recreation areas." said LuAnne Kozma,
a Novi Parks and Recreation Commissioner and member of
the group. "The decision to give away a huge chunk of
the city's green space is short sighted and will be
felt for years to come."

North Novi Park consists of 440 acres of land near the
intersection of 12 1/2 Mile and Dixon Roads. The
proposed transfer would take away roughly 25% of the
park, and over 10% of ALL the parkland owned by the
city.

The City proposes to unlawfully give Sandstone
Associates the parkland as part of a settlement to a
lawsuit. "The city holds this parkland in trust for
its residents," said Scott Howard, attorney for the
group. "The failure of the city to ask permission from
its residents through a vote before it gives the park
away is prohibited by Michigan law. Unfortunately, the
city is refusing to play by the rules."

The request for an injunction highlights numerous
violations of law. By attempting to turn over City
parkland to Sandstone Associates, the City of Novi is
violating the Home Rule Cities Act. The Home Rules
Cities Act prohibits cities from selling city-owned
land that is designated as parkland on the City’s
Master Plan. The parkland to be lost through the
settlement is clearly shown as a Community Park on the
current City of Novi Master Plan. The parkland is also
currently used for a number of recreational activities
including bird watching, biking, hiking and
cross-country skiing.

The request also points out that the City of Novi is
violating the intent and purpose of the park bond
proposal approved by Novi voters in 1993. The proceeds
from the 1993 bond proposal were used to purchase most
of the land to be transferred. The language of the
1993 park bond clearly limits the use of the property
to recreational purposes. Allowing this land to be
used for non-recreational purposes would violate the
language of the bond and state law. Parts of the
parkland to be given away were also purchased with
federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
funds, which do not permit transferring property
purchased for parks and recreational purposes to a
private developer.

"Before the Novi City Council passed this resolution
on October 15, we stated during public hearings and at
council meetings that state law would be violated if
city-owned parkland were given away” said Kozma. "The
City Council deliberately chose to ignore state law
and approved the settlement anyway. We have been
forced to go to court because we have no other
recourse."

The Friends of Novi Parks is represented in the suit
by Scott Howard of Olson and Bzdok, P.C., and Lynda
Racey, a local attorney and one of the members of the
group.  Olson and Bzdok is a Traverse City , MI law
firm specializing in environmental and land use law.

The Friends of Novi Parks' purpose is to support the
protection, acquisition, and development of parks and
open spaces within the city of Novi. Membership is
open to anyone interested in recreation and parks in
Novi. For more information, you can visit their web
site at http://friendsofnoviparks.org. The
organization can also be contacted at Friends of Novi
Parks, PO Box 123, Novi MI 48376-0123.



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