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Re: E-M:/ legal issue: MHP rezoning



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Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>
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Susan,

I'm sure that someone here can give you a more
informed response on the DEQ regs. But as far as I
know, a MHP designation does not exempt such
developments from local, county or state regulations
with the exception of any exemptions provided for in
the state law governing MHPs. 

It is not accurate for local officials to say that
MHPs are not governed by local regulations. Local
communities are permitted to develop local ordinances
that govern MHPs and many communities have MHP zoning
districts with specific standards. These ordinances do
have to be within the guidelines established by state
law and the State Mobile Home Commission. Communities
that want to have standards that exceed the standards
set by the MHC must apply to and be granted an
exception by the MHC. As I've noted before, the MHC is
dominated by interests in the mobile home commmunity
and they often reject these requests, sometimes for
reasons that can not be justified. The Planning and
Zoning Center in Lansing has done quite a bit of
research and advocacy on this issue and they should be
able to provide more background on that issue. 

http://www.michiganlegislature.org/mileg.asp?page=getObject&objName=mcl-125-2307&highlight=mobile%20home

See also this Court Case - I don't know if this was
appealed but it speaks directly to your question:

Silver Creek Township v Corso
http://www.courtofappeals.mijud.net/Digest/newHTML/22105221.htm

Here's the administrative rules promulgated by the
MHC. They are very long!

http://www.state.mi.us/orr/emi/admincode.asp?AdminCode=Single&Admin_Num=12501101&Dpt=RngHigh=16900065

As far as your legal question, you'll want to talk to
a lawyer. But I think it is doubtful that you would
have any luck in that regard. A change in zoning
merely allows the possibility of a land-use, not the
actuality of it. In theory, if allowed under the
ordinance, the property owner could continue to use
the property as it is currently used for years to come
without ever developing a MHP. Your potential damages
would be merely speculative at this point. But I'm not
a lawyer so that's not legal advice.
:)

Also, remind your Township supervisor of the right of
Township residents to petition for a referendum on a
zoning change. Your neighbors in Pittsfield Township
should be able to give you some pointers on that
issue.

Good luck!

Andrew Mutch





--- Susan Miller <smiller179@comcast.net> wrote:
>
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> Enviro-Mich message from Susan Miller
> <smiller179@comcast.net>
>
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> 
> I'd like some input on a potential groundwater
> mismanagement issue and the
> possibility of legal action.   I own 19 acres of
> land in Lodi township (just
> south of Ann Arbor) that has extensive wetlands. 
> Most of this land is
> seasonally flooded beech-maple forest.  Lodi
> Township is being asked to
> rezone 47 acres of land--bounding my property on two
> long borders--from
> Agricultural to Mobile Home Park rezoning.  The aim
> is to expand the
> existing Orchard Grove MHP (on Wagner, between
> Scio-Church and Waters).  No
> one in the community wants the expansion--not the
> residents of the existing
> park or the township planners or  the other
> neighbors--but historically
> these MHP's get shoved down the throats of
> municipalities with law suits
> initiated by the developers.
> 
> The groundwater issue is as follows.  The 47 acres
> proposed for the MHP fall
> within the domain of the DEQ's new phase II
> groundwater regs.  I know there
> are some wetlands on the property and I also know
> that these wetlands
> interact a great deal with the more extensive
> wetlands on my own property.
> When I asked the Lodi township supervisor whether
> the developer would have
> to submit a plan for compliance with the new regs
> before getting rezoning,
> she said that they would not.  Furthermore, she
> indicated that MHP's are not
> governed by local governing bodies, but by a state
> level MHP-friendly
> commission.  She thought it likely they would get by
> with non-compliance
> with the groundwater regulations.  Even when MHP
> developers make public
> promises to local governing boards in order to get
> developments approved,
> they seldom follow through with what they've
> promised.  That scenario played
> out 10 years ago when Orchard Grove MHP was first
> expanded.
> 
> I am particularly worried because a very
> high-density project like the
> current Orchard Grove leaves essentially no
> undisturbed land.  Everything is
> cement or turf.  Given the interaction with my
> property--which I hope to
> preserve--I want to minimize disturbances that would
> negatively impact the
> ecosystem.  I'm wondering if I have any grounds for
> suing the township board
> should they fail to protect my property by rezoning
> the adjacent land with
> full knowledge that such rezoning will in effect
> exempt this land from DEQ
> groundwater regulations and degrade neighboring
> properties.
> 
> Any thoughts about the viability of such a strategy
> would be appreciated.
> 
> Susan Miller
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>
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