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[Fwd: SG-W:/ lawsuits and zoning]




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This is indeed a terrible problem and I suspect a lot of bad planning
decisions are made because of just the threat of lawsuits.

When I was on the Ag Lands TF, one of a panel of lawyers who spoke to us
said that the best defense is a good master plan which accomodates all
reasonable uses and needs and is not seen as exclusionary.  For example,
some allocation needs to be made for mobile home parks.  (Sharon did
this but the developer didn't want to use the land set aside.)

Then - the twp has to be able to stand up to threats.  A good planning
consultant/lawyer is helpful too.  Of course, we are talking money. 
Superior Twp seems to have weathered some lawsuits.  I wonder what their
experience has been.

Jeff Surfus wrote:
> 
> There is a very disturbing thing happening in our county and I sure would
> like to see some brainstorming here about what to do about it.
> 
> Township governments have been very hesitant to stand up to developers and
> big land owners because of the fear of lawsuits.  As Erica has said, there
> is a farmer in her township threatening legal action if the township doesn't
> rezone his property so he can sell it to a developer (Am I getting it right
> Erica?).  In Sharon Township, the Board refused to rezone an agricultural
> parcel so that a developer could bring in a large mobile home development.
> Last week, he filed suit against the township.
> 
> My questions are:
> 
> What's the point of having a zoning code at all if someone can come into the
> courts and challenge the zoning?
> 
> Is it considered a taking if the zoning change isn't approved?  Will a
> township have to compensate the landowner?
> 
> What can we do to support these townships in there efforts to do the right
> thing?
> 
> I think these questions get to the heart of the problem for many of the
> townships in our county.
> 
> Any answers?
> 
> Jeff Surfus
> 
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