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Re: SG-W:/ prop 2


Supposedly, zoning isn't even an issue in this effort -- opponents of Prop. 2
claim that zoning is a "local issue" that they don't seek to control [I guess
we are supposed to ignore SB 205...]  But, I would argue that zoning is in
fact central to the argument for Prop. 2.  Why?

If you support the current system then you are allowing for the possibility
that the state government could strip local communities of the power to
control their own zoning.  Impossible you say?  Well, maybe the state won't
remove that power completely but look at what has been happening over the
years -- bit by bit, the state has been stripping the ability of local
governments to control zoning within their communities.  As the article in
Planning and Zoning Center magazine noted, sometimes those were for "good"
reasons and sometimes not.  Recent history is peppered with examples of
"sometimes not" -- SB 205, etc.  If you oppose Prop. 2 then you support a
future where that chipping away of local control can continue to happen.

Here's an example of where Prop. 2 is going to make all the difference.  This
example combines land-use with other local control issues.  Currently, the
Michigan Supreme Court is considering a case between the City of Holland and
Adams Outdoor Advertising over the regulation of billboards. The City has set
strict control on billboards with the goal of gradually eliminating as many as
possible from the City. Adams sued the City after the City stopped Adams from
erecting a slew of new billboard [without permits and some in City ROW]
claiming that the City's billboard ordinance was unconstitutional.  The Court
of Appeals sided with the City saying it was a valid exercise of the City's
Home Rule Powers [http://www.icle.org/michlaw/oview.cfm?caseid=20854321].
While one can only speculate on how the Court will rule in this case, it is
worth noting that the Supreme Court ruled against Adams in a similar case
against the City of East Lansing over the regulation of rooftop billboards
[http://www.icle.org/michlaw/oview.cfm?caseid=11367411].  It is very possible
that the Court will uphold the City of Holland in this case, affirming its
Home Rule Powers.

Why is this relevant?  For this reason -- one of the areas that the HB 4777
sought to strip power from local governments is in the area of regulating
outdoor advertising [billboards].  Now, if the Supreme Court affirms the right
of local governments to strictly limit billboards, do you think Adams and the
rest of the industry is just going to accept that?  No!  They are going to
push the legislature to enact HB 4777 or something similar to it to remove the
power of local governments to regulate billboards.  Would they succeed?
Maybe, maybe not -- but why should local governments even have to fight that
battle?  If Prop. 2 passes - we probably won't.  Adams might be able to
convince some legislators of the beauty of billboards but they won't convince
2/3ds of them.

Billboards might come first because of the Adams case but you can bet that
there will be those who argue that all of these units of government with
different zoning regulations is "bad for business" -- this is the argument for
HB 4777.  If Prop. 2 loses, I'm afraid that those who support that position
will be emboldened to strip even more power from local government.  And why
not?  If you are willing to allow the state to determine all local control
then that is the situation that could be created.

Andrew Mutch

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