On March 4, 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its published decision in Connell v Lima Township, Mich App (2021) (Case No. 353871; 2021 WL 833299). The case involved a challenge by neighbors to a conditional rezoning of land. The Court held, among other matters, that the conditional rezoning is a legislative act rather than a quasi-judicial administrative decision. Special land uses, conditional uses and variances are quasi-judicial zoning matters. There has been some confusion in the past regarding the ability of neighbors to bring a lawsuit regarding a zoning matter. This case clarifies that to appeal or challenge a quasi-judicial administrative matter, the courts require that a challenging party be “aggrieved” (which includes showing “special damages” different than members of the general public) versus neighbors challenging a rezoning decision (which involves “standing” and requires a slightly different showing of “special damages”). Finally, the Court also found that legislative zoning decisions by a township board are not appealable to the township’s zoning board of appeals.
Categories: Land, Special Assessments, Zoning and Planning, Zoning Permits