October 2022

An informative e-newsletter for the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Michigan Supreme Court Clarifies “Aggrieved” Status for Purposes of Who May Bring Zoning Appeals

By John A. Weiss, Dickinson Wright PLLC

In Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance v. Saugatuck Township, Case Nos. 160358-9 (decided July 22, 2022), the Michigan Supreme Court considered what status is necessary for purposes of appealing certain land use decisions to a zoning board of appeals and, subsequently, to the circuit court. The majority concluded that to qualify as “aggrieved” under the applicable statutes, a would-be appellant must satisfy three criteria: (1) the party must have participated in the challenged proceedings by taking a position on the contested proposal or decision, (2) the party must claim some protected interest or personal, pecuniary, or property right that will be or is likely to be affected by the challenged decision, and (3) the party must provide some evidence of special damages that is different in kind or more significant in degree than the effects on others in the local community. The practical effect of the majority’s decision is that the threshold for qualifying as “aggrieved” will be more permissive and property ownership is not a requirement.

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors, and they do not reflect in any way the positions of the State Bar of Michigan or the Real Property Law Section. These columns are meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.