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Michigan Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Education Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: Am I allowed to be in a Michigan public high school parking lot in the summer?

I was watching the sunset, with my friend, in my school parking lot days after school had ended. A man who we assume lives next to the school approached us and started threatening to call the cops saying we looked suspicious. We were simply sitting in the back of her car watching the sunset. Would... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 15, 2020

The police might have just told you to move along. Of course, a lot depends on what information they have at the time, including what the person who calls tells them, as well as whether there have been other reports of suspicious activity or crime in the area.

Generally, there are...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: Can a judge grant riparian rights to lake front property owners if that land has always been public use and county owned

Townline Lake, Belvidere Township, Lakeview MI. The lakeshore in Belvidere township has been public use since the 20s. A few lake front property owners went to a judge and got granted riparian rights up to the lakeshore even though it’s public property and is recorded as a park in the plat. How... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 4, 2020

A judge with equitable powers can do a lot of things, but without seeing the actual order (Courts 'speak' only through their written orders) it is hard to say what is going on here.

Indeed sometimes trial judges exceed their authority or make 'legal errors' and that is...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: I put a tree in an alley way which is now condemned. My neighbor is claiming them now. Is there a way I can move them?

I planted them in the alley, it has since been condemned and the trees are now on the half that my neighbor gained by less than 2 feet. I have offered to buy the land and he refuses. Is there a way I can legally remove the trees? Or anything at all?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on May 26, 2020

You probably mean that the alley was vacated.

A tree, once planted, becomes part of the land. It belongs to the landowner. That’s the simple answer, but there are possible exceptions. For example, rights to timber can be owned separately. I think that your neighbor owns the trees.

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2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Right of easement?

We own a house with a neighbor who we share a driveway with. We also have woods behind us. The property line is a little uneven, but splits the property in half for the most part. Unfortunately, part of the neighbors property is the edge of the start of our driveway. In our deed, when we bought the... Read more »

David Soble
David Soble answered on Apr 29, 2020

Is there a private road agreement between you? Usually when homeowners share a driveway there is a private road agreement. You may have pull a title abstract to verify this. This will determine the parties rights, BEFORE you have to go to court without any legal guidance.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: how do I dissolve a subdivision plat established in 1965?

I bought 37 acres - in March 2020 -made up of 4 parcels. 2 of them have home sites/ platted subdivision. I do not plan on developing the land. I want to dissolve the plat and have it combined as 1 37 acre parcel

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 9, 2020

The way you've worded this is a bit confusing to me. There is a FORMAL platted 'subdivision' of 37 acres with 4 lots? That doesn't sound right. It sounds more like it was simply a 'lot split'. If the later is the case, you can simply ask the municipality and taxing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: If a subdivision no longer exists, does a foot path easement that once crossed the lots exist?

A platted subdivison, in the form of a Summer Resort containing 10 lots, created a right-of-way "foot path" easement. The Summer Resort sold each lot and the Summer Resort no longer exists. Therefore, does the foot path still exist despite there not being a Summer Resort?

If the... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 8, 2020

Because all the lots have been sold doesn't mean the "Summer Resort" no longer exists. If there was an easement reserved the dominant tenant (people who have the right to use the easement) likely still has that right. No matter what other access may exist. However, there is no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: Can someone sue a neighbor for quiet title to clear cloud from his chain of title?

He has quit claim deed to his property and lives 4 properties down from me.I have a warranty deed,clear title and an easement splits my property.A private road easement is 3/4 mile long and splits numerous properties.My neighbor is sueing me for quiet title and prescriptive easement so his clouded... Read more »

David Soble
David Soble answered on Oct 27, 2019

Quieting a claim to title is a legal action and challenge that needs to be answered with solid supporting documentation. You should have a real estate attorney review your title work, deeds and related surveys. Your issue with your neighbor would need to be adjudicated by a court. The... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: I would like to know if I have a case due to the fact that our scrap yard was placed behind my house illegally?

It has been cited for numerous violations

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Sep 26, 2019

You would need to distinguish between impermissible land use (i.e. the scrap yard being located there against zoning rules) and operating illegally (i.e. being cited for violations). You as an adjacent landowner would likely not have a claim for illegally operating.

Think of it this way:...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: If a home is part of a HOA, is the owner legally responsible to disclose that to the new owner/protentional buyer?

I purchased my home back in March this year and I wish to put up an additional garage/pole barn (following all local permit rules). Some of the neighbors have mentioned that this cul-de-sac was a part of a HOA years ago. This was never disclosed to me and I was never given any information during... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 15, 2019

Because there was a HOA at one point does not mean there still is. Failure to disclose, failure to collect dues, failure to provide you notice etc all point toward it may not exist any more.

PLEASE take your paperwork to a local real estate attorney to review ASAP (as you should have done...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: The employer I work for is being forced to plant 1.4 million dollars in trees to hide our factory

They city is forcing them to use a certain a company and certain type of tree is this legal? They also do not want us to have two parking lots we employ 700 people this isn't enough space for parking in one lot

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 18, 2018

Without seeing the Zoning ordinance it is impossible to answer specifically. What city are you talking about? Are they forcing you to use a SPECIFIC company? That probably isn't kosher, but they CAN require specific certifications and yes, they can even require specific species of trees... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Holiday Camplands Association Inc. be included in this
David Soble
David Soble answered on Jun 4, 2018

Not clear on what your question is. Please restate.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Paperwork for home purchased 2009 showed 8 achers actually 5 went with the house. They want land back what should we do?

For almost 10 years we been paying taxes on additional 3 acres because the land survey done by seller to divide original acreage was not prepared correctly. Several documents are in conflict with others. Talked to my lender and they want another appraisal that could affect mortgage rates, home... Read more »

David Soble
David Soble answered on Apr 29, 2018

It is not that easy to unwind if you have a mortgage securing the additional acres. However, it can be done if the additional acreage did not add any significant value to the home. (Usually a home is appraised on the first 5 acres.) You should definitely have a competent real estate attorney (not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: If a home is rented, w/o a rental license, is the lease valid (Wayne County, MI). Is there punitive recourse?

If a home is rented on a boiler plate/printed off internet lease, and tenants have reported SERIOUS repairs and issues, through out 2 years of renting said home (flooding basement - floods 1/3 damages personal effects we cant use), Asbestos tiles popping up and breaking, mold, mildew, leaking... Read more »

David Soble
David Soble answered on Apr 19, 2018

If a municipality requires the licensing of rental properties, and the owner has not secured the license, then it is very likely that they could mark the property as 'not habitable" until the home has been inspected. Tenants should not be at the property however, some cities will work... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: We have a Judgement Landlord-Tenant Order. It was ordered (b) The Plaintiff can apply for an order evicting the

defendant if the defendant does not move out on or before 2/16/2016, does this mean we will be locked out on the 16th?

We're in Oakland county, MI.

Thank You.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 14, 2018

Not just locked out, but the sheriff can come and remove your belongings and put them out to the curb too. If you need extra time to move out properly, you need to contact the landlord.

DO NOT ignore this. It just gets more expensive if you do. Seek qualified local legal help (many areas...
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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Can a city/township declare unimproved platted roads private property and as such no trespassing?

I live in a village in Sanilac county and recently, in a stated effort to absolve the village of liability associated with a number of undeveloped roads, made a decision to declare the roads private property and no trespassing. My concern is that the proper course of action for the village should... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 10, 2018

This situation is FAR too 'fact specific' to provide a general answer here. You should consult with a local attorney who can look at the various village resolutions, the original land grant in the plat and other details and determine what can and cannot be done. If the land was platted as... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: I bought my house in 2015 and been living in it since 2011 where my Neigbor bought his house in 2011 from a bank.

He had survey on his house recently in 2017 and found out that are driveway,fence, cement and bushes in his land by 3 feet. We are not aware of that. My brother owned this home years ago and had worked on the outside and could have went into there land by fault where he has permit for all work he... Read more »

Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo answered on Jul 30, 2017

Did you wisely invest in getting a new survey when you bought your house? Because if you did, you would know precisely what YOUR property lines are, irrespective of what your neighbor so advocates.

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3 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: How do I acquire property where the owner is unknown and it has been vacant for at least 10 years or more?

I have been down to the registrar of deeds for my county and the search ended in a dead end. The assistant registrar told me start adverse possession process. He also told me that create or get a quick claim deed drawn up and have it recorded.

David Soble
David Soble answered on Jun 28, 2017

Please know that in Michigan an action for adverse possession requires 15 years.

To prevail there must be actual, visible, open, notorious, exclusive, hostile, continuous, and uninterrupted use of the property by the person filing for the right to possess the property. Just because the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Constitutional Law, Construction Law, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Can my township take my house if I don't replace my wooden siding with vinyl.
David Soble
David Soble answered on Apr 20, 2017

Generally, no, if the reason for their request is because of "blight."

However, if your current home is posing a danger to the public, then they can condemn the property. Hard to know how "siding" can pose a danger to the community.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: Can a local township ordinance disallow me from living in my building because it is zoned "industrial"?
Timothy V. Kassouni
Timothy V. Kassouni answered on Dec 20, 2012

If the industrial zoning designation was made after you were already living in the building, then you may a have a good argument that your right has been "grandfathered." Typically zoning designations cannot be applied retroactively.

For more information on zoning law visit...
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