Local Governments Have A Lot Of Leeway Under Michigan Zoning Laws

Zoning ordinances are very impactful things. When a local government has a zoning ordinance in place, it can control a wide range of different things regarding what can and cannot be done on the different pieces of property in the jurisdiction the ordinance covers and the processes for dealing with property use matters. Thus, a myriad of different legal issues can arise for commercial property owners regarding staying in compliance with applicable zoning ordinances and with addressing zoning matters that arise in connection to their property.

Zoning-related issues can be very impactful on commercial property owners. Such issues can also be remarkably complex. Thus, when dealing with such matters, it can be important for a commercial property owner to have a skilled commercial real estate attorney's guidance.

One of the things that can make zoning issues so complex is how much zoning ordinances can differ from one community to the next. Now, Michigan law does specify certain things that a local government has to include within a zoning ordinance if it decides to have such an ordinance. However, for a wide range of the different zoning techniques, processes and measures Michigan law authorizes local governments to use in their zoning ordinances, Michigan law gives local governments the option of whether or not to include them. Some examples of things that it is optional, not mandatory, for local governments in Michigan to have in their zoning ordinances are conditional rezoning, possible special use permits and certain enforcement mechanisms.

This leeway that Michigan law gives local governments allows local governments to have a lot of flexibility to adjust their zoning ordinances to local circumstances. However, the great degree of variability in zoning ordinances this leeway allows can also pose challenges for commercial property owners, particularly those who have properties in multiple communities. Given that zoning ordinances can vary from community to community, each community can raise its own very unique set of zoning issues for commercial property owners.

Attorneys can help commercial property owners understand what sorts of zoning issues they might face in relation to their property given the specifics of the zoning ordinance of the community the property is in.

Source: Michigan State University Extension, "All zoning does not have to include everything in the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act," Kurt H. Schindler, August 19, 2015

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