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County of Wayne v. Hathcock

Michigan Supreme Court
 684 N.W.2d 765 (2004)


In order to renovate its airport, Wayne County (plaintiff) received and used federal grant money to purchase properties in the airport’s vicinity through voluntary sales. A condition of the federal grant money was that properties acquired with the funds had to be put to commercial use. Hence the county came up with a development plan to build a corporate mall, hotel, conference center, and recreational facilities on those lands. The plan was expected to create 30,000 jobs and generate $350 million in tax revenue from a broader tax base of industrial, service, and technology sectors. After purchasing about 1000 acres, the county began condemnation proceedings to purchase 19 additional lots so that it would have contiguous property for development. Hathcock and the other holdover owners (defendants), contested the proposed condemnations as not being for a “public purpose” as mandated by the state constitution. The trial court found that the proposed development constituted a public purpose. The court of appeals affirmed, and the Supreme Court granted Hathcock’s appeal from the appellate court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Young, J.)

Concurrence (Weaver, J.)

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