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English v. Augusta Township

Michigan Court of Appeals
514 N.W.2d 172 (1994)


Facts

English (plaintiff) owns a 49-acre parcel of land in Augusta Township (Township) (defendant). English’s property is zoned as agricultural/residential (AR). The Township zoned a 96-acre area as manufactured housing park (MHP). The Township supervisor owns 80 of the 96 acres currently zoned as MHP and never intends to develop it. The 96-acre MHP-zoned area is located away from water and sewer systems. A toxic-waste landfill is located adjacent to the 96-acre MHP-zoned area, and a federal prison is located three-quarters of a mile away from it. In 1989, English filed a petition with the Township to rezone English’s property to MHP. The Township denied English’s petition. English appealed to the trial court, seeking to compel the Township to rezone English’s property to MHP. At trial, a former Township official testified that the particular area already zoned as MHP was chosen because the Township board (Board) believed it would never be developed. Moreover, the former official testified that he was pressured by the Board to keep manufactured housing out of the Township, despite the fact that numerous developers had inquired about building manufactured homes there. English provided testimony that a nearby water line could accommodate a mobile home park at his location. The nearby sewer system could be easily adapted to handle the additional volume from a mobile home park as well. Local roads were sufficient to handle the proposed development. The trial court found that the Township had unconstitutionally excluded mobile-home parks. The trial court also found that English had demonstrated a demand for the proposed use, and that English’s parcel was suitable for it. Accordingly, the trial court ordered the Township to rezone English’s property from AR to MHP. The Township appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Shepherd, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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