|Case Forum:||Michigan Court of Appeals|
|Keywords:||PA 425, 425 agreement, annexation, State Boundary Commission (SBC)|
Jeffrey V.H. Sluggett (P39440) | Crystal L. Morgan (P68837) |
The law is clear—the SBC has jurisdiction to determine the validity of an Act 425 Agreement. Appellants’ argument that a bulk of the Casco decision is “irrelevant obiter dictum” is wholly without merit, and does not merit a different result in this case. Appellants’ disagreement with the decision in Casco or its impact on the outcome of this case does not merit further review by this Court, as Appellants have not shown that the decision was wrongly decided, or provided any basis on which to revisit the decision. Under the Townships’ position they would be free to block an annexation through execution of a “facially valid” Act 425 agreement, free from any scrutiny by the SBC. Their argument clearly and improperly seeks to elevate form over substance, injecting further conflict into the annexation process. Again, Casco disposes of the Townships’ argument. The Casco Court plainly rejected the notion that any document purporting to be an Act 425 agreement absolutely bars action by SBC without regard to the substance of the agreement. Appellants urge a different result in this case, but present no law in support of their position. Nor do Appellants address how weakening the SBC or usurping its statutory powers will help property owners achieve their goals of developing land in a cost-effective and timely manner. Casco does not prohibit townships from barring annexation of township land by providing for real economic development alternatives through legitimate Act 425 agreements. It does, however, recognize the Legislature’s decision to vest the SBC with the authority to determine the legitimacy of such agreements and, hence, whether it is barred from acting upon otherwise legally valid annexation petitions.
Michigan Court of Appeals:
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
Property owner TeriDee wished to develop its property for commercial purposes and, consistent with its development goals, sought to annex its property into the City of Cadillac because the City offered services that were desirable for the development. The Appellant Townships purported to enter into an Act 425 agreement concerning the subject property prior to the filing of the annexation petition, and argued that the Act 425 agreement divested the SBC of jurisdiction to consider the annexation petition. Following a public hearing and a review of the evidence presented by all interested parties, the SBC determined that the Act 425 agreement did not meet the statutory requirements of Act 425 and, therefore, did not preclude the SBC from acting upon the annexation petition. The SBC ultimately granted the petition for annexation, and the Townships appealed. On appeal, the circuit court affirmed the SBC’s decision. The Appellant Townships have sought leave to appeal in this Court and, for the reasons set forth below and in the City of Cadillac’s brief, the application does not raise any issues meriting review by this Court and should be denied in its entirety.