|Case Forum:||Michigan Supreme Court|
|Keywords:||property dedication, rights of way, right of way, ROW, public benefit|
Gerald A. Fisher | Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex and Morley |30903 Northwestern Highway | Farmington Hills, MI 48333
The context and essence of this case involves an interpretation of the law governing the dedication of property intended to benefit the public. The cardinal rule for the interpretation of this law is to discern and give effect to the intent of the legislature, and to give effect to the purpose sought to be achieved. Given that the fundamental intent and purpose of the law is to make provision for a benefit to the public, Appellants’ position contradicts the cardinal rule of statutory construction. Appellants characterize the notion of a dedication more in terms of a fleeting offer which, if not accepted within some arbitrary period of time, defaults into the hands of private owners, thereafter forever barring any resulting public benefit. If Appellants’ theory is accepted the fundamental intent and purpose of the legislature, and the fundamental intent of the plat proprietor in making the dedication to the public, will all be totally contradicted. In this case, a right-of-way, intended to be dedicated for public benefit and use, would be forfeited to the exclusive private benefit and use of Plaintiffs, notwithstanding that the overwhelming evidence shows a formal acceptance of the dedication in 1959, and continuous actions of adjoining property owners with such acceptance.
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
In 1959, the Plat of Central Park was first made a part of the City by way of annexation. The trial court found that two resolutions were adopted in conjunction with such annexation: (1) a resolution by the City, by which it “accepts jurisdiction over all former County roads and streets within the City of Holland”; and (2) a resolution by the Road Commission, by which it relinquished jurisdiction to the City of Holland, specifically listing the right-of-way at issue. The trial court also found that the legal effect of these 1959 resolutions amounted to a formal acceptance of the dedication, and that, prior to the 1959 acceptance of dedication, there had been “no use inconsistent with Beach Drive West,” the right-of-way at issue in this case.