Amicus Brief

Northville Charter Twp et al v Northville Public Schools; Leonard Rezmierski, Superintendent; and Northville Public Schools Bd of Education

Case Year: 1998
Case Forum: Circuit Courts
Keywords: school siting, zoning, school board, Township Rural Zoning Act, City Village and Municipal Planning Act, County Rural Zoning Enabling Act
Amicus Counsel:

John. H. Bauckham | Bauckham, Sparks, Rolfe & Thomsen, P.C.

CoAmicus Parties:

Michigan Townships Association (MTA)


The zoning enabling acts are comprehensive, clear and
unambiguous in authorizing local government to regulate land development within their respective jurisdictions. There is no indication that the legislature intended to remove that authority with respect to the development and location of schools and school grounds. The 1990 amendment to the school code does not controvert this comprehensive zoning authority. No governmental interest will be served by eliminating this zoning authority. In fact, the local municipal government’s goals of protecting the health, safety and welfare of persons and property within the vicinity of schools and within the community should not be offensive or contrary to the goals of public education. Schools should have no better right to disrupt a neighborhood than any other private or public activity. If the zoning regulations are unreasonable, the boards of education have ample remedies through the courts in setting aside such unreasonable regulations.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

Defendants planned construction of a new high school in Northville Charter Township. The township, along with area residents, requested that defendants alter construction plans to accommodate their concerns regarding parking, buffering, setback, storm water control, and tree preservation issues. Defendants declined to adopt all the requested changes, taking the position that the Revised School Code exempted them from local zoning regulations. The township filed a circuit court complaint requesting declaratory and injunctive relief. Individual property owners intervened, filing their own complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiff and intervenors filed motions for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(9), seeking a declaratory ruling that defendants’ construction plans were subject to plaintiff ‘s local zoning regulations, including the site plan review process. The circuit court denied those motions, ruling that the Revised School Code exempted defendants from local zoning regulations. Intervenors appeal as of right from the circuit court’s decision.

Case Number: 1998-03-1
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