Amicus Brief

Papadelis v City of Troy

Case Year: 2007
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: Michigan Right to Farm Act, zoning, zoning ordinance, State Construction Code, permit, generally accepted agricultural and management practices (GAAMPS)
Amicus Counsel:

Eric D. Williams (P33359) | 524 N State Street | Big Rapids MI 49307 |


The Supreme Court should grant the City of Troy’s Application for Leave to Appeal and reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals, holding that conformity by a farm operation with an applicable GAAMP must be established and analyzed to
determine the existence of an actual conflict between a local ordinance and the GAAMP in order for the protective shield of MCL 286.473(1) to be invoked against a nuisance abatement claim. The Construction Code Act is not a local ordinance in conflict with the RTFA, even though, the permit requirement “is often enforced through local government.” Local enforcement of the statute and building code does not convert the statute into a local ordinance in conflict with the RTFA. The RTFA does not amend, supersede, or repeal the Construction Code
Act, and the text of the RTFA does not support disregarding the requirement that a structure must be incidental to the agricultural purposes of the land on which the building is located to be exempt from needing a building permit. The fact that a farm operation described in the RTFA “must be at least partially commercial in nature for the RTFA to apply does not militate in favor of exempting all structures from building permit requirements where some type of activity related to agriculture occurs in the building.


Michigan Supreme Court order:
The application for leave to appeal the September 19, 2006 judgment of the Court of Appeals and the application for leave to appeal as cross-appellants are considered and, pursuant to MCR 7.302(G)(1), in lieu of granting leave to appeal, we REVERSE in part the judgments of the Oakland Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals to the extent that they hold that the Right to Farm Act, MCL 286.471 et seq. (RTFA), and the State Construction Code, MCL 125.1502a(f), exempt the plaintiffs from the defendant city’s ordinances governing the permitting, size, height, bulk, floor area, construction, and location of structures used in the plaintiffs’ greenhouse operations. Assuming that the plaintiffs’ acquisition of additional land entitled them under the city’s zoning ordinance to make agricultural use of the north parcel (a point on which we express no opinion, in light of the defendant city’s failure to exhaust all available avenues of appeal from that ruling after the remand to the Oakland Circuit Court in the prior action, see City of Troy v Papadelis (On Remand), 226 Mich App 90 (1997)), the plaintiffs’ structures remain subject to applicable building permit, size, height, bulk, floor area, construction, and location requirements under the defendant city’s ordinances. The plaintiffs’ greenhouses and pole barn are not “incidental to the use for agricultural purposes of the land” on which they are located within the meaning of MCL 125.1502a(f). As no provisions of the RTFA or any published generally accepted agricultural and management practice address the permitting, size, height, bulk, floor area, construction, and location of buildings used for greenhouse or related agricultural purposes, no conflict exists between the RTFA and the defendant city’s ordinances regulating such matters that would preclude their enforcement under the facts of this case. We REMAND this case to the Oakland Circuit Court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this order. In all other respects, the applications are DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the remaining questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2006-11
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