Many times a zoning body (Planning Commission, Township Board, etc) is reluctant to rezone a property without a specific use.  Once a parcel is rezoned, ANY USE PERMITTED in the “new” or rezoned district is fair game.  For example, rezoning a parcel from Agricultural to Commercial sounds simple when the petitioner is talking in general terms about his “hopes” for his new buildings or land use.  It may turn out that the Commercial District permits liquor stores in that district but the parcel in question is located near a residential area where such use might be frowned on.  Yet, a developer can talk about his “plans” and when the rezone comes about, the use may end up very different from those plans.

It is not lawful for a zoning body to restrict permitted uses in the District.  Thus, without full knowledge of the use, traffic generated, etc. the zoning body finds it safer not to make a change.

If you know what you WILL do with the property, there is a way to put those fears aside for the zoning body.  The MI Zoning Enabling Act permits Conditional Zoning.  The conditions have to be offered by the developer, i.e., “if you rezone this parcel commercial, I will use it for X purposes only and any change in use would have to be approved by you.  I offer this as a condition to my rezoning”.

That gives the zoning body comfort for two reasons: 1) they know what will happen; 2) Conditional Zoning is enforceable by the Courts.  You have made a CONTRACT with the municipality and they have given you consideration. A Court WILL REQUIRE YOU TO ABIDE BY THE CONTRACT.  But that assurance can put your rezone request over the top.

Need help with your rezoning or zoning issues?  Call us.