Land Use

Land UseWhat Does a Land Use Attorney Do?

A Michigan land use attorney possesses the experience and knowledge of intricate zoning and land use laws and regulations. Land use attorneys can advise cities, townships, builders, developers, or property owners that hold ownership — or are seeking ownership — of land that is currently, or will be, impacted by the regulations outlined in the Michigan Land Division Act or local zoning ordinances

When contemplating whether the acquisition of a parcel of land will prove beneficial to a property owner or real estate developer, it is advisable to seek the advice of a land use attorney. The land use attorneys at Hirzel Law can provide counsel in complex real estate development and land use matters.

What You Need to Know About the Michigan Land Division Act

The Michigan Land Division Act 288 of 1967 affects many Michigan property owners and real estate developers. The Michigan Land Division Act states its purpose as follows:

“AN ACT to regulate the division of land; to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare; to further the orderly layout and use of land;. . . to provide for the approvals to be obtained prior to the recording and filing of plats and other land divisions;. . . to establish the procedure for vacating, correcting, and revising plats;. . . to provide for reserving easements for utilities in vacated streets and alleys; to provide for the filing of amended plats; to provide for the making of assessors plats; to provide penalties for the violation of the provisions of this act; to repeal certain parts of this act on specific dates; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.”

It is imperative that Michigan landowners, planners, and real estate developers are educated on the regulations stated within the Land Division to avoid project delays and even legal action. It is especially important that city zoning officials, planners, and developers looking to modify the permissions of the land use comply with the provisions of the act, as there are specific requirements directly affecting the subdivision of land and surveying of plats.  A land use attorney can assist cities, townships, builders, developers, or property owners with navigating the Michigan Land Division Act.


What Are Common Issues That Arise Under the Michigan Land Division Act?

When Michigan real estate planners and developers are beginning a project that will require a land split subdivision, a common beginning phase of the project includes parcel divisions. The division of parcels of land into multiple plats can oftentimes prove to be a complex process —especially if the land use plans are affiliated with a parent parcel — and that parent parcel contains roads, alleys, or highways which may be affected by the land use plan. Subdivision projects built on parent parcels are subject to certain limitations and requirements. The Michigan Land Division, MCL 560.256 et seq.  states that,

“. . . when the governing body of a municipality by resolution or ordinance opens or vacates a street or alley or a portion of a street or alley, or extends, widens, or changes the name of an existing street or alley, the clerk of the municipality within 30 days shall record a certified copy with the register of deeds, giving the name of the plat or plats affected, and shall send a copy to the director of the department of energy, labor, and economic growth. Until recorded, the ordinance or resolution shall not have force or effect.”

Regarding a discontinuance of a street, alley, or other public land affected by the subdivision land use, MCL 560.257, et seq. continues,

“. . . when the governing body of a municipality determines that it is necessary for the health, welfare, comfort, and safety of the people of the municipality to discontinue an existing street, alley, or other public land shown on a plat, by resolution or ordinance, the governing body may reserve an easement in the street, alley, or land for public utility purposes and other public purposes within the right of way of the street, alley, or other public land vacated.”

“Splitting Real Estate Under the Michigan Land Division Act” elaborates on division and subdivision requirements under the Michigan Land Division Act. Properly abiding by the complex and sometimes ambiguous land use laws outlined by the Michigan Land Division act may serve as a challenge to owners, planners, and developers. When the land use plans for a project may interfere with Michigan zoning ordinances and regulations under the Land Division act, consulting with a Hirzel Law qualified Michigan land use attorney may expedite the process. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act contains its own regulations, however, the Hirzel Law zoning page outlines how a zoning lawyer can help in these instances. A land use attorney may be able to help with the process of acquiring an exempt split or municipal approval to make a division. 

What is a Planned Unit Development Agreement?

Another benefit of consulting a Michigan land use attorney is their ability to coordinate a planned unit development agreement between a municipality and real estate developer. A Planned Unit Development Agreement, often referred to as a PUD Agreement or PDA Agreement, generally contains the following important terms:

    • A description of the land subject to the Planned Development Agreement
    • Municipal requirements of Land Use
    • Restrictive Covenants
    • Terms of development and construction of the project
    • Events of default and remedies

A Hirzel Law land use attorney can review a Planned Unit Development Agreement that provides peace of mind to both parties involved in the agreement, ensuring that there is a fair protection of rights and accountability of obligations from both parties while abiding by the requirements that are enforceable by city zoning ordinances.

Contact a Hirzel Law Land Use Lawyer Today

Land use restrictions can be difficult to understand but having an experienced land use lawyer can help. At Hirzel Law, PLC, our Michigan land use lawyers can help you with any disputes that may arise. We stand by our clients, offering the highest quality legal representation and promptly responding to our clients’ needs. Contact Hirzel Law online or 248-986-2290 (Farmington) or 231-486-5600 (Traverse City) or 616-319-4527 (Grand Rapids) to see how our Michigan land use attorneys can help with land use issues regarding your property.

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