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12/03/75 PEOPLE v. MCGREGOR (REDFORD TOWNSHIP V.

December 3, 1975

PEOPLE
v.
MCGREGOR (REDFORD TOWNSHIP V. MCGREGOR)



Appeal from Wayne, James Canham, J.

V. J. Brennan, P. J., and Bashara and R. M. Maher, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Nuisance -- Bees -- Judicial Question -- Judicial Notice -- Appeal and Error.

Neither the keeping, owning, nor raising of bees is in itself a nuisance and whether or not they are a nuisance is a question to be judicially determined in each case; therefore, it is error for a trial Judge to take judicial notice that the raising of bees with their propensities toward roaming and stinging is a nuisance.

2. Nuisance -- Public Nuisance -- Definition -- Common Rights -- Question of Fact.

A public nuisance is an act or omission which obstructs or causes inconvenience or damage to the public in the exercise of rights common to all, to be considered public rather than peculiar to one individual, or several, but it is not necessary that the entire community be affected so long as the nuisance will interfere with those who come into contact with it in the exercise of a public right; the activity must be harmful to the public health or prevent the public from the peaceful use of their land and public streets, and the question in each case is one of fact to be considered in light of the facts peculiar to that case.

3. Municipal Corporations -- Constitutional Law -- Ordinances -- Validity -- Presumptions -- Burden of Proof.

An ordinance is presumed to be constitutionally valid; the party claiming that an ordinance is unreasonable has the burden of proving that there is no real and substantial relationship between the exercise of the police powers and the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bashara

Hector McGregor was convicted in District Court of harboring bees which become a nuisance and of improper storage of vehicles in a residential rear yard contrary to the ordinances of the Township of Redford. Defendant appealed to the circuit court. Affirmed. Defendant appeals by leave granted.

The defendant, Hector McGregor, was convicted in the district court of the 17th Judicial District of harboring bees which become a nuisance *fn1 and of improper storage of vehicles in a residential rear yard. *fn2 Defendant appealed to the Wayne County Circuit Court which affirmed his conviction. We granted leave to appeal.

On September 8, 1970, an ordinance officer of Redford Township visited the home of the defendant. The inspector testified that in the yard of the premises he observed two trucks, three trailers, one small wrecker, one tractor, one licensed vehicle, various junk items, old lumber, bike wheels, bike innertubes, a truck camper body, old bed springs, tires, wheels, beehive equipment and two active beehives. Citations were issued to the defendant for permitting his bees to leave the premises *fn3 and for violating the rear yard storage of vehicles ordinance.

A neighbor of the defendant testified that sometime in late September of 1970, her daughter was stung by a bee while standing on the sidewalk in front of the defendant's home. There was no other testimony on whether the bee actually belonged to the defendant's hives. The neighbor further testified that her property was covered with either bees *fn4 or yellow jackets *fn5 in the spring. Toward the close of the neighbor's testimony the trial Judge ruled that the people failed to sustain their burden of proof relative to the date of the bee sting. Apparently, and it is not entirely clear from the record, the trial Judge did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to find that the defendant permitted his bees to leave the premises on the date the citation was issued for violation of the ordinance. The trial continued, however, on the issue of whether the bees had become a nuisance.

At the close of the people's case the defendant moved to dismiss the charge of harboring bees that become a nuisance on the ground that the people failed to establish a nuisance. The trial Judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of nuisance from the neighbor's testimony that a large number of bees covered her property in the springtime. The court also took judicial notice that unless bees are restricted they are a ...


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