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01/07/76 COURTLAND TOWNSHIP v. COLE

January 7, 1976

COURTLAND TOWNSHIP
v.
COLE



Appeal from Kent, John H. Vander Wal, J.

Leave to appeal applied for.

N. J. Kaufman, P. J., and R. B. Burns and G. R. Deneweth,* JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Zoning -- Mobile Homes -- Trailer Coaches -- Detachment of Wheels -- Ordinances.

Present mobility is not necessary for a structure or vehicle to be within an ordinance's definition of "trailer coach"; therefore, a mobile home that no longer has wheels attached and has been placed upon a foundation may still be considered a trailer coach for purposes of a township zoning ordinance.

2. Zoning -- Constitutionality of Ordinance -- Burden of Proof -- Reasonableness.

A defendant attacking the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance limiting the placement of trailers to designated trailer parks must bear the burden of proof of his charge; it is up to him to present sufficient proofs to the court showing that the township by its action violated one of his constitutional rights and thus acted unreasonably.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deneweth

Complaint by Courtland Township against William A. Cole, Sr., and Sparta State Bank, to enjoin the use of a mobile home on a tract of land in the plaintiff township. Judgment for defendants. Plaintiff appeals.

Plaintiff sought to enjoin defendant Cole's use of a mobile home on a tract of land he owns in plaintiff township. The Kent County Circuit Court, after issuing a temporary injunction, held a non-jury trial on September 6, 1974, to determine if defendant's mobile home violated the township zoning ordinance. Finding no violation of either the zoning ordinance or the township building ordinance, the circuit court denied the relief sought and dissolved the temporary injunction. Plaintiff appeals as of right. Defendant Sparta State Bank, holder of a security interest in the mobile home, has shown no interest in this controversy.

Defendant Cole sought and received a building permit in March of 1974 to construct a 60 X 28-foot house. The basement defendant constructed, however, was approximately 50 feet X 12 feet. Defendant removed the axles and undercarriage of a mobile home and placed it on the basement. At trial he stated his intention to add another room to the structure.

Plaintiff claims that the township zoning ordinance prohibits this type of dwelling on defendant's land, which is zoned agricultural and residential (A-R-1). The ordinance only allows a "trailer coach" in designated trailer coach parks, which must be located in areas zoned commercial (C-1). Thus, plaintiff contends, defendant is prohibited from placing a mobile home as a dwelling on his property.

The trial court thought that the provisions dealing with trailer coaches were inapplicable. It considered defendant's dwelling a "detached one-family dwelling", an authorized use in A-R-1 zones.

The trial court ruled that defendant's mobile home, placed upon a basement foundation with its wheels removed, was no longer a "trailer coach". Support for this ruling was drawn from an opinion of the Attorney General that stated that "a mobile home without a fixed undercarriage, not being licensable under the Michigan vehicle code [MCLA 257.1; MSA 9.1801], is not entitled to treatment as a trailer ...


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