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04/05/76 MAINSTER v. WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP

April 5, 1976

MAINSTER
v.
WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP



Appeal from Oakland, Robert L. Templin, J.

D. E. Holbrook, Jr., P. J., and McGregor and N. J. Kaufman, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Judgment -- Summary Judgment -- No Genuine Issue -- Affidavits -- Pleading -- Depositions -- Admissions -- Documentary Evidence.

A motion for summary judgment on the basis that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, made before trial has commenced, is not to be granted unless it can be said, giving the benefit of every reasonable doubt to the party opposing the motion, that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and in determining whether such an issue does indeed exist, a court is required to consider all affidavits filed in the action together with the pleadings, depositions, admissions and documentary evidence then filed in the action or submitted by the parties (GCR 1963, 117.2[3], 117.3).

2. Judgment -- Summary Judgment -- No Genuine Issue -- Zoning Resolution -- Documentary Evidence.

A plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment based upon there being no genuine issue as to any material fact because of the alleged failure of a defendant township's board to file a zoning resolution as required by statute was properly denied by the trial court where the plaintiffs failed to present any documentary evidence that the defendant failed to file the required resolution; a statement by plaintiffs' counsel that he had made an examination of the township records and had not found any evidence of such a resolution, together with defendant's answer to plaintiffs' interrogatories stating that it had insufficient knowledge as to noncompliance with the statute was an insufficient basis for the trial court to rule that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact.

3. Municipal Corporations -- Ordinances -- Legislative Enactment -- Presumption of Validity -- Burden of Proof -- Preponderance of Evidence.

There is a presumption in favor of the validity of a legislative enactment and anyone who claims an ordinance to be invalid has the burden of proving the invalidity by a preponderance of the evidence; where the only additional evidence presented at trial was the testimony of a planning consultant that he did not recall whether a defendant township had filed a required resolution, it has not been established by a preponderance of the evidence that the ordinance was not duly enacted.

4. Zoning -- Ordinances -- Municipal Corporations -- Governmental Land Use -- Proprietary Function -- Exemptions -- Immunity.

There are two recognized rules which are relevant to the effect of zoning ordinances on governmental land use, the first is that all governmental agencies are entitled to immunity from zoning regulations where the use of the property in question is in furtherance of a governmental, rather than proprietary function, the second is that governmental projects are not subject to zoning regulations if they are expressly exempted by the terms of the ordinance; under either rule a governmental unit is able to validly subject property to a use which would not be permitted by the zoning ordinance if it were instead undertaken by a private party.

5. Zoning -- Ordinances -- Municipal Corporations -- Equal Protection -- Governmental Land Use -- Private Land Use -- Test of Reasonableness.

A zoning classification, as a general rule, must be shown to be unreasonable before it is held to deny equal protection of the law and the test of reasonableness is satisfied and any discrimination will not be set aside if any set of facts reasonably may be conceived to justify it; therefore, a defendant governmental unit's zoning ordinances do not deny equal protection to a group of plaintiffs where the land-use needs of the governmental unit provide a reasonable basis for allowing governmental uses, but not similar private uses, in residentially zoned areas.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcgregor

Complaint by Harris W. Mainster, William B. Buber, Maryann Buber, John L. Gunn and Doris S. Gunn against the Township of West Bloomfield challenging the validity of the defendant's zoning ordinances as they were applied to the plaintiffs' property by ...


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