Circuit Court LC Nos. 2014-141058-CE, 2014-141059-CE
Before: Fort Hood, P.J., and Gleicher and O'Brien, JJ.
Petty and Hoskins families each own property in Lyon
Township, which they use as their primary residences and the
sites of their family-owned business operations. Their
commercial uses have violated the township's zoning
ordinance since they opened shop. As the residential
neighborhood developed around them, these uses became
problematic and the township enforced its ordinance by
ordering a stop to the business activities. The circuit
court, faced with competing summary disposition motions,
upheld the township's zoning authority. We affirm.
Petty and Hoskins families each own acreage on Belladonna
Road in Lyon Township. The land has been zoned R-1.0
Residential Agricultural since 1957. The Hoskins family
purchased their five-acre lot in 1969. The land was vacant
and they quickly constructed a single-family residence. In
1970, the Hoskins family erected a 30 foot by 50 foot pole
barn valued at $3, 300. Their building permit application
indicated: "Building to be used for storage." In
2012 and 2013, the Hoskins family built additions to the pole
barn, each valued at $3, 500. The Hoskins family asserts that
they have always used the pole barn to store equipment and
material for their landscaping business: Hoskins Landscaping,
formerly known as Paul Hoskins Landscaping.
Petty family bought a 13-acre lot neighboring the Hoskins
family in 1977. The previous owners ran Nunday Trenching and
Power Washing Company from the property and stored trucks and
commercial equipment on site. The Petty family currently
operates a truck storage facility on the land-Petty
Trucking-and also stores materials such as brick pavers. They
have conducted other commercial enterprises in the past.
Although James Petty contends that his family has made
"significant investments" and "improvements to
the business, " he provided no further detail in
connection with this lawsuit.
undisputed that the Hoskins and Petty families operated their
businesses without township interference for several decades
despite that their uses were never permitted under their
zoning classification. Defendants claim that township
officials have visited their property several times over the
years and never raised any concerns. Moreover, each presented
commercial personal property tax bills connected with their
Belladonna addresses. In the early days, other property
owners on Belladonna Road put their land to similar uses. It
is also undisputed, however, that the neighborhood's
character has changed over time. Satellite images reveal that
a large residential subdivision now runs along the
properties' western borders. On Belladonna Road, simple
farm houses have given way to modern homes of vast square
footage on large lots. It appears that Hoskins Landscaping
and Petty Trucking are the last local vestiges of the rural
began complaining about noise and early morning activity at
the landscaping and truck storage businesses. On October 14,
2013, the township sent identical "township zoning
ordinance warning[s]" to Marlene Hoskins and James
Petty. The township advised defendants that their business
uses were not permitted in a residential zoning district and
defendants had been in violation of the ordinance since the
inception of their commercial enterprises. The notices
continued, "Although portions of your business
activities have existed for years, the Township would like to
meet with you to discuss options available to bring your
property into compliance with the zoning ordinance."
Ultimately, the township sought judicial intervention to
force the Hoskins and Petty families to cease their business
operations in their current locations. Defendants filed a
joint motion for summary disposition contemporaneous with
their answers and the township responded with a summary
disposition motion of its own. The circuit court agreed with
the township's position and ordered the Petties' and
Hoskinses' compliance with the zoning restrictions on
their land. The Petties and Hoskinses now appeal.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review de novo a circuit court's grant of summary
disposition. Zaher v Miotke, 300 Mich.App. 132, 139;
832 N.W.2d 266 (2013).
A motion under MCR 2.116(C)(10) "tests the factual
support of a plaintiff's claim." Walsh v
Taylor, 263 Mich.App. 618, 621; 689 N.W.2d 506 (2004).
"Summary disposition is appropriate . . . if there is no
genuine issue regarding any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
West v Gen Motors Corp, 469 Mich. 177, 183; 665
N.W.2d 468 (2003). "In reviewing a motion under MCR
2.116(C)(10), this Court considers the pleadings, admissions,
affidavits, and other relevant documentary evidence of record
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party to
determine whether any genuine issue of material fact exists
to warrant a trial." Walsh, 263 Mich.App. at
621. "A genuine issue of material fact exists when the
record, giving the benefit of reasonable doubt to the
opposing party, leaves open an issue upon which reasonable
minds might differ." West, 469 Mich. at 183.
[Zaher, 300 Mich.App. at 139-140.]
review de novo the applicability and merit of the equitable
defenses raised by the Hoskins and Petty families. See
Mason v City of Menominee, 28 ...