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Inc. Boy Scouts of America v. Blue Lake Township - Assignment Example

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BOY Introduction The provided court decision concerns the interpretation of land use zoning bylaws and the method os amending them. The decision, if taken as a precedent for future trial decisions, means that courts will interpret provisions in favor of municipalities unless landowners can demonstrate that their rights have been clearly and severely violated…
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Inc. Boy Scouts of America v. Blue Lake Township
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Download file to see previous pages Planners, especially landowners and others working on their behalf should know about it because it means that they will have to prove an extreme violation of their rights in order to prevail in court. On the other hand, land use zoning regulations and amendments are made easier for municipalities by this decision because they will be supported by the courts as long as they are perceived to have been enacted for the overall public good in good faith and reasonable notice is given to those potentially affected by proposed changes, so that they could have any concerns they may have debated at appropriate public meetings. Boy Scouts Concerns The original zoning ordinance for the Boy Scouts property in 1981 classified it as Forestry-Recreation (FR). Among other uses, this permitted campgrounds and recreational trails consistent with typical Boy Scout activities. It also permitted single family dwellings, but only when used in conjunction with allowed activities. In 1996 the Township developed a master plan proposing to divide the FR classification into sub-classifications to accommodate both camps and residences, and in 2002 posted a notice of a meeting of the planning commission to receive comments those that could be affected by proposed changes. ...
Specifics of Court Decision Basically the appeal court upheld the trial courts’ decision, both with regard to substantive and procedural issues. The appeal court stated that a trial courts’ findings of fact may not be set aside unless clearly erroneous ( page 10). The court found that there was no basis for an erroneous finding on the part of the trial court. The Boy Scouts argued for summary judgment on the basis of “categorical taking” in that the rezoning deprived them of economic beneficial use of their land. While acknowledging that permitting general residential housing use could financially benefit the Boy Scouts, they upheld the trial court decision that to prevail , the Boy Scouts must demonstrate that the classification change must deprive them of ANY ability to earn an income from their land use. Also, since general residential housing was not permitted under their original zoning either, the classification amendment did not change or worsen the economic viability of the land. The legal principle of “categorical taking” is one basis for establishing an “inverse condemnation regulatory taking” claim which would allow the Boy Scouts to prevail. The other is the “balancing test” or in other words, whether the Township actions deliberately destroyed the economic viability of the Boy Scout property and were not outweighed by advancing the general public good. The appeal and trial courts found that obviously there was no physical taking of the Boy Scout property, and furthermore the rezoning did not in itself render their property economically unviable, since general residential use was not allowed under the original zoning and the Boy Scouts were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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