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Michigan family sues over land use issues

The family who owns Bro G Land Co. in Michigan has filed a controversial lawsuit concerning property rights. The land use lawsuit claims that the White River Township deprived the family of proper enjoyment of their property. Last spring, the family's request to develop 2.2 acres of shoreline was blocked by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

After purchasing a property in 2002, the family had wished to build a 1,200-foot access road that crossed the White River Township Barrier Dune Sanctuary. The road would be used to reach the property that is currently not accessible by car. The family also sought the rights to place utilities across the land preserve in order to service a large house they planned to build.

According to the family's lawsuit, the state's decision to deny their development request was mostly based on opposition from the White River Township. The family claims that an easement they own should allow them to build a driveway so that they can have access to their property by car. Township officials opposed to the family's plans have claimed that the easement they own only permits them to construct a footpath. Environmentalists and local residents have also spoken out against the development plans.

Because there are so many variables involved, real estate litigation can be incredibly complicated. A lawyer may be able to help those property owners who wish to develop an easement. A lawyer who is well versed in property rights and zoning laws may be able to assist them in petitioning the state for the right to build. If their bid is turned down, a lawyer may also be able to help file a lawsuit to seek damages for property made unmarketable.

Source: MLive, "Question of the Day: Should state's refusal of dune road across White River Township sanctuary stand?", John S. Hausman, October 15, 2013

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