Glimpses from the Great Lakes Builders Show & HBAM Winter Board Meeting

• Stopping personal injury attorneys from making you pay their fees when they sue you or making you pay for the cost of soliciting clients for a class action suit.

• Prohibiting local governments from “extracting” money for offsite improvements and making you agree to the extractions in court just so you can get your permits and approvals.

• Assuring you can’t be charged special assessments for infrastructure improvements only to have local governments cancel the improvements while keeping your money.

• Stopping the MDEQ from requiring municipalities to assume future liability for all private wastewater treatment systems within their jurisdiction which meant no private systems would ever receive approval.

• Stopping drain commissioners from expanding their authority to expend funds for environmental matters. This was the first step to drain commissioners banning development along selected “environmentally sensitive” creeks, streams and rivers.

• Assuring that “additions” which allow local governments to increase the taxable value on a piece of property cannot include public services such as water service, sewer service, primary access roads, natural gas service, electrical service, telephone services, sidewalks or street lighting. This decision provided substantial property tax relief to builders who are in the process of developing subdivisions, site condominiums, or other developments that require the construction of sewer, water, streets and other infrastructure that will be dedicated to the public.

• Assuring a municipality could not charge unlimited fees and costs in conducting a site plan review and related activities, or could only charge reasonable fees and costs.

• Determining that a builder could lawfully shift responsibility for transfer taxes from itself to a purchaser.

• Preserving the rights of a property owner to directly challenge the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance as applied to the property owner’s property without taking an appeal to the zoning board of appeals. l