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Subverting State and Local Statutes
"It is corrupt for an officer purposely to violate the duties of his office.”
Mount Pleasant, Michigan City Code
Unless otherwise provided herein, or by law or implication required, the same rules of construction, definition, and application shall govern the interpretation of this code as those governing the interpretation of state law.
General rule. Words and phrases shall be taken in their plain, or ordinary and usual sense. However, technical words and phrases having a peculiar and appropriate meaning in law shall be understood according to their technical import.
Definitions. For the purpose of this code, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
MAY. The act referred to is permissive.
SHALL. The act referred to is mandatory.
§154.002 PURPOSE.
This chapter is designed to regulate the location of land uses and the location of buildings designed for specific uses, to regulate and limit the height and bulk of buildings hereafter erected or altered, to regulate and determine the minimum area of yards, courts and other open spaces surrounding buildings, to regulate and limit the density of population, to provide for safe and convenient access, to lessen congestion in the streets, to provide and regulate off-street parking for vehicles, to secure safety from fire and other hazards, to regulate the erection and maintenance of signs, to conserve the value of property, to encourage the appropriate use of land, and to provide for orderly growth and development, and in order to promote these purposes, this chapter divides the city into zoning districts. This chapter further provides for penalties for violation of its provisions, for enforcement of its provisions, and a method for being amended.
The Building Official shall be appointed by the City Manager. It shall be the duty of the Building Official to enforce this chapter and the requirements of the Planning Commission authorized by this chapter and the provisions of any approved plan or site plan.
A building permit or certificate of occupancy shall be issued by the Building Official when the plans, specifications and intended use conform to the provisions of this chapter and to the approved site plan. All reports, recommendations and reviews prescribed by this chapter or by other public officials and agencies must also have been received and complied with. A permit or certificate shall not be issued for any illegal use or occupancy.
Further, the Board may interpret the zoning map and text. The Zoning Board shall not have the power to alter or change the zone district classification of a property, nor make any changes in the terms of this chapter.
§154.164 VARIANCES.
A variance in the provision of this chapter shall be authorized only if the Board finds from reasonable evidence that such variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property or the surrounding neighborhood and will not impair the intent and purpose of this chapter. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall state the grounds of any determination made by the Board which shall be included in the minutes.
A variance shall not be granted where the condition for which the variance is sought is so general or recurrent as to make reasonably practical the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situation as part of this chapter.
To obtain a non-use or dimensional variance, the applicant must show practical difficulty by demonstrating that all of the following conditions exist:
That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to other properties or classes or uses in the same zoning district; exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions normally include:
Exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape of a specific property on the effective date of this chapter;
Exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary situation on the land, building or structure; or
Use or development of the property immediately adjoining the property in question.
That such a variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity.
That the variance request is not one where the specific conditions pertaining to the property are so general or recurrent in nature as to make the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions reasonably practicable.
That the authorizing of such variance will not be a substantial detriment to adjacent property.
That authorizing of the variance will not materially impair the purposes of this chapter or the public interest.
That the need for the variance is not created by any action of the applicant or previous owner.
Decisions conditionally approving or rejecting the site plans shall be based upon standards and requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinances.
A land use designated as a 'special use' in a particular zoning district is one that, because of its inherent nature, extent, or external effects, generally is not permitted in the district but could be if subject to standards and restrictions to ensure the use is located, designed, and operated in a manner harmonious with neighboring development and does not adversely affect the public health, safety, and general welfare. The Special Use Permit shall be granted if the Planning Commission finds that the proposed use conforms, or can be altered to conform, to all of the criteria for approval for Special Use Permits [see §§ 154.171 (A) and (C)].
Criteria for special use permits. The Zoning Ordinance imposes the following general requirements on the use requested by the applicant. Under each requirement, the applicant should explain, in writing with supporting evidence, how the proposed use satisfies the requirements. For those requirements where there is potential for negative or adverse effects, applicant will propose measures to mitigate such effects.
The special use shall be one listed as a permitted special use for the zoning district in which the property is located and the special use shall be consistent with the intent and purpose of this chapter and the objectives of the currently adopted Master Plan.
The special use shall be designed, constructed and maintained in a manner which reflects or enhances the character of the surrounding neighborhood within 300 feet measured lot line to lot line. The special use shall be operated in a manner compatible with surrounding land uses within 300 feet. Compatibility includes, but is not limited to, hours of operation and environmental effects (e.g. noise, light, traffic, intensity of use, density).
Applicant shall demonstrate how the exterior structure is compatible with the surrounding area (defined as adjacent and/or abutting properties including those properties separated by streets alleys or other rights-of-way) and how the use is compatible with surrounding land uses.
The special use shall not interfere with the general enjoyment of the surrounding area (defined as adjacent and/or abutting properties including those properties separated by streets alleys or other rights-of-way).
The applicant shall indicate how the special use will not have an adverse impact on the surrounding neighborhood within 300 feet in regards to traffic, noise, architectural compatibility, hours of operation, light, odors, etc.
The special use shall not be hazardous to the adjacent property, or involve uses, activities, materials or equipment which will be detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of persons or property through the excessive production of traffic, noise, smoke, odor, fumes or glare.
The special use shall be adequately served by the existing capacity of essential public facilities and services, or it shall be demonstrated that the person responsible for the proposed special use shall be able to continually provide adequately for the services and facilities deemed essential to the special use under consideration.
The Building Official and Code Enforcement Officers may issue appearance tickets in accordance with M.C.L.A. § 764.9c, as amended, or take any appropriate legal action to prevent any erection, construction, alteration, repair, maintenance or use of any building or premises constituting a violation of the provisions of this chapter; to restrain, correct, or abate such violation; to prevent any unlawful act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises.
125.3501 Submission and approval of site plan; procedures and requirements.
A decision rejecting, approving, or conditionally approving a site plan shall be based upon requirements and standards contained in the zoning ordinance, other statutorily authorized and properly adopted local unit of government planning documents, other applicable ordinances, and state and federal statutes.
125.3504 Special land uses; regulations and standards; compliance; conditions; record of conditions.
The standards shall be consistent with and promote the intent and purpose of the zoning ordinance and shall insure that the land use or activity authorized shall be compatible with adjacent uses of land, the natural environment, and the capacities of public services and facilities affected by the land use. The standards shall also insure that the land use or activity is consistent with the public health, safety, and welfare of the local unit of government.
125.3604 Zoning board of appeals; procedures.
If there are practical difficulties for nonuse variances as provided in subsection (8) or unnecessary hardship for use variances as provided in subsection (9) in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the zoning ordinance, the zoning board of appeals may grant a variance in accordance with this section, so that the spirit of the zoning ordinance is observed, public safety secured, and substantial justice done. The ordinance shall establish procedures for the review and standards for approval of all types of variances. The zoning board of appeals may impose conditions as otherwise allowed under this act.

State of Michigan Office of Attorney General Opinion No. 6423

Malfeasance by a public officer is conduct that is wholly wrong and beyond the authority of the public official.
Misfeasance by a public officer is the performance of a lawful function of the office in an improper manner.
Nonfeasance by a public officer is the failure to perform a duty of the office

State of Michigan Court Of Appeals People v Hardrick for publication August 26, 2003

Perkins & Boyce, Criminal Law (3d ed), p 543 (“Misconduct in office is corrupt behavior by an officer in the exercise of the duties of his office or while acting under color of his office.”)

People v Carlin (On Remand), 239 Mich App 49, 64; 607 NW2d 733 (1999), this Court stated that . . . the elements of the common-law offense of misconduct in office are (1) the person must be a public officer, (2) the conduct must be in the exercise of the duties of the office or done under the color of the office, (3) the acts were malfeasance or misfeasance, and (4) the acts must be corrupt behavior. Perkins & Boyce, Criminal Law (3d ed), pp 540-545.

People v Coutu (On Remand), 235 Mich App 695, 706-707; 599 NW2d 556 (1999), quoting Perkins & Boyce, supra, at 543, this Court explained: The crimes for which defendants were charged require a showing of corrupt intent. Perkins & Boyce, supra at 541-542. “Corruption” in this context means a “sense of depravity, perversion or taint.” Id. at 542. “Depravity” is defined as “the state of being depraved” and “depraved” is defined as “morally corrupt or perverted.” Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1997). “Perversion” is “the act of perverting,” and the term “perverted” includes in its definition “misguided; distorted; misinterpreted” and “turned from what is considered right or true.” Id. The definition of “taint” includes “a trace of something bad or offensive.” Id. Pursuant to the definitions, a corrupt intent can be shown where there is intentional or purposeful misbehavior or wrongful conduct pertaining to the requirements and duties of office by an officer. See also Perkins & Boyce, supra at 542 (“It is corrupt for an officer purposely to violate the duties of his office.”). The corrupt intent needed to prove misconduct of office does not necessarily require an intent for one to profit for oneself. Thomas, supra at 461, n 6. [Emphasis supplied.]

Excerpts April 2009: MI OAG, MI COA, Mt. Pleasant City Code, MI Statutes