Bookmark and Share
Denied Due Process
Mt. Pleasant, MI City Code Title XV:Land Usage

Chapter 154:Zoning Ordinances is designed to ensure the community is made aware when property development may not conform to published standards and requirements.

The ordinance and state statute specify the Planning Commission base site plan approval on plan conformance with published standards and requirements. The Zoning Board of Appeals is authorized to decide variance from published standards

The local ordinance provides hearing notice requirements consistent with this delegation of authority. The Planning Commission, authorized to approve site plans that conform to published standards, simply includes the site plan review hearing in its meeting agenda. The Zoning Board of Appeals, with authority to decide variance from published standards, must

  • Give at least ten days notice of the time and place in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the city.
  • Give at least five days notice delivered by mail or by hand to the applicant, the Building Official, and to all owners and occupants of property within 300 feet of the premises in question.

Caveat - City officials routinely disregard regulatory provisions

Denied Due Process documents one of the instances where city officials have failed to abide by regulations. The information request highlighted below originated with this May 2004 Planning Commission action.

When considering the Denied Due Process documentation keep in mind the local ordinance echoes statutory provisions

Mt. Pleasant City Code - Chapter 154:Zoning Ordinances


D) Decisions conditionally approving or rejecting the site plans shall be based upon standards and requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinances.

and, the state encourages compliance

Intentional breach of a positive statutory duty or the performance of a discretionary act with an improper motive are grounds for the common law charge of misconduct in office, a felony punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both in the discretion of the court.

The Denied Due Process material indicates city officials understand the ordinance precludes Planning Commission approval when a site plan specifies variance from standards contained in the ordinance; yet, the Planning Commission routinely approves site plans that specify variance from standards contained in the ordinance.

04.05.12 request latest as of 10.27.13

Initial Request 2004 - Provide City Code chapter and section reference authorizing Planning Commission approval of site plans that do not conform to standards and requirements contained in the zoning ordinances.

Responses -

From: William Johnson


Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 7:41 AM

Subject: Re: Planning Commission

Good morning Robert, thank you again for sending such great articles. I wish the city would use softer recycling paper so when I use it the bathroom it's not so rough! Nonetheless at least it gives us a laugh when going through the commission packets. I knew by sending you that last e-mail it would open up your true writing ability and there is no doubt it work. We pass around a Star Magazine or Inquirer around the commission chamber with your comments taped on the inside and just laugh up a storm.

Just like I said in the last e-mail, you could be such an asset to the city of Mt. Pleasant but due to your mental instability all you are is a joke at every meeting. Please keep up the great work as I know you will. Union Township could really use your expertise.

We sure sounded great on camera praising you didn't we!


(pounded on the wrong door didn't you? Freak  :))

From: Tim Wolff


Sent: Friday, March 7, 2008 2:48 PM

Subject: Re: Planning Commission Site Plan Approval

As was covered last night in the meeting via discussion with Commissioner Johnson. Once a property has obtained a variance from a section of the zoning code, whatever standard laid forth in the variance becomes the new zoning standard for that particular parcel (not the adopted text of the zoning code). Section of 154.162(C) of the codified ordinances of the City of Mount Pleasant states "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.” In no manner has this section been violated as the it refers to the map and text of the zoning code and not the application of the map or text to a specific parcel. The ZBA lacks the statutory authority to amend those sections by their independent action. To amend the zoning map or text, procedures set forth under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (Public Act 110 of 2006) must be followed.

Section 154.164 of the codified ordinances of the City of Mount Pleasant grants the ZBA the authority to grant variances. Specifically, 154.164(D) states "The Board of Appeals shall have the power to decide applications for variances from the provisions of this chapter..." This is a statutory requirment of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (MCL 125.3603).

To interpret section 154.162(C) in a manner different than explained above would result in these two sections of the zoning code being in conflict with one another. Since these sections were adopted together in 1984 via Ordinance 613, I think it is safe to reason that the intent of these two sections were not designed to be in conflict with one another.


Tim Wolff

Planning Commission Vice-Chairman

(§154.169(D) context: ZBA variance decisions do not affect the standards and requirements contained in the zoning ordinances  154.162(C). Variance decisions define the degree and manner in which a particular site may deviate from the standards and requirements contained in the zoning ordinances 154.164(D), they do not create or establish zoning standards. - bojoda)

From: William Johnson


Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:27 AM

Subject: Planning Commission

Robert, may I make a suggestion that when you e-mail us regarding concerns over our ordinance and how we interpret it that you write less like an educator or attorney and more like common folks, basically dumbing down your writing to us. We are obviously not as educated as you because none of us can understand what the hell you are talking about. Yes, we know you are not happy on the decisions we make and feel we are in error and most likely we are but we are going to continue to do what we do. Trying to read your e-mails is useless and I lose interest about the 2nd paragraph every time and talking with the rest of the commissioners we all feel the same way. Don't you ever question why we don't talk about your comments at our meetings? We don't understand or care about you anymore as you have no bearing on anything we do now. Here are a few helpful suggestions:

1. Go away. Meaning move out to a city or town that has an ordinance you like.

2. Change our ordinance. Try submitting a revision of our ordinance for consideration. Keep in mind how stupid we are so we can understand your cryptic writing.

3. Continue to waste your time sending e-mails to all of us that we don't even take the time to read anymore. Maybe a full time job might take your mind off it or a hobby like writing a book to yourself.

Just a few suggestions. If you'd like I'll ask the other commissioners on ways you can spend your extra time that actually could benefit our city.

Thanks for your time and Happy New Year!