Rule 7.122 Appeals From Zoning Ordinance Determinations

(A)   Scope.

(1)   This rule governs appeals to the circuit court from a determination under a zoning ordinance by any officer, agency, board, commission, or zoning board of appeals, and by any legislative body of a city, village, township, or county authorized to enact zoning ordinances.  Unless this rule provides otherwise, MCR 7.101 through MCR 7.115 apply.  This rule does not apply to legislative decisions of a city, village, township, or county, such as the adoption of or amendment to a zoning ordinance.

(2)   This rule does not restrict the right of a party to bring a complaint for relief relating to a determination under a zoning ordinance. A party may seek a stay of enforcement under MCR 7.123(E).

(3)   An appeal under this section is an appeal of right.

(B)   Time Requirements. An appeal under this rule must be filed within the time prescribed by the statute applicable to the appeal. If no time is specified in the applicable statute, the appeal must be filed within 30 days after the certification of the minutes of the board or commission from which the appeal is taken or within 30 days after the board or commission issued its decision in writing, whichever deadline comes first.

(C)   Manner of Filing.

(1)   Claim of Appeal – Form. The claim of appeal shall conform to the requirements of MCR 7.104(C)(1), except that:

(a)   the party aggrieved by the determination shall be designated the appellant; and

(b)   the city, village, township, or county under whose ordinance the determination was made shall be designated the “appellee,” except that when a city, village, township, county, or an officer or entity authorized to appeal on its behalf, appeals a determination as an aggrieved party, then the appellee(s) shall be designated as the board, commission, or other entity that made the determination and the party that prevailed before the board, commission, or other entity that made the determination.

(2)   Claim of Appeal – Content. The claim of appeal must:

(a)   state “[Name of appellant] claims an appeal from the decision on [date] by [name of the officer or entity]”; and

(b)   include concise statements of the following:

(i)   the nature of the determination by the officer or entity;

(ii)   the statute authorizing the officer or entity’s proceedings and determination;

(iii)   the statute or constitutional provision under which the appeal is taken;

(iv)   the facts on which venue is based;

(v)   the grounds on which relief is sought, stated in as many separate paragraphs as there are separate grounds alleged; and

(vi)   the relief sought.

(3)   Signature. The claim of appeal must be signed as stated in MCR 7.104(C)(3).

(4)   Other Documents. The appellant must attach to the claim of appeal a copy of the order and/or minutes of the officer or entity from which the appeal is taken or must indicate that there is no such document to attach.

(5)   Service. Upon filing the claim of appeal, the appellant, shall serve a copy of the claim of appeal and all attachments upon the clerk of the city, village, township, or county as well as the board, commission, or other entity that made a determination that is the subject of the appeal. Service shall be in the manner provided in MCR 2.107, and appellant shall promptly file a proof of service with the court.

(D)   Bond. An appellant shall not be required to post a bond unless so ordered by the court.

(E)   Record on Appeal; Transmittal of the Record.

(1)   The record includes the original or a copy certified by the city, village, township, or county clerk of the application, all documents and material submitted by any person or entity with respect to the application, the minutes of all proceedings, and any determination of the officer or entity.

(2)   Within 28 days after service of the claim of appeal, the clerk of the city, village, township, or county from which the appeal is taken must file the record with the court.

(3)   If the record is not available within 28 days after service of the claim of appeal, the clerk of the city, village, township, or county from which the appeal is taken shall notify the court of the estimated date of transmittal of the record.

(4)   If the clerk of the city, village, township, or county postpones transmittal of the record or transmittal is otherwise delayed, the court may on motion or its own initiative exercise superintending control over the clerk to prevent delay.

(5)   The clerk of the city, village, township, or county from which the appeal is taken must notify the appellant and appellee of the transmittal of the record to the court.

(6)   Motions regarding the contents of the record or to prepare a transcript of proceedings before the officer or entity must be filed within 21 days after transmission of the record to the court.

(F)   Briefs. Unless otherwise ordered, the parties must file briefs complying with MCR 7.111.

(G)   Decision.

(1)   Appeals Under MCL 125.3606.   

(a)   In an appeal from a city, village, township, or county board of zoning appeals, the court shall apply the standard of review under MCL 125.3606(1).

(b)   If the court finds the record inadequate to review the decision or finds that additional material evidence exists that with good reason was not presented, the court shall order further zoning board of appeals proceedings on conditions that the court considers proper. The zoning board of appeals may modify the findings and decision as a result of the new proceedings or may affirm the original decision. The supplementary record and decision shall be filed with the court.

(c)   The court may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the board of appeals.

(2)   Other Appeals. In an appeal from a final determination under a zoning ordinance where no right of appeal to a zoning board of appeals exists, the court shall determine whether the decision was authorized by law and the findings were supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record.

(H)   Notice of Decision. The court shall serve the parties with a copy of its order resolving the appeal.