Yesterday’s 5-2 decision by the Michigan Supreme Court rewrites what it means to be an aggrieved party and be granted standing to appeal zoning decisions.

“The Coastal Alliance has helped change the law regarding zoning appeals,” said Bobbie Gaunt, board chair of the Coastal Alliance. “This ruling is about clarifying citizen participation and good governance. The Coastal Alliance could not be more pleased with this decision!”

The Court decision establishes three criteria an appealing party must meet to be granted standing. The Court has remanded the Coastal Alliance appeal back to Allegan County Circuit Court.

The Coastal Alliance appeal centers on Section 40-910(h) in Saugatuck Township’s Code of Ordinances. “The ordinance is crystal clear,” said David Swan, president of the Alliance. “Section 40-910(h) states, ‘In No Event shall a canal or channel be excavated for the purpose of increasing the water frontage.’ NorthShore of Saugatuck’s proposal would nearly triple their already substantial 1,200 feet of frontage, by adding an additional 3,200’. This is exactly the kind of proposal the zoning ordinance aims to prohibit.”