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any good Real Estate Lawyers here?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Just a brain teaser for you.


Property Owner has a pylon type sign that under new zoning ordinaces is non-conforming. They snuck in a use it or lose it clause. Property has been unoccupied (retail building) for longer than the 90 days. City is threatening to revoke a temporary use permit unless landlord agrees to tear down the pylon at the end of the temporary use. Had landlord not agreed to temporary use, the pylon could exist in a non-conforming status untill 2014 (per the ordinance) where in whcih the city would forecably remove the pylon at the owners cost.

My question is, what if any recourse does that PO have? Can grandfather status be revoked via ordinance? Are use it or lose it provisions legal?
post #2 of 9
I have no idea what they would do in Michigan but "use it or lose it" provisions are legal in PA. I would urge the property owner to seek a variance and make sure to grease the palms of those municipal officials involved in the decision making process.*





*Not really, I couldn't ethically urge the client to bribe somebody.
post #3 of 9
WTF is a pylon sign?
post #4 of 9
^ +1
post #5 of 9
Sorry, can't help, I'm only a mediocre real estate lawyer.
post #6 of 9
I'm not a real estate lawyer but have studied real estate law and work in the planning industry in Michigan. In my experience, the use-it-or-lose-it type clauses are legal in Michigan and will hold up in court. Also, the issuance of a temporary use permit that requires the removal of the sign at the end of the permitted period is entirely reasonable. As for the grandfather (or existing use) status being revoked by a new ordinance - that is also reasonable if the property owner is given sufficient time (basically just extending the existing use time frame). I think the municipality would run into some trouble if/when they pass a new ordinance that retroactively revokes the existing use status or tries to shorten the period (relative to the previous ordinance) of time that the property owner is allowed to maintain the property as an existing use.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
WTF is a pylon sign?

A free-standing sign that is not connected to the building structure. Like this:

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigan Planner View Post
I'm not a real estate lawyer but have studied real estate law and work in the planning industry in Michigan. In my experience, the use-it-or-lose-it type clauses are legal in Michigan and will hold up in court. Also, the issuance of a temporary use permit that requires the removal of the sign at the end of the permitted period is entirely reasonable. As for the grandfather (or existing use) status being revoked by a new ordinance - that is also reasonable if the property owner is given sufficient time (basically just extending the existing use time frame). I think the municipality would run into some trouble if/when they pass a new ordinance that retroactively revokes the existing use status or tries to shorten the period (relative to the previous ordinance) of time that the property owner is allowed to maintain the property as an existing use.

yeah, I have heard 50/50 on this, but it seems that it holds up in court if its enacted and enforced properly. I am going to reveal a bit more than I like online but one of your buddies probably did the ordinance, so I am guessing its legit. I am representing a tenant stuck in the middle of a pissing match between the city and the landlord and they are threatening to shut us down over it. PM me if you want details...
post #9 of 9
So is it true what they say? If you don't use it, you lose it.
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