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County's zoning regulations governing wind energy systems supercede township's regulations

The court held that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the defendants-townships' ordinances substantively qualified as zoning regulations and regulated the same subject matter as the county's zoning ordinance. As the county adopted its ordinance under the MZEA and defendants did not adopt their ordinances under the act, the county's ordinance controlled and established the only standards for regulating the use of property for wind energy systems in the county. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling that the plaintiff was entitled to judgment in its favor in this declaratory judgment action requesting a declaration that defendants' ordinances, which imposed more restrictive requirements for wind energy systems than the county ordinance, were invalid and unenforceable. The court first rejected defendants' argument that plaintiff's claims were not ripe for review, concluding that plaintiff "sufficiently showed an actual controversy, and not merely a hypothetical injury, given that defendants were attempting to subject plaintiff to additional licensing requirements for a special land use for which the county had already issued a permit." Further, the court agreed with the trial court that "defendants' ordinances were in substance zoning regulations that conflicted with the county's ordinance and that because the county enacted its ordinance under the MZEA and defendants' ordinances were not enacted pursuant to that act, the county's ordinance was controlling." MCL 125.3210 "reflects a codification of the doctrine of 'field preemption.'" If defendants' ordinances qualified as zoning ordinances, then MCL 125.3210 established that the county's zoning ordinance "will be deemed controlling to the extent of any inconsistencies between defendants' ordinances and the county's ordinance." Defendants argued that their ordinances were valid because they addressed "activities" (related to producing wind energy) within their respective borders. However, it was clear "that the ordinances regulate the 'use' of land in defendants' townships and the construction of structures. The construction of an infrastructure of wind turbines as part of a wind energy system is not merely an activity on land, but rather relates to a permanent land use. MCL 125.3201 also supports the trial court's determination that defendants' ordinances should be treated as zoning regulations." While "MCL 41.181 clearly permits defendants to adopt laws for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare of their citizens, a zoning regulation must be enacted pursuant to the MZEA."

PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

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