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In order to challenge zoning referendums, a person must be a citizen of the county where the vote is up for referendum

Holding that the plaintiff-LLC lacked statutory standing to challenge the results of the zoning referendum election under MCL 600.4545 because it was not a citizen of the county, the court reversed the trial court's order denying the intervening defendants' summary disposition motion and remanded for entry of an order granting their motion. The underlying dispute concerned the zoning of property in Washtenaw County. Plaintiff previously owned it, but transferred it to another LLC (a non-party, SSO) in 2009. Plaintiff is the sole manager of SSO, but they are separate and distinct LLCs. The property was zoned Agricultural/Residential, but the defendant-Salem Township's Board of Trustees approved plaintiff's application to rezone it to General Commercial. One of the intervening defendants successfully petitioned to have the zoning amendments submitted to the electorate for approval, and the voters reversed the township board's zoning decision. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, including a quo warranto action challenging the election results under MCL 600.4545. The intervening defendants moved for summary disposition, arguing that plaintiff lacked statutory standing to bring an action under MCL 600.4545. The trial court concluded that plaintiff had standing. The court disagreed. To "file suit under MCL 600.4545, plaintiff must qualify as a 'citizen of the county,' and the issue" became whether it was a citizen of Washtenaw County. The court consulted a dictionary to determine the plain meaning of the phrase and concluded that, "to be a 'citizen of the county' it would appear that, at a minimum, the person would need to inhabit or reside in the specific county in question." Plaintiff clearly "did not in any way inhabit Washtenaw County as required to be considered a 'citizen of the county.'" Its registered office was in Oakland County, other documents listed its address as in Wayne County, and there was no indication that it owned property in Washtenaw County or had a place of business there. Even if SSO's "mere ownership of the property establishes citizenship" for SSO "in Washtenaw County, neither plaintiff's former ownership of the property nor its management of" SSO conferred this citizenship on plaintiff. Further, it could not amend its pleadings to add SSO as a plaintiff because the time limit for bringing the action has expired and the relation-back doctrine does not apply to the addition of new parties.

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