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159874 - Susan Reaume v Township of Spring Lake


Susan Reaume,


Gaetan Gerville-Reache





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Ottawa – Vanallsburg, J.)


Township of Spring Lake,


Amanda Zdarsky





Plaintiff used her single-family dwelling in Spring Lake Township, in a district zoned R-1 Low Density Residential, as a short-term rental property.  The township board subsequently adopted Ordinance 255, which sets forth a registration and licensing procedure for short-term rentals, provides certain limitations for short-term rental activity, and prohibits short-term rentals in districts zoned R-1.  The township board also adopted Ordinance 257, which amended the township’s existing zoning ordinance and imported into the zoning ordinance several of the terms defined in Ordinance 255, such as “Limited Short-Term Rental” and “Short-Term Rental.”  The township board denied plaintiff’s request for a short-term rental license and denied her appeal, concluding that her use of the home as a short-term rental property was prohibited by Ordinance 255 and that her past use of the property as a short-term rental was not a “grandfathered use” because it was never a lawful use in the R-1 zoning district.  The Ottawa Circuit Court affirmed the denial, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court in a published opinion.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address (1) whether the Court of Appeals improperly relied on the character of the relationship that defines the term “family” in the zoning ordinance in order to conclude that the permitted use of a “Dwelling, Single Family” in the R-1 district does not include short-term rentals; and (2) whether, aside from the definition of “family,” the appellant met her burden of proof to establish that her actual use of 18190 Lovell Road as a short-term rental complied with the permitted use of the property as a “Dwelling, Single Family” before the township adopted Ordinance 255 and Ordinance 257.​