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Gary David Strauss
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Court Finds Lack Of Necessity For Village's Condemnation For Free Parking Lot

Village of Oxford v Nathan Grove Family, LLC , 270 Mich App 685, 717 NW2d 400 (2006)

In Nathan Grove , the property owners operated a parking lot on their property. Oxford sought to condemn their property to provide a free parking lot. The Court noted that the parties seemed to agree that parking generally is necessary in any downtown area and reasoned that if the owners did not intend to operate a parking lot, it could be argued that the taking was necessary. However, the evidence demonstrated that the owners intended to maintain the property for use as a parking lot. The dispute centered on whether taking the property to provide free parking was “necessary.”

In affirming the trial court's finding that the taking was not necessary, the Court agreed that Oxford's determination that paid parking was detrimental to the public was based on pure speculation. With regard to Oxford's contention that it was taking the property to avoid a “choke-point” with regard to traffic flow, the Court commented that no study or other objective evidence showed that citizens would drive around neighborhoods or crowd into other areas of the village to avoid paid parking, or would cease patronizing businesses in the area altogether if parking were not free.

An application for leave to appeal was filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in April of 2006. The matter is pending.

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