Land Division

Asked June 23, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT

Previous owners of 61 acre parcel allowed sibling (now deceased) to erect a cabin on 61 ac. parcel of land, near property line. New owners of 61 ac. now face situation (child of deceased father stating cabin belongs to him). So, to settle the problem w/o moving the cabin are looking at various possibilities to correct situation amicably. Facts: Presumed cabin owner is part owner of adjacent 60 + acres. Apparently the other owners don't want to be involved w/cabin issue. There are unrelated easements given by both parties through each others land. We are being told we must sell no less than 1 acre. Must new owners sell one acre when a 1/4 ac. parcel would suffice to correct?

Menominee County Michigan

1 Response

Greetings,

The 1 acre minimum might be the minimum parcel size allowed in the zoning district of the township’s (presumably) zoning ordinance (although, I see this question is from Menominee County and I know several townships are unzoned). If zoning is at play, the cabin will also have to satisfy setback standards from neighboring property lines, so perhaps that is another reason for the additional acreage. Keep in mind there may be other local or county regulations that necessitate the 1 acre minimum, such as the county health code requiring adequate space for a drain field.

Separate from zoning, a land division must be reviewed by the local land division review official (either the tax assessor of the zoning administrator) for the following:

  • Lot depth to width (cannot be greater than (narrower than) 4:1 for parcels less than 10 acres)
  • Accessible (public road, private road, easement)
  • Greater than or equal to minimum parcel size (if local zoning applies)
  • Greater than or equal to minimum parcel width (if local zoning applies)
  • Not land-locking a cemetery

Other than those requirements, there is nothing in the Land Division Act (PA 288 of 1967, as amended, being M.C.L. 560.102 et seq.) that establishes a minimum parcel size.

It is possible for the ¼ - 1 acre of land with the cabin to be combined with the adjacent 60+ acre parcel, which is essentially a property transfer between the two parcels that would result in a property line adjustment. This would need to be done in consultation with the local tax assessor and deeds would need to be rerecorded with the Register of Deeds.

If the idea is to create a new parcel for the ¼ - 1 acre of land with the cabin, depending on the location of the parcel relative to existing access roads or easements, the new parcel may need to be given its own access easement across one or both of the adjacent 60-61 acre parcels (to satisfy the requirement in the bulleted list above). If a new parcel is created, this is considered a ‘division’ and will count as one of the up to 9 divisions allowed for a ‘parent parcel’ of 60-69.99 acres. A parent parcel is the size of the parcel as it existed on March 31, 1997. If your 61 acres is a parent parcel, you are allowed up to 9 divisions, any of which can happen now, be transferred to one of the divisions, or be retained by you for the future.

If your 61 acres is not the parent parcel, it can only be divided 10 years after it was recorded at the Register of Deeds. This is probably too much detail and detail that should be discussed with the local land division review official (either the tax assessor of the zoning administrator).

If you’d like to share more details or discuss further, I can be reached at neuman36@msu.edu.