Common lot line adjustment vrs Michigan Land Division Act

Asked September 18, 2017, 5:48 PM EDT

We own two lots with contiguous border. One lot has our residence, the other is vacant. Each has their own parcel#. The driveway approach for the improved parcel is on the vacant lot, the driveway then meanders over to the residence parcel and ends on both. We would like to adjust the common border and move some footage at the road from vacant parcel to residence parcel to correct this encroachment thereby eliminating the need for a mutual drive agreement. Problem: Both lots have larger depth to width ratios and surveyor indicates this could be a township issue due to the Michigan Land division Act. Note: Both are lakefront with 100ft of water frontage and are approximately 650ft deep and 68ft at the road. Both have meets and bounds descriptions and would not result in a division. Both would remain larger than one acre. Also, these larger than 4:1 ratio lots are very common on this Lake in Antrim County. Since this isn't a "division" and already is grandfathered, and very common, I don't understand why this is an issue. According to the Act, this lot adjustment does not meet the original intent of the ratio guideline. Your analysis and suggestions would be appreciated! Thank You!

Antrim County Michigan

1 Response

Greetings,

Your ability to so might depend on your township zoning ordinance and/or land division ordinance. A local ordinance can prescribe a lot depth to width ratio that differs from the 4:1 required in the Land Division Act (see Sec. 109(1)(b)). Also, the local ordinance(s) will define what the parcel width is – i.e. how and where parcel width is measured within the parcel. For instance, parcel width might be defined in the ordinance as the width of the parcel at the property setback line (vs a measurement at the lot line).

I do agree that the boundary line adjustment described in Sec. 102 of the LDA may not work in this situation. That section of the LDA reads “…Division does not include a property transfer between 2 or more adjacent parcels, if the property taken from 1 parcel is added to an adjacent parcel…” Again, this might depend on how key terms are defined in the local ordinance(s).

An alternative avenue might be to convey an easement from the one property where the drive is to the other property where your house sits. The easement would be recorded with the deed of the other property (where the drive is located) and would run with the land if sold to another party, thereby retaining your access to your home indefinitely.

Another option might be to seek a variance from the parcel width standard if that standard is contained in the zoning ordinance. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act allows property owners to seek a variance from standards in a local ordinance if they can show a practical difficulty (see Proving a practical difficulty for a dimensional variance request).

You are encouraged to talk to the township zoning administrator about your desired plans in order to explore the nuances of the local ordinance.