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Municipal Law News

March 28, 2022

In this issue:



   Voting Election Signs   

Can We Ban That Sign?

Cody A. Mott and Laura J. Genovich

Revisiting Reed v Town of Gilbert & Its Impact on Local Sign Regulations.

As the weather warms up, so does campaign season. This year, Michigan will hold elections for every U.S. House Seat, statewide seats such as Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, state house and state senate seats, and numerous local elections. Already political signs are popping up across the state.

Typically, the location, duration, and characteristics of such signs are regulated by local ordinances. Before taking enforcement action against a nonconforming sign, it may be worth revisiting the constitutionality of each regulation...

Read More



   Contract and Laptop   

Ten Tips for Writing Clear Contracts

Laura J. Genovich

This article was originally written for the Contract Nerds Blog

Contracts are meant to be read – and that means they must be readable. Parties who understand their contracts are more likely to comply with them, and clearly written contracts are less likely to be challenged in court. Clients, judges, and even other lawyers prefer reading documents drafted in plain language.

Here are 10 tips for writing clear contracts...

Read More




Join Us at the 2022 MTA Conference

April 25-28, 2022

For more than 20 years, Foster Swift attorneys have presented at the annual Michigan Township Association (MTA) Educational Conference & Expo which focuses on providing a hands-on, practical approach to solving some of Michigan townships' pressing issues. 

This year’s conference takes place April 25-28 at the Lansing Center located at 333 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48933. More information and registration can be found at

In addition to our speakers, don't forget to check out our Business Solutions Session (BSS) on Wednesday, April 27 from 12:00-1:00 PM where a panel of Foster Swift attorneys will be available to discuss and answer questions on a number of timely, hot topics Michigan townships are facing in 2022. The attorneys' practical perspective will include discussions including but not limited to marijuana businesses, wind and solar energy, and zoning & land use. More information on BSS registration to come.

Have a topic you want addressed? Email it to by April 8, 2022 and at least two of the most frequently emailed topics will be addressed at this session.

See our tentative sessions below for the 2022 MTA Conference. Be sure to catch any of the following sessions featuring a Foster Swift attorney...




Small Box Discount Retailers & Big Dollar Zoning Issues

April 26, 2022

Mike Homier is presenting Small Box Discount Retailers & Big Dollar Zoning Issues on Tuesday, April 26 at the Lansing Center from 10:15-11:30 am.

Small box discount retailers—aka “dollar stores”—are significantly impacting local economies, particularly small businesses and local grocers. Get an overview of the economic impact, industry expansion strategies, how this industry growth limits access to healthy food options for low-income families by edging out grocers and what municipalities in other parts of the country are doing. Then we’ll focus on zoning options townships can adopt to address discount retailer growth, as well as the related opportunities, risks and complications such zoning changes may bring about.

   Mike Homier

Michael D. Homier

Homier Email  Homier Phone




Best Practices for Complying with ADA and Fair Housing Act

April 26, 2022

Leslie A. Abdoo and Kaitlyn E. Manley are presenting Best Practices for Townships for Complying with ADA & Fair Housing Act on Tuesday, April 26 at the Lansing Center from 1:00-2:15 pm.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibit townships from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability and making zoning decisions that fail to reasonably accommodate persons with a disability.

However, the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act and local ordinances traditionally do not provide standards or procedures for considering and granting such zoning accommodations. Review requirements and best practices for compliance under the ADA and FHA to properly address requests for zoning accommodations.




Is a Social District Right for Your Township?

April 27, 2022

Sarah Gabis is presenting Is a Social District Right for Your Township? on Wednesday, April 27 at the Lansing Center from 10:15-11:30 am.

Social districts allow municipalities to designate a common area where alcohol purchased by a social district licensee may be consumed off-premises, within designated areas.

Establishing these districts requires many considerations, such as the area(s) designated, adoption of application, maintenance and management plans, traffic control, and public safety and enforcement. Learn more about establishing a social district, including what’s not covered by statute but must be considered to manage and maintain a beneficial, but safe, social district in your township.


Sarah J. Gabis

Gabis Email  Gabis Phone




What to Do with a Marijuana Initiative Referendum

April 27, 2022

Laura Genovich is presenting What to Do with a Marijuana Initiative Referendum on Wednesday, April 27 at the Lansing Center from 3:15-4:30 pm.

Your township has made a local decision to prohibit or restrict adult-use/recreational marijuana businesses—but now you’ve received a petition to place a referendum on the ballot at the next election, with a proposal to allow marijuana businesses or impose fewer restrictions.

What happens next? What if the ballot measure passes? And what can the township say about the ballot measure without violating the Campaign Finance Act? Explore this new legal territory and these difficult (but important!) questions.

   Laura Genovich

Laura J. Genovich

Genovich Email  Genovich Phone







Grand Rapids






St Joseph


Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC E-Newsletters are intended for general information for our clients and friends. This newsletter highlights specific areas of law and is not legal advice. The reader should consult an attorney to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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