"Taking" case against Township after flooding is dismissed
The Court of Appeals recently reversed the Ottawa County trial court and dismissed all counts of a lawsuit against Robinson Township arising out of several homeowners' claim that Township officials unfairly applied flood rules to "take" their property. After two incidents of flooding caused by the nearby Grand River, Township officials concluded that the cost of repairing the Plaintiffs' flood-damaged homes would exceed fifty percent of the homes' value. As a result, certain statutory and regulatory requirements became applicable, resulting in enhanced building code and occupancy expenses. The plaintiffs alleged the resulting repairs and improvements were unnecessary and unreasonable, and that imposing these requirements constituted gross negligence or fraud or one of several alternative forms of wrong-doing.
The Court of Appeals' panel unanimously rejected the plaintiffs' claims, finding that there was no evidence to support a claim that the Township's decision-making process was so arbitrary or capricious as to "shock the conscience." The Court also dismissed the Plaintiffs' argument that an unconstitutional "temporary taking" had occurred during the period while the Township attempted to analyze and fulfill its duties under state and federal flood plain and building code laws.