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Woman loses suit against City rules governing lake frontage fences

Suzette Grucz wanted to fence in her lake front lot in New Baltimore.  Like so many other lake frontage owners, she wanted to "seal off" her little slice of heaven from the great unwashed.  She argued that she needed the fence for the safety of herself and her dog.  The City of New Baltimore has an ordinance prohibiting lakeside fences.  It argues the ordinance is reasonable and appropriate, both for esthetic reasons and for safety access to the lake.

When the City wouldn't grant Grucz a variance, she sued the City.  She argued the ordinance violated her civil rights and illegally invaded her interest as a property owner.  She also argued that the City's stated reasons for the ordinance were unreasonable.  The Court unanimously made short work of her arguments.  It noted that similar justifications for lakeside restrictions had been upheld and that legislative decisions of municipalities are presumptively valid:  the challenger must demonstrate that they are unreasonable or arbitrary and Grucz did not meet this challenge.

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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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