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Miller Canfield and McKenna Associates Announce Contract Zoning Seminar

April 26, 2005

The law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. and community planners, McKenna Associates, Inc. are teaming up to present, “The New Contract Zoning Legislation in Michigan: Is Your Community Ready?” on Wednesday, May 25, 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. at Walsh College, Novi Campus. The seminar is open to local elected and appointed planning and zoning officials as well as private developers, property managers and surveyors interested in understanding the amended laws and how they will impact development.

The update will address the three contract zoning public acts that took effect in Michigan on January 4, 2005. The amendments permit counties, cities, villages, and townships to approve rezoning subject to voluntary conditions offered by a landowner. The three acts amended the state laws which permit city, village, township, and county governments to zone in their communities.

Community planners who understand the changed laws recognize the dangers of conditional or contract zoning where a municipality might be tempted to compromise its master planning and zoning standards in response to landowners’ proposed concessions.

“This latest legislation is changing the face of zoning as we have known it. Over-riding the community plan is now easier than before. Communities need to be alert and may need to establish procedures and amendments to maintain the integrity of districts by amending the ordinance and plan to ensure a reasonable approach to conditions,” said McKenna president, Phillip C. McKenna, AICP, PCP. “As professional planners, it is up to us to keep the public good and environmental and design principles in front of planning commissions and elected officials.”

“The new contract law was the legislators’ idea of a quick fix, the implementation of which may cause more problems than the intended fix,” said William Beach, senior attorney at Miller Canfield. “Proceed with caution.”

Scheduled to present from Miller Canfield are attorneys William B. Beach, senior attorney and Joseph F. Galvin, principal. Presenting on behalf of McKenna Associates is Phillip McKenna, along with senior vice president Christopher J. Doozan, AICP, PCP.

The May 25th event begins with registration and a full breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. and presentations following at 8:15 a.m. The cost to attend is $49. RSVP to 313-496-7548 or by May 20th.

About Miller Canfield
The 340-attorney law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. was established in Detroit in 1852 and has 15 offices including eight in Michigan. Its Public Law Group ranked first among Michigan bond counsel firms in the 2004 Bond Counsel Rankings compiled by Thomson Financial, completing 184 long term new Michigan bond issues totaling over $2.7 billion. For more information, visit

About McKenna Associates, Inc.

McKenna Associates has become the Midwest’s leading community planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm through its 27-year track record of innovative solutions for local elected and appointed officials in community planning and design, zoning, and economic development. McKenna serves municipalities in seven Midwest states from its headquarters located northwest of Detroit in downtown Northville and its additional offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Hudson, Ohio; and Lebanon, Ohio. For more information, visit