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Does a Township Zoning Board of Appeals have to do more in its final decision than simply stating whether a request is granted or denied?

Generally, yes. Typically, a Township’s Zoning Ordinance will provide for a written standard that must be applied when considering a request for a variance. Note there are certain criteria for variances established in the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, even if specifics are not provided in the Township’s Zoning Ordinance. See MCL 125.3604. The Zoning Board of Appeals should grant or deny such request supported by its reason(s) for taking such action. The decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals should be supported by a review of the applicable criteria for granting or denying a variance and the information presented to it. While some zoning ordinances may be very specific as to the form of the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision, if silent on the issue, the Zoning Board of Appeals can memorialize its decision-making in a written decision that is adopted by the Board or it can articulate the specific reasons in its motion, which is then recorded in the minutes of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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