Monday, November 25, 2013

Charter Township of Delta v. Dinolfo case brief

Charter Township of Delta v. Dinolfo case brief summary
351 N.W.2d 831 (Mich. 1984)

Plaintiff Charter Township of Delta (township) filed actions for injunctive relief against defendant homeowners. The Court of Appeals (Michigan) affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which granted summary judgment in favor of the township. The homeowners appealed.

The homeowners contended that the definition of "family" in Delta Township, Mich., Ordinance § 2.2.0(28) both prohibited and allowed property uses in an unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious manner in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States and Michigan Constitutions.


  • The court stated that to limit residentially zoned property to use by a traditional family and a number of unrelated persons was permissible under the United States Constitution. 
  • The court found that there had been no evidence presented that unrelated persons had any less a need for the advantages of residential living or that they had as a group behavior patterns that were more opprobrious than the population at large. 
  • The court held that in the absence of such demonstration to justify the classification, § 2.2.0(28) was arbitrary and capricious under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution. 
  • Thus, § 2.2.0(28) was capricious, arbitrary, and in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution in that it limited the composition of groups in a manner that was not rationally related to the stated goals of the zoning ordinance.

The court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals.

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