Friends of Novi Parks Seeks Injunction Against City of Novi, MI

Novi, MI., November 20, 2001

Lynda Racey 
Friends of Novi Parks
P.O. Box 123
Novi MI 48376-0123 
Phone: (248) 374-1888 
Fax: (248) 596-9146
Scott Howard
Olson & Bzdok, P.C.
420 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone: (231) 946-0044
Fax: (231) 946-4807

The Friends of Novi Parks requested an injunction today in Oakland County Circuit Court against the City of Novi. The injunction seeks to stop the illegal transfer of up to 95 acres of City parkland to Sandstone Associates. "The city is planning on giving away 25 percent of all the land in one of our most valuable public recreation areas." said LuAnne Kozma, a Novi Parks and Recreation Commissioner and member of the group. "The decision to give away a huge chunk of the city's green space is short sighted and will be felt for years to come."

North Novi Park consists of 440 acres of land near the intersection of 12 1/2 Mile and Dixon Roads. The proposed transfer would take away roughly 25% of the park, and over 10% of ALL the parkland owned by the city.

The City proposes to unlawfully give Sandstone Associates the parkland as part of a settlement to a lawsuit. "The city holds this parkland in trust for its residents," said Scott Howard, attorney for the group. "The failure of the city to ask permission from its residents through a vote before it gives the park away is prohibited by Michigan law. Unfortunately, the city is refusing to play by the rules."

The request for an injunction highlights numerous violations of law. By attempting to turn over City parkland to Sandstone Associates, the City of Novi is violating the Home Rule Cities Act. The Home Rules Cities Act prohibits cities from selling city-owned land that is designated as parkland on the City's Master Plan. The parkland to be lost through the settlement is clearly shown as a Community Park on the current City of Novi Master Plan. The parkland is also currently used for a number of recreational activities including bird watching, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing.

The request also points out that the City of Novi is violating the intent and purpose of the park bond proposal approved by Novi voters in 1993. The proceeds from the 1993 bond proposal were used to purchase most of the land to be transferred. The language of the 1993 park bond clearly limits the use of the property to recreational purposes. Allowing this land to be used for non-recreational purposes would violate the language of the bond and state law. Parts of the parkland to be given away were also purchased with federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which do not permit transferring property purchased for parks and recreational purposes to a private developer.

"Before the Novi City Council passed this resolution on October 15, we stated during public hearings and at council meetings that state law would be violated if city-owned parkland were given away" said Kozma. "The City Council deliberately chose to ignore state law and approved the settlement anyway. We have been forced to go to court because we have no other recourse."

The Friends of Novi Parks is represented in the suit by Scott Howard of Olson and Bzdok, P.C., and Lynda Racey, a local attorney and one of the members of the group. Olson and Bzdok is a Traverse City , MI law firm specializing in environmental and land use law.

The Friends of Novi Parks' purpose is to support the protection, acquisition, and development of parks and open spaces within the city of Novi. Membership is open to anyone interested in recreation and parks in Novi. For more information, you can visit their web site at The organization can also be contacted at Friends of Novi Parks, PO Box 123, Novi MI 48376-0123.

Parkland Advocacy Organization Formed in Novi

Highlights from the Friends of Novi Parks' Verified Complaint in Oakland County Circuit Court Filed November 20, 2001

Friends of Novi Parks Responses to City of Novi Statements

Court Rules North Novi Park Settlement is Illegal






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