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The township has an individual that serves on the Planning Commission and on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Can the individual vote on both boards on the same issue?

January 2019

The Township has an individual that serves on the Planning Commission and on the Zoning Board of Appeals. When a project comes before both, can the individual vote on both boards on the same issue or should they recuse themselves for one or the other? Is it a conflict of interest?

The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (MCL 125.3101 et seq.) clearly instructs that when a member of the Township’s Planning Commission also sits on the Township’s Zoning Board of Appeals that person “shall not participate in a public hearing on or vote on the same matter that the member voted on as a member of . . . the planning commission.” MCL 125.3601(13). Therefore, no, that person cannot vote on issues as a member of the planning commission and as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The statute does provide, however, that “the member may consider and vote on other unrelated matters involving the same property.” Id.

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