blog, articles & publications

Michigan Fireworks Safety Act

Slowly, the questions raised by the adoption of the new Michigan Fireworks Safety Act (Act No. 256 of the Public Acts of 2011; the “Act”) are beginning to get answered. On June 12, Michigan’s Attorney General issued an opinion concluding that the Act does not preempt a generally applicable local ordinance where both the Act and the ordinance can be enforced. Thus, zoning and general police power ordinances not specifically addressed to the use or specifications of fireworks may well survive a legal challenge.  Read More

Special Assessment Districts For Lakes
 Made Easy

Assisting Townships with the Process
Setting up a special assessment district for a lake to fund efforts to control invasive and nuisance aquatic weeds is often a relatively easy solution to a complex problem.  Special assessment districts for aquatic weed control purposes have been in widespread use by many townships throughout Michigan for decades.  The Michigan Townships Association (“MTA”) often recommends such districts.  At the current time, it is likely that dozens (if not over 100) Michigan townships have such lake special assessment districts in place.  Read More

In Memoriam: Richard L. Root

We note with sadness the passing of former Mayor Richard L. Root of Kentwood. Mayor Root was a true friend and dedicated public servant. He represented Kentwood on a regional and state-wide level and, in doing so, brought great honor to the City. He was good man and will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to his family.  Read More

Michigan Municipal Law: Our Contribution

Congratulations to Jeff Sluggett and Crystal Morgan on the recent publication of Michigan Municipal Law. The handbook for public sector attorneys is published by The State of Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education. It is the first treatise of its kind published in Michigan in a number of years.  Read More

In Memoriam: Walter B. Freihofer

Recently, the Grand Rapids legal community lost a giant with the death of attorney Walter B. Freihofer. Walter passed away at age 89 on May 26, 2012. Our condolences go out to Walter’s wife, Sue, and the Freihofer extended family.  Read More

Cemetery Maintenance: More than Mowing the Lawn

Virtually every township in Michigan has at least one township owned cemetery. Some township officials, however, may not have a full grasp of the importance of this township service and the value and comfort that it can offer to the community. Few township topics engender such great public emotion as township cemeteries, and safeguarding this important component of a township's history remains a critical tether to residents' connection to their township.  Read More

Congratulations are in Order

We're proud to announce that BSM's Crystal Morgan was invited to become a member of a Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) committee tasked with providing written educational materials to municipal attorneys around the state.  Read More

Riparian of the Year Awarded to BSM's Cliff Bloom

We're proud to announce that BSM partner, Cliff Bloom was awarded the “Master’s Jacket” as the outstanding riparian of the year by the Michigan Lake & Stream Associations at its annual convention in April 2012. Read the entire article below.
  Read More

BSM Featured in Rapid Growth Media

Rapid Growth Media, a weekly news publication featuring growth and business development in the Grand Rapids area, has featured Bloom Sluggett Morgan in this week's edition. Read the article in its entirety here Read More

Zoning Tools

The single best tool available to protect inland lakes, streams, rivers, and watersheds in Michigan, in my humble opinion, is local municipal zoning. I have discussed lake access (i.e., anti-funneling/keyhole) zoning regulations in The Riparian and at various ML&SA meetings so often that I fear that many of you are probably overdosed on the subject! However, in addition to water access regulations, there are numerous other zoning techniques which can help protect our water resources. Unfortunately, Michigan is light years behind most other industrialized states at the state level when it comes to many zoning issues and lacks many of the statutes found in other states regarding environmental protection. Therefore, most innovative planning is occurring at the local municipal level in Michigan. I realize that asking riparians to learn more about zoning issues is sometimes a little like asking someone who is not very fond of broccoli to eat it. Nevertheless, zoning has huge implications for lakes and watersheds, and riparians in the future will ignore becoming involved in local zoning decisions at their own risk. Following are brief descriptions of some of the innovative and beneficial techniques available in many other states which the Michigan Legislature has either failed to authorize or support financially to the extent needed to be truly beneficial.   Read More