Traverse City Resolves Lawsuit with 326 Land Company Over Building Height Stop Work Order

Traverse City and 326 Land Company have resolved a lawsuit that challenged a stop work order which suspended construction of 326 Land’s residential condominium building on State Street.

A stop work order was issued after a ruling was made that rooftop utilities on a new building must be under 60 feet, according to a release from the Traverse City Clerk’s Office. This was based on information at the time that suggested that 326 Land had not yet progressed in construction to gain vested rights.

326 Land challenged the order and challenged the validity of the “Proposition 3” charter amendment that requires any construction of a building taller than 60-feet had to be approved by a majority of the City electorate.

An investigation to understand whether or not 326 Land had progressed far enough with their project to have vested rights in completing the project was conducted, and, because new information that was not known to the City at the time of the stop work order was revealed, the City has allowed 326 Land to continue with their project.

Traverse City Attorney Lauren Trible-Laucht stated the following:

“The question of whether 326 Land had acquired vested rights to complete its project as permitted by the City was central to 326 Land’s claims. Each party has good faith arguments in support of its position on the question of detrimental reliance (that 326 was constructing their project based on the city’s previously-issued permit) and vested rights, and that therefore the outcome of this litigation uncertain,

“The City has determined in order to protect the taxpayers from the possibility of potential monetary damages, in light of the additional information that puts the outcome of this lawsuit in question, it is in the City’s best interest to resolve this matter. In addition to exposing the taxpayers to damages, an adverse ruling on the vested rights question also had the potential of creating a complicated legal precedent planning directors and zoning administrators all over the state would have difficulty applying.”

326 Land will dismiss all of their claims and waive the ability to bring them again in the future in exchange for the resolution, including their overall challenge to the legality of “Proposition 3,” according to the Traverse City Clerk’s Office.