Saginaw May Build|Halfway House

(CN) – A district court improperly chose not to review a lawsuit seeking to stop construction of a halfway house in Saginaw, Mich., the 6th Circuit ruled.

     In reversing the lower court’s decision, the circuit found that a federal court can abstain from issuing decisions on statewide policies, but not from interpreting a local land-use ordinance.
     The City of Saginaw approved Bannum Inc.’s application for a building permit in April 2008, and the company began construction in the city’s industrial area.
     Two weeks later, the Saginaw Housing Commission and 300 people filed suit, followed quickly by the School District of the City of Saginaw, claiming that the facility was a nuisance.
     Saginaw drafted the zoning ordinances under the Township Zoning Act, a local land-use law that does not interfere with state policy, the Cincinnati-based circuit ruled.
     Kentucky-based Bannum runs residential re-entry centers in seven Southern states.

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