Village not sure what’s up with its zoning panel

Daily Mining Gazette file photo Trustee Nathan Anderson was elected to the Village Council last November after having served three months as its Zoning Board of Appeals chairman.

CALUMET — Trustee Nathan Anderson has scheduled a meeting of the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for May 2 after he received confirmation from Village President Dave Geisler that his December 2017 removal from the panel was illegal.

The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. Section 601 of that act reads, in part:

“A member of the zoning board of appeals may be removed by the legislative body for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing.” The charges agains Anderson were not written, and he was not given a public hearing.

Geisler appointed Anderson as chairman in September 2017 for a three-year term but made the motion to remove him three months later at the December regular council meeting.

In making the motion, Geisler cited a number of allegations, including Anderson’s role in a protest rally earlier in December in the village.

The rally was in response to the council voting to take no action in opting in to Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act. The board voted 4-2 in favor of removing him.

Geisler’s reasons also cited actions taken by the ZBA that resulted in a suit being filed against the village. The village lost the suit.

Anderson responded to the charge, saying the action was a direct result of a unanimous decision of the ZBA in reference to issue, and that three of the members who voted in favor of action were (at the time) members of the village council. The ZBA’s action, he said, was not his own, nor was it outside the duties of the ZBA.

The issue of Anderson’s position as ZBA chairman remains in question, however. While it was illegal for the president to remove him, it was likewise illegal for the council to agree to his removal.

But at the same time, whether it was illegal or not, the council’s action did remove Anderson from the ZBA.

The question is, therefore, can he resume his duties as ZBA chairman, or must the council first vote to reinstate him.