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Opinion No. 5391

November 17, 1978


Municipalities subject to requirement of filing and recording plats


Subject to Subdivision Control Act

Except for an urban renewal plat, a municipality is not required to file a plat in accordance with the provisions of the Subdivision Control Act.

Honorable Connie Binsfeld

State Representative

Michigan State Capitol

Lansing, Michigan 48901

You have asked for my opinion as to whether the City of Frankfort must make and record a plat under provisions of the Subdivision Control Act, 1967 PA 288; MCLA 560.101 et seq; MSA 26.430(101) et seq, where it purportedly plans to lease for a term of 30 years, ten parcels of land, each having an area of less than ten acres, to parties contemplating construction of hangar facilities.

1967 PA 288, supra, Sec. 102(d), defining the words 'subdivide' and 'subdivision' provides:

"Subdivide' or 'subdivision' means the partitioning or dividing of a parcel or tract of land by the proprietor thereof or by his heirs, executors, administrators, legal representatives, successors or assigns for the purpose of sale, or lease of more than one year, or of building development, where the act of division creates 5 or more parcels of land each of which is 10 acres or less in area; or 5 or more parcels of land each of which is 10 acres or less in area are created by successive divisions within

1967 PA 288, supra, Sec. 111(1) states in pertinent part:

'Before making or submitting a final plat for approval, the proprietor shall make a preliminary plat and submit copies to authorities as provided in sections 111 to 119. . . .' (Emphasis added)

Thus, the Act imposes the requirement of compliance therewith only upon proprietors.

1967 PA 288, supra, Sec. 102(h), (i) and (j) provide:

'(h) 'Proprietor' means a natural person, firm, association, partnership, corporation or combination of any of them which may hold any ownership interest in land whether recorded or not. (Emphasis added)

'(i) 'Governing body' means the legislative body of a city or village or the township board of a township.

'(j) 'Municipality' means a township, city or village.'

The juxtaposition of these definitions would, standing alone, indicate that the Legislature did not intend a 'governing body' or a 'municipality' to be included within the meaning of the term 'proprietor.' There is, however, additional authority to support such a conclusion.

In I OAG, 1957-1958, No 7232, p 53, 54 (February 1, 1957), it was held that the word 'owner' as defined in section 724(c) of the Michigan Vehicle Code, MCLA 257.724(c); MSA 9.2424(c), does not include a municipal corporation. In so holding, the Attorney General stated:

'As a general rule, statutes do not apply to the state and its agencies unless an intention to include them is clearly manifest. . . . Section 37 states that an 'owner' is any person, firm, association or corporation. Unless a municipality is a corporation, as defined in this statute, it is not an owner within the penal provisions of such statute.

'The Supreme Court of this state has had occasion to pass upon the meaning of the term 'owner' as the term is used in a provision of a statute which is the antecedent of the law herein recited, and has held that a corporation of the nature of a municipal corporation is not included within its meaning.'

A further indication that the Legislature did not intend to include a municipal corporation within the definition of 'proprietor' is the fact that the Subdivision Control Act requires by 1967 PA 288, supra, Sec. 103(4) that the governing body of a municipality file urban renewal plats, but no other provision of the Act requires a municipality to file a plat. Thus, the doctrine of statutory construction referred to as expresso unius est exclusio alterius should be applied to conclude that a municipality need not file a plat for any other purpose.

In summary, it is my opinion that except for an urban renewal plat, a municipality is not required to file a plat in accordance with the provisions of 1967 PA 288, supra. Therefore, since the leasehold interest in question is not an urban renewal plat, it is not necessary for the city to file and record a plat. See Stowers v Wolodzko, 386 Mich 119; 191 NW2d 353 (1971).

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General