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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 5690

April 22, 1980


Exemption of park lands located in another municipality

Park land opened to general public for summer

Park lands owned by a city and open to the general public without restriction only during the summer and located in another municipality are exempt from ad valorem property taxation.

Honorable Richard J. Allen

State Senator

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have requested my opinion as to the meaning of a phrase contained in section 7, subsection (c) of the general property tax act, 1893 PA 206, Sec. 7 subsection (c); MCLA 211.7 subsection (c); MSA 7.7 subsection (c).

Specifically, you ask whether property that is owned by a city but located outside the city's limits, within a township's jurisdiction, and open to the public from Memorial Day through Labor Day is 'open to the public generally' as that term is used in 1893 PA 206, Sec. 7, subsection (c), supra, and therefore exempt from taxation.

The exemption granted municipalities in 1893 PA 296, Sec. 7, supra, is broad enough in scope to relieve from property taxation all the property used by a municipality for a general public purpose, irrespective of its physical location. OAG, 1955-1956, No 2852, p 722 (December 3, 1956), and cases cited therein. It should also be noted that Const 1963, art 7, Sec. 23 provides that:

'Any city or village may acquire, own, establish and maintain, within or without its corporate limits, parks, boulevards, cemeteries, hospitals and all other works which involved the public health or safety.'

Therefore, there is no requirement that property used as a park be within the boundaries of a municipality in order for it to be exempt from ad valorem property taxation.

A review of the legislative history of 1893 PA 296, Sec. 7 subsection (c), supra, reveals that the language 'open to the public generally' was added by 1952 PA 54. A review of judicial decisions interpreting 1893 PA 296, Sec. 7 subsection (c), supra, reveals that in 1949 the Michigan Supreme Court, in the case of Village of Grosse Pointe Woods v Village of St. Clair Shores, 326 Mich 376; 40 NW2d 190 (1949), considered the question whether property owned by and reserved for the exclusive use of the residents of one municipality, but located within the boundaries of another municipality, was exempt from property taxation. The Court ruled that the property was used for a 'public purpose' and the restriction of use to residents of the municipality which owned the park was no bar to exemption of the park from taxation.

Since the phrase 'open to the public generally' was added to 1893 PA 296, Sec. 7 subsection (c), supra, by 1952 PA 54 after the decision in Village of Grosse Pointe Woods, supra, it is reasonable to assume that the Legislature intended to modify the import of that court decision by requiring that the park be open to the general public and not restricted to residents of a certain municipality in order to be eligible for exemption from taxation.

It is my opinion, therefore, that the term 'open' to the public generally' means open to members of the public without restriction and does not refer to the amount of time that the park must remain open. Thus, a park owned by a city outside its physical boundaries and open to all members of the public from Memorial Day through Labor Day is 'open to the public generally' and exempt from ad valorem property taxation by the municipality in which it is located.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

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