Sara Swanson

Letter to the Editor: Update on Ashkay Island

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January 2, 2018

Dear Editor:

We are the attorneys for Ashkay Island, LLC. Some weeks ago, the Mirror published an article about Ashkay Island and reported a possible controversy with Manchester Township.

Ashkay Island is a single family dwelling under the terms and provisions of the Manchester Township Zoning Ordinance. It meets all requirements and definitions of a dwelling having a sleeping, kitchen, and bathroom facilities designed to be and occupied by one family. No part of the structure is used for any other purpose. The definition of a one family or single family dwelling in the Manchester Townships Ordinance is that it to be an independent detached residential dwelling “designed for and used or held ready for use by one family only.” The Township has the traditional zoning definition of a family: “one or more persons related by blood, bonds of marriage or legal adoption, plus up to a total of three additional persons not so related” who can be guests.

No Township ordinance provision prescribes the length of time any dwelling must be occupied in order to be lawful. The definition in the zoning ordinance that a home can be “held for use” for a single family certainly suggests that a period of time is not required.

We have been in conversation with the Township’s legal counsel. At this point no litigation has been threatened or commenced. The Township may be considering amendment of its zoning ordinances.

We have advised Ashkay Island that it is free to operate in the manner it has done heretofore. We also believe that should the Township later amend its ordinance and attempt to impose a time limit on single family dwellings, such an amendment will not apply to Ashkay Island which holds all permits, including a Township zoning permit, for its construction and the present use. As such the Constitution protects this valuable pre-existing legal use regardless of subsequent amendment of the Ordinance.

We have appreciated the courtesies of the Township Board and its counsel on the matters addressed to date. We will consult with the Township should there be any change of use or significant management change regarding Ashkay Island.

Respectfully Submitted,
KEUSCH, FLINTOFT & FINK, PLLC

Peter C. Flintoft

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