May 26, 2021
By Kileen Lindgren

While freedom is central to the American idea, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe from incursion. The preservation of freedom requires that we fight back when it’s under assault. The Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network—our national pro bono network of attorneys—is committed to doing just that: ensuring that our freedoms are protected. And for our latest victory, we’ve scored an important win to protect two Michigan families’ right to use their property as they see fit.

The Credit and Lang families each own vacation homes on Gull Lake in Ross Township, Michigan, and their homes have been respites for the families for generations—over 100 years each. Like so many other homeowners—not just in Ross Township, but across the country—they share their special getaways with others via short-term rentals. But for the past few years, they have been fighting to keep this tradition and ability to provide for their families alive.

Even though neither family’s property had violated a single noise or traffic ordinance in their many years of renting out their homes, Ross Township declared both families in violation of a rule against rental of permanent residences—even though neither family permanently resides on their properties. This was a misapplication of local ordinances that both the 8th District Court and 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County recognized.

Thanks to the efforts of Nick Curcio, an attorney with the Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network, the Credits and Langs recently won their cases against Ross Township for a second time, meaning that the families will be able to keep sharing their homes with overnight guests long into the future.

From coast to coast, the Goldwater Institute and AFN attorneys are defending the rights of homeowners to safely and freely share their homes—from Pacific Grove to Chicago to Miami Beach. But AFN attorneys are having an impact in other ways around the country, as well. Recently, they helped our friends at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation weigh in on important challenges to the no-tax-cut provision of the American Rescue Plan Act in Ohio and Missouri—filing amicus briefs voicing concerns on behalf of American taxpayers. They have also assisted in ongoing state challenges to mandatory bar associations in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah—standing up for right of free speech and association. 

In Goldwater’s home state of Arizona, an AFN attorney is assisting a citizen in an appeal process with Maricopa County to hold the government accountable to following its own processes and procedures when enforcing codes and to encourage that codes are up-to-date with current technology. Pro bono assistance in these types of issues is essential to ensuring local governments are responsible to their constituents and effecting meaningful reform.

Our big win for property rights in Michigan is just the latest example of how AFN attorneys are making a difference at federal, state, and local levels. You can, too—and we’d love to have you join us in doing this important work. If you are an attorney who is interested in defending individual rights with us, please contact klindgren@goldwaterinstitute.org or fill out a profile here.

Kileen Lindgren is the Legal Programs Manager at the Goldwater Institute.

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