OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP v. CITY OF KALAMAZOO Docket No. 29044.
77 Mich. App. 33 (1977)
257 N.W.2d 260
OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP v. CITY OF KALAMAZOO
Michigan Court of Appeals.
Decided July 18, 1977.
Bauckham, Reed, Lang & Schaefer, for plaintiff.
James F. Bishop, City Attorney, and Robert H. Cinabro, Assistant City Attorney, for defendant.
Before: R.B. BURNS, P.J., and D.E. HOLBROOK and M.B. BREIGHNER, JJ.
D.E. HOLBROOK, J.
On November 12, 1975, a nonjury trial was held in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. Following presentation of briefs and stipulation of facts, the court issued an opinion dated May 7, 1976, in which it found that the defendant City of Kalamazoo was not the owner of the property in question at the time the city passed a resolution annexing the same. The court held that the outstanding option granted by defendant to James W. Kersten and Ben C. Morris, Jr. prevented the city from having sufficient ownership to annex the property pursuant to MCLA 117.9; MSA 5.2088. Defendant City of Kalamazoo appeals. This is a case of first impression.
"Where the territory proposed to be annexed to any city is adjacent to the city and consists of a park or vacant property located in a township and owned by the city annexing the same, and there is no one residing thereon, such territory may be annexed to the city solely by resolution of the city council of the city * * *."
The trial court found that the city was not the owner of the property in question at the time it passed the resolution annexing the same. The basis for this ruling was that the land was subject to an outstanding option and thus during the term of the option the city was not at liberty to dispose of the land "according to the will of the owner". The trial court qualified its statement by stating that the city was not in a position to dispose of the property without liability.
The question before this Court is whether or not the trial court committed error when it determined that defendant was not the owner of the
The option in question provided that the City of Kalamazoo agreed any time prior to May 8, 1971, to sell and convey an "unencumbered, marketable title to the land situated in the Township of Oshtemo, County of Kalamazoo, State of Michigan" to James W. Kersten and Ben C. Morris, Jr., when and if they chose to exercise said option. The option further provided that "[t]his option may be exercised by the purchaser only by accepting the same in writing". It further provided that "[f]ailure of the purchaser to exercise this option and consummate a sale within the time and in the manner herein provided shall extinguish the purchaser's right to said land and all payment made". The acceptance of the option, according to its terms, would be consummated by the delivery of a warranty deed by the City of Kalamazoo to the purchasers conveying an unencumbered marketable title to the land.
An option is a preliminary contract for the privilege of purchase and not itself a contract of purchase. Greenwald v Veurink,
In Cameron v Shumway, 149 Mich. 634, 640-641; 113 NW 287 (1907), our Supreme Court quoted the following language from Myers v J J Stone & Son, 128 Iowa 10; 102 NW 507 (1905):
"Generally an option may be defined as a contract by which the owner agrees with another person that he shall have the privilege of buying his property at a fixed price within a limited time. * * * It is neither a sale of land nor an agreement to sell, but merely the disposal of a privilege of electing to buy at a fixed price within the time limited. The other party acquires no lands, nor interest in land, not even a chose in action, prior to his election, but he does obtain, what is often of much value, the privilege, at his election, to demand and receive the conveyances of land."
More recently the Court quoted from Keogh v Peck, 316 Ill. 318; 147 NE 266; 38 ALR 1151 (1925), stating: "`An option to purchase does not create an estate in land. No title, legal or equitable, is granted to the holder of the option by an option agreement.'" Windiate v Leland, supra, at 665.
We hold on the basis of the foregoing authority that the holder of an option does not have an "interest" as contemplated by the plaintiffs. No interest arises until the option has been accepted and there are no legal or equitable rights in the
Finally, there is no merit to plaintiff's contention that the land annexed was not "vacant property" within the scope of MCLA 117.9; MSA 5.2088.
The construction of the statute is controlled by MCLA 8.3a; MSA 2.212(1), which provides that: "All words and phrases shall be construed and understood according to the common and approved usage of the language." Language shall be given its ordinary meaning unless a different interpretation is indicated. People v Askar,
Upon reviewing the statutory provision in question, the Court finds no qualifying language as to the type of vacant property required to come within the purview of the statute. There is nothing in the language of the statute that limits the vacant property to property which is used for governmental or public purposes. Without a different interpretation indicated, vacant property must be construed to mean any vacant property whether it be used for governmental or public
The parties stipulated to the fact that the property herein was vacant and no case has been found where the term "vacant property" is limited to governmental or public purposes. The property in the instant case must be considered vacant property within the purview of the statute.
Reversed. No costs, a public question being involved.
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