The Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan on Friday held that the Township of Canton’s tree ordinance is an unconstitutional taking and seizure of private property and dismissed Canton’s claims against the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s clients, Matt and Gary Percy.

“The court rightly recognized that it is the Percys, not the government, that own the trees on their property,” said TPPF’s General Counsel Robert Henneke. “That is a significant victory for not only the Percys but for property owners everywhere.”

Two years ago, Matt and Gary cleared blighted vegetation from their property and planted trees for a Christmas tree farm. The Township of Canton responded by filing a lawsuit against the brothers seeking almost $450,000 in penalties under a local tree ordinance that requires private property owners to pay the government for the privilege of removing their own trees from their own private property.

“The court’s well-reasoned opinion is a vindication for the Percys, who have spent years with these potentially ruinous penalties hanging over their heads,” said TPPF Attorney Chance Weldon. “Property owners shouldn’t have to pay the government thousands of dollars to exercise their rights to clear brush or plant trees on their own property.”

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