Dispute over driveway threatens to put man in jail


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A dispute over a driveway in East Lansing could send one man to jail.

An East Lansing homeowner says the city is threatening to arrest him because the driveway at his house is too large.

But he says city officials approved the project before the cement was even poured.

Four years ago, Michael Zydeck bought a house in East Lansing for his daughter who was a student at MSU.

He says there wasn’t enough room to park, so he decided to pay to have a new driveway put in.

But that’s when things went south with the city, and for the last year, he says it’s been a back and forth nightmare.

“Why are they doing this to us? What have we done to them?”

Those are the words of Michael Zydeck, a man who says he’s being threatened by the city of East Lansing, because he re-paved the driveway at home he bought for daughter.

“I was a little nervous that someone was going to show up to my house and shackle me, and you know, take me away from my family and stuff, so I was definitely upset,” said Zydeck.

Zydeck says this all started in June of last year when he hired a contractor to put in a larger driveway.

“Finally, we got a permit,” said Zydeck.

But when the cement truck came, Zydeck says he had to send them back, not once, but twice.

“The city ran up and said, ‘Stop, stop, they made a mistake, the permit wasn’t valid,’” said Mark Grebner, Zydeck’s attorney.

But when the project was inspected again, Zydeck says it got final approval and he moved forward with his plans.

But it didn’t stop there. Grebner says after the concrete was poured, the city came back, now saying the driveway was too big.

“It’s a corner lot. I don’t even know where the backyard of a corner lot is, neither does Mr. Zydeck, and apparently neither does the city of East Lansing,” said Grebner.

Letters provided to 6 News by Grebner document the back and forth between him and East Lansing zoning administrator David Haywood.

They show the city first threatened to arrest Zydeck for violating zoning laws, then the city offered $1,500 to pay for the removal of the extra concrete.

But Grebner says that wasn’t enough, claiming the driveway has cost Zydeck $18,000 overall.

So now, the two sides are at a stand still.

“They should just decide it’s a driveway, it’s not hurting anybody,” said Grebner.

Officials with the city of East Lansing wouldn’t go on camera today but they did issue a statement late this afternoon, saying they have attempted to resolve this matter without success, so are left with no option but to pursue a resolution according to the law.

Grebner says he and Zydeck are ready to argue their case in court.

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