Planning & Zoning in Michigan>Decision Process Guide

Decision Process Guide For New Development
The Planning and Zoning are two different things. Planning is an attempt to guide and predict a community's growth, development, and change. Planning has been around since the dawn of agriculture, if not earlier. Planning is an ancient art but also a contemporary one.

Zoning, on the other hand, is relatively new. Zoning ordinances and regulations limit the location of certain land uses along with the structures that house them - usually on a comprehensive, or jurisdictional basis. In Michigan, zoning is regulated at the county, township or city/village level. Zoning at any level must be authorized by some act of the legislature. In Michigan, this has been accomplished by the County Zoning Act, the Township Zoning Act and the City and Village Zoning Act. Every ordinance provision, if it is to be upheld by the courts, must, in the eyes of the judges, be based upon the authority provided in these Acts.

Click here to view full size picture In general, all land use development is regulated by local zoning, so, when considering a new development or a change to an existing one, the first thing to determine is who regulates the zoning in that particular community. Is it done by the county, township, or city/village? It is important to find out what the local regulations are for the parcel of land you are interested in. What works in one neighborhood may not work in a similar neighborhood in a different county.

The following is a general guide to the process of zoning and site plan reviews in the State of Michigan. However, it is imperative to find out what the local regulations are and follow those criteria even if they differ with the general process overview that is provided here.


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