Land Use Planning/Master Plans
Land Use Planning, more commonly known as “urban planning”, works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations. Planning enables elected officials, businesses, taxpayers, and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives. Quality planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. It helps communities find the right balance of new development and essential services, environmental protection and innovative change.
The EUPRPDC works with local units of government developing Master Plans in accordance with the Michigan Planning Enabling Act of 2008. Recent Master Plans can be found under the Resources menu.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) provides financial assistance through its recreation grants program to communities within the State of Michigan that want to acquire land for parks and open spaces or that want to develop recreation facilities. Assistance is currently available from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Passport Grants, and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
To be eligible to apply for these grants, a community must have an approved, five-year recreation plan on file with Grants Management of the MDNR. The plan ideally forms the road map for the decisions made in the next five years regarding the provision of park and recreation lands and other open space for the community.
Zoning Updates – View a zoning map of local units of government within the EUP.
In Michigan, land development regulation is the responsibility of the local unit of government. Zoning is an important tool to bring about the orderly development of local community. Zoning is a public regulation of the use of land adopted to protect public health, safety, and welfare. A zoning ordinance will divide the community into differing districts (or zones), each of which permits certain uses of land according to specific standards.
Why Should Your Community Have a Zoning Ordinance?
The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act of 2006 allows communities to adopt zoning ordinances. Zoning ordinances are based on Master Plans, addressing future development plans and goals. Zoning ordinances allow for the implementation of Master Plans by regulating the use of land, buildings and structures to promote the public health, safety and welfare based on the following:
Establishment of zoning districts and general regulations applicable to each district regarding the use of land and dimensions for building and site development with such minimum regulations to meet the requirements of the Ordinance.
- Accommodate and promote land use compatible with the community’s character.
- Limit or prohibit improper use of land.
- Reduce hazards to life and property.
- Facilitate adequate and cost effective infrastructure systems.
- Establish controls over conflicting land uses and uses that may need special regulations.
- Promote the gradual elimination of uses and buildings that do not conform to the regulations and standards of this Ordinance.
Does your community’s Zoning Ordinance Need To Be Updated?
The Michigan Legislature adopted P.A. 110 of 2006, Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. The statute is effective as of July 1, 2006. This bill codifies the zoning enabling acts for cities, villages, townships, and counties. This is a major change for zoning in Michigan. The codification of the three acts into one act resulted process and procedure changes that every member of a zoning board, planning commission, zoning commission, zoning board of appeals and zoning administrator will need to know. Some of the major changes include:
- Reorganization of all elements and the addition of new definitions
- New public hearing notice requirements for all zoning activities
- Phasing out zoning boards (not zoning boards of appeals)
- Changes to use variance authority, standards and procedures
- Elimination of state review of county zoning ordinances and amendments
What does a typical Zoning Ordinance contain?
- Purpose and Introduction
- Zoning Districts
- General Regulations
- Signs (if a separate sign ordinance does not exist)
- Site Plan Review
- Conditional Use Permits
- Planned Unit Development
- Nonconforming Uses and Structures
- Administration and Enforcement
- Zoning Board of Appeals
- Planning Commission
- Interpretation, Severability,Vested, Right, Penalties, Effective Date
- Zoning Map
A number of communities desire fewer regulations and certain communities require more regulations than listed above. Each community is unique, and has different needs and requirements. Zoning ordinances are fluid documents, meaning they need to be continuously reviewed and updated based on the communities needs, issues that have been presented, or because of recent court decisions.