What is the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act?
The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, MCL 125.3101 et seq. (“MZEA”), authorizes municipalities to create zoning ordinances that regulate land use within their borders. The MZEA also requires that zoning ordinances create a Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) for each municipality.
What is a Zoning Administrator?
The ZA is responsible for the overall administration and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance. He/she accepts and reviews zoning permit applications, as well as determines compliance with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and completeness of the application.
When and why do I need a Zoning Administrator (ZA) or the Zoning Ordinance (ZO)?
Any time you are going to "do" something to your property (modify, demolish, build, rebuild or remodel, add on, regrade, change the shoreline, construct a fence, cut down trees on a slope in the watershed, buy a backyard shed, starting business out of your home, and more) you need to consult the ZA or the ZO. The ZO is a lengthy document and may need some expert interpretation, so we highly recommend consult it AND chat with the ZA. No permits, such as a building permit from the county, can be issued without either complying with the township zoning ordinance or making sure that the ZO does not require a permit in your case, in which the next step can be taken.
What is the Zoning Board of Appeals and would I need it?
If a constituent feels the ZA has ruled erroneously on your request, or that your property situation is unique and requires a variance or exception from the rules, you may take your case to the ZBA and a panel of citizen volunteers from the townships hears your case. Any appeals from the ZBA's decision would then be a matter for the courts.