Michigan Land Use Institute

Thriving Communities / News & Views / Articles from 1995 to 2012 / SITE PLAN REVIEW


Sketch It Out First

April 1, 2001 | By Jim Lively
and Patty Cantrell
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

A site plan is a simple drawing on which property owners show where and how they plan to build. Most property owners can complete the site plan themselves. Local officials will require certified site plans from qualified engineers for commercial or large-scale projects.

The site plan requirement in the overlay reminds property owners to work shoreline protection measures into their site plans. It allows zoning officials to review the landowner’s proposal and provide early, helpful information on key considerations, such as soil erosion control and the required building setback distance.

The site plan review step also puts your coastal community’s zoning administrator at the end of the permitting line as a last check on development proposals. This gatekeeper role is necessary for accomplishing the extra oversight you want. It is also an opportunity to work with other officials, such as the county sanitarian, soil erosion control officer, drain commissioner, and building inspector to share information and streamline the process for property owners.

Construction can begin once the local zoning administrator and the property owner agree on the site plan and the property owner has obtained all other applicable permits. The approved site plan then becomes the coastal community’s enforcement tool. The property owner must build according to the agreed site plan. 

A site plan sketch shows how the project will fit into the natural landscape.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
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