Building & Planning Department

Responsible for permits, zoning ordinance regulations and other land use standards.
 

Building & Planning Department

(616) 842-1340
(616) 847-1393

Lukas Hill

Community Development Director

Greg Mason

Building Official

Michigan Township Services Muskegon
(231) 865-3310
mtsm@frontier.com
5855 Airline, Fruitport, MI 49415

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Review Documents - Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals

Review Documents

Documents under review by the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. All documents here contain proposed information for discussion purposes and do not represent approved material.

Planning Commission Review Documents:

Zoning Board of Appeals Review Documents

Procedures for Variances, Authorizations, and Determinations

Variances, authorizations and determinations are decided by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with your application. A pre-application meeting or discussion is strongly encouraged.

Zoning Board of Appeals Rules of Procedure (Bylaws)
Public Hearing Procedures

Variances may be applied for when a unique undue hardship is present on the property. Variances have the most stringent requirements that must be met before a variance can be granted.
Standards for Variances

Authorizations may be applied for when a proposed accessory building or attached garage is larger than allowed by right.
Standards for Accessory Building Authorizations
Standards for Attached Garage Authorizations

Determinations are made for waterfront setbacks when the Zoning Administrator determines there is an unusual shoreline configuration, unusual topographical problem, or unusual circumstance.
Standards for Waterfront Setback Determinations

Zoning Board of Appeals Application - $500 fee and $300 escrow deposit required. Fees and escrow can be paid in cash or with a check made out to Spring Lake Township. There is no refund if the request is denied. The escrow is used to pay for public hearing notices, attorney fees, engineering or survey fees, or any other special studies. Should expenses total more than the deposit, the applicant will be billed by the Township for the additional costs, or additional escrow payment shall be required to complete the Zoning Board of Appeals process. Should expenses total less than the deposit received, excess amounts of the escrow fee shall be returned to the applicant.

After receiving your application and supporting materials, Township staff will review the application and schedule a date for a public hearing for the request. The submission deadline is typically 4 weeks in advance of the preferred meeting date unless otherwise specified by Township staff. Deadlines are set to comply with various Ordinance requirements and to permit adequate time for Board and staff review.
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At least 15 days prior to the public hearing, Township staff will advertise the public hearing in the press and send notices to all residents within 300 feet of the property making the request (1000 feet for Planned Unit Developments). A sign will be posted on the property noting that it is the subject of a public hearing.

At the public hearing, the ZBA will hear the request. The applicant or their representative will be required to attend to speak on their request. After the presentation, the ZBA will typically ask follow-up questions. Public comment will also be held to get the views of interested residents.

After hearing the request, the ZBA will vote to Approve the request, Approve the request with Conditions, Deny the request, or Table the request for further information or considerations.

Approved variances are valid for one year. Variances not acted upon by that time become null and void.

See the Zoning Ordinance for complete information.
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text

Accessory Structures (Garages, Sheds, Decks)

Requirements for detached accessory buildings and detached decks:
Accessory Buildings/Structures – Information Sheet

Accessory buildings include detached garages, sheds, storage buildings, greenhouses, pool equipment, pump houses, detached decks and other detached structures.

All accessory buildings require a permit from Spring Lake Township.
All decks require a  permit from Spring Lake Township.
Accessory Building/Structure Application – Requires a $50 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Accessory buildings and detached decks larger than 200 square feet require a building permit from Michigan Township Services Muskegon.
Attached decks require a building permit from Michigan Township Services Muskegon
Building Permit Application – Michigan Township Services Muskegon – Requires a separate fee.

Your Accessory Building/Structure permit application will require a site plan. You may indicate the proposed changes on a printout from Ottawa County mapping. A link is provided for convenience.
Ottawa County Property Mapping

Fences

Requirements for fences in residential zones:

All fences require a permit from Spring Lake Township.
Fences do not require a building permit.

Fences in Residential Zones – Information Sheet
Fence Permit Application – Requires a $50 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Your Fence permit application will require a site plan. You may indicate the proposed changes on a printout from Ottawa County mapping. A link is provided for convenience.
Ottawa County Property Mapping

Solar Panels

All solar panel installations require a permit from Spring Lake Township.
Solar Panel Application – Requires a $50 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Solar panels require electrical and building permits from Michigan Township Services.
Permit Application – Michigan Township Services Muskegon – Requires a separate fee.

Your Solar Panel permit application will require a site plan. You may indicate the proposed changes on a printout from Ottawa County mapping. A link is provided for convenience.
Ottawa County Property Mapping

For complete information, see Spring Lake Township Zoning Ordinance Section 343.
Ground-mounted Solar Energy Collectors over 200 square feet in area may be permitted as a special land use in all zoning districts. See Spring Lake Township Zoning Ordinance Section 944A for complete information.

Swimming Pools/Hot Tubs

Regulated swimming pools are those either above or below ground designed to hold water to a depth greater than 2 feet when filled.
Pools must be enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high, or must have a cover installed per the Michigan Building Code. Hot tubs are regulated as swimming pools.

Swimming Pools – Information Sheet

All regulated swimming pools/hot tubs require a permit from Spring Lake Township.
Swimming Pool/Hot Tub Permit Application – Requires a $50 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

All regulated swimming pools/hot tubs require a building permit from Michigan Township Services. A separate fee is required.
Building Permit Application – Michigan Township Services Muskegon – Requires a separate fee

A swimming pool/hot tub requires either an approved cover or a fence. The fence permit application may be combined with the swimming pool/hot tub application. However, if you are installing your own fence, or if you are using a different fence contractor, a separate fence permit application is required, and there will be a separate $50 fee.

Your Swimming Pool/Hot Tub permit application will require a site plan. You may indicate the proposed changes on a printout from Ottawa County mapping. A link is provided for convenience.
Ottawa County Property Mapping

Additions

Requirements for additions:

Additions that expand the original footprint or volume of the home require a zoning permit from Spring Lake Township.

The zoning permit fee for additions is $50. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Additions require a building permit, and may require an electrical, mechanical or plumbing permit from MTS.

New Residences/Additions – Information Sheet
Zoning Permit Application
Permit Applications – Michigan Township Services Muskegon – Requires a separate fee

New Homes

Requirements for new homes:

All new homes require a zoning permit from Spring Lake Township. The zoning permit fee for new single-family homes is $100. For multi-family homes, the zoning permit fee is $100 per unit. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

For developments larger than 7 units, see the Large Scale Development information.

As part of the zoning permit, all new homes require a basic site plan. The basic site plan is subject to Zoning Administrator review.

All new homes require building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits from Michigan Township Services Muskegon

New Residences/Additions – Information Sheet
Zoning Permit Application
Permit Applications - Michigan Township Services Muskegon - Requires a separate fee

Additional Township permits that may be required:
Bike Path/Sidewalk Cut Permit Application
Wetland/Wetland Buffer Land Use Permit Application
Water Service Application
Sewer Service Application

In addition to Township permits, Ottawa County permits may be required:
Soil Erosion Permit
Driveway Permit
Well Permit
Septic System Permit

Chickens (Hens) and/or Ducks

See Section 303C of the Zoning Ordinance for complete information.

A maximum of 4 hens or ducks may be kept per lot if the lot is at least 12,000 square feet. An additional hen or duck may be added for each one-tenth (0.10) acre, with a maximum of 10 hens or ducks, combined. Roosters are prohibited.

A covered enclosure is required and must be located in a rear yard.

A permit is required. The initial permit is valid for one year. A renewal permit is valid for three years.

Keeping of Chickens (Hens) and/or Ducks Application – Requires a $40 fee for the original application. Renewals require a $15 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals must be registered with the Township. The registration is valid for 3 years, and must be renewed to continue renting.

Short term rentals are not allowed int he R-1 and R-2 residential districts. They are allowed in all other residential zoning districts.

Short term rentals are required to be registered. The registration is valid for 3 years, after which it must be renewed. The registration fee is $100 for new or renewed registrations. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

We will drive past your rental before your registration is approved to verify the condition of the property.

 

Land Divisions, Combinations and Lot Line Adjustments

Land Division Application - Fee of $200 per parcel created. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.
Transfer of the Right to Make a Land Division (Form 3278)
Property Line Adjustment/Combination Application - No fee to adjust a lot line or to combine parcels

Applications for land divisions must be approved by the Building and Planning Department. After that approval, the Assessing Department will work with Ottawa County to create the new parcels.

Lot mergers, lot splits and lot line adjustments require deeds. These deeds must be recorded before a new parcel number will be issued. All approved land divisions must record documents for any ownership changes within 90 days of the approval with the Spring Lake Township Assessing Department and/or with the Ottawa County Register of Deeds or the land approval will be null and void.

Summer and winter taxes for the year of the land division should be paid by the end of the calendar year in which the division is requested. Once the new parcel numbers are issued, the old parcel number will become inactive; however, the taxes must be paid before a land division is finalized.

PROPERTY TAX NOTE: Any split or combination approved during the calendar year will not have property taxes assessed on the new parcel numbers until the following calendar year's July tax bills. All taxes for the calendar year in which the approval was given will be assessed on the parent parcels only.

Land divisions are processed in and become official in January. Any application received between February and December may be processed early, but there is no guarantee, and the new parcel numbers will not be official until the next tax roll.

Wetlands

Wetlands in the Township are regulated per Chapter 14, Article V of the Code of Ordinances. There may be wetlands that are regulated by the Township which are not regulated by other state or federal agencies. Wetlands in the Township require a 25-foot wetland setback.

Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with wetland issues.

Activities requiring a wetland use permit include:

  • Depositing or permitting the placement of fill material
  • Grading the surface profile of the land
  • Dredging, removing, or permitting the removal of soil, vegetation or minerals
  • Draining, or causing to be drained through artificial means, any water into of from a wetland
  • Constructing, operating, or maintaining any use or development - any activity that requires a local, county or state permit

Wetland/Wetland Buffer Land Use Permit Application
Wetland Verification Application
Fee Schedule – Wetland Review Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Signs

Signs, including temporary signs, require a zoning permit. Temporary signs require a permit, and may be displayed for up to 84 days in a year. NOTE: Flag signs are NOT ALLOWED in Spring Lake Township.

Sign Permit Application - Requires a $75 fee. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.
The fee for a temporary sign is $25.

Signs may require a building permit, and lighted signs will require an electrical permit. Check with Michigan Township Services for more information.
Permit Applications - Michigan Township Services Muskegon - Requires a separate fee

For more information, see Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Standards and Requirements for Signage – Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance
Definitions Related to Signs

Commercial and Industrial Developments - Site Plan Review Required

Commercial and industrial developments require detailed site plan reviews, which are conducted by the Planning Commission. Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with your application.

Appointments are available during regular business hours for preliminary reviews. Preliminary sketches of proposed site and development plans shall be submitted for review by the Zoning Administrator, Department of Public Works, Fire Chief and Building Official prior to official review and approval. This is to allow discussion to better inform the applicant of the acceptability of the proposed plans prior to incurring extensive costs preparing detailed plans.
Preliminary Sketch Plan Review Requirements
Site Plan Instructions and General Information

More information:
Site Plan Review – Article 10 of the Zoning Ordinance
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text
Depending on the project, sections of the Zoning Ordinance may apply. Review Article 6 - Landscaping, Article 7 - Parking, Lighting and Screening, Article 8 - Standards and Requirements for Signage, Article 9 - Special Land Uses, Article 12 - Access Management Regulations, Article 13 - Sustainable Community Assessment, Article 16 - Architectural Standards

Site Plan/Special Use Review & Application - $750 fee and $1180 escrow deposit required. Payment can be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Large-Scale Residential Developments

Large scale residential developments require detailed site plan reviews, which are conducted by the Planning Commission. Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with your application.

Per Section 332 of the Zoning Ordinance, large scale residential developments, consisting of 8 or more lots or site condominium units in the RR, R-1, R-2, R-3 or R-4 district shall be developed only as Planned Unit Developments.

Appointments are available during regular business hours for preliminary reviews.Preliminary sketches of proposed site and development plans should be submitted for review by the Zoning Administrator, Department of Public Works, Fire Chief and Building Official prior to official review and approval. This is to allow discussion to better inform the applicant of the acceptability of the proposed plans prior to incurring extensive costs preparing detailed plans.
Preliminary Sketch Plan Review Requirements

More information:
Site Plan Review – Article 10 of the Zoning Ordinance
Planned Unit Developments – Article 14 of the Zoning Ordinance
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text

Large Scale Residential Development Application - $500 fee and $3000 escrow deposit required for Planned Unit Developments. Any additional Planning Commission or Board of Trustees meeting requires a fee of $500. Payment may be made with cash or check made out to Spring Lake Township.

Home Occupations
Home Occupations are permitted in all agricultural and residential zoning districts.

Home Occupations shall be secondary or incidental to the residential use of the property.

Home Occupations must be registered with the Zoning Administrator.

Home Occupations – Information Sheet

Home Occupation Registration Form

Fee Schedules

Fee Schedule – Building & Planning Department Permits
Fee Schedule – Planning Commission & ZBA
Fee Schedule – Wetland Review

Fees to the Township may be paid by check made out to Spring Lake Township or in cash at Township Hall, mailed to us, or dropped in one of our drop boxes.

Fees for building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits may be paid by check made out to Spring Lake Township or by credit card at Michigan Township Services Muskegon, 5855 Airline, Fruitport MI.

Note: Any credit card payments require a convenience fee to be paid.

When do I need a permit?

The State of Michigan and Spring Lake Township require permits for many building activities. Common situations requiring a permit are listed. If you have questions about a particular project, call the Building and Planning Department at (616) 842-1340.

Zoning permits are issued by Spring Lake Township. Building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits are issued by Michigan Township Services Muskegon.

Zoning Permits

What and where do you want to build? There will be setback requirements, height requirements, and use requirements.

Zoning permits are required for:

  • Additions that go beyond the original foundation.
  • New residences.
  • Sheds – a zoning permit is required, but a building permit may not be.
  • Fences – even if a building permit is not required.
  • Pools over 2 feet deep.
  • Hot tubs.
  • Decks.
  • Retaining walls.
  • Signs – Including Temporary Signs. Note that feather/flag signs are not allowed in the Township.

If you need water and sewer, you will need to pay the connection fees prior to applying for your zoning permit. A scaled drawing of the proposed work will be needed.

In Spring Lake Township, there are also restrictions on tree cutting and wetland use. A soil erosion permit is part of the zoning permit if you are within 500 feet of a drain or a body of water. Get the soil erosion permit from the Ottawa County Water Resources Commission.

See the Zoning Ordinance for details.
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text

Zoning Permit Applications
Accessory Building/Structure Application
Fence Permit Application
Swimming Pool/Hot Tub Permit Application
Zoning Permit Application
Soil Erosion Permit

Building Permits
Building permits are NOT required for:

  • One story detached accessory structures, if the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet. A Zoning Permit is required, even if a Building Permit is not required.
  • A fence that is no more than 6 feet high. A Zoning Permit is required, even if a Building Permit is not required.
  • A retaining wall that is not more than 4 feet high, unless supporting a surcharge.
  • A water tank supported directly upon grade if the capacity is not more than 5000 gallons and the height to width ratio is not greater than 2 to 1.
  • A sidewalk or driveway that is not more than 30 inches above grade and is not over any basement or story below. Driveways must meet Ottawa County Road Commission specifications.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work.
  • A prefabricated swimming pool that is less than 24 inches deep. A Zoning Permit is required, even if a Building Permit is not required.
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a 1 or 2 family dwelling.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the wall and do not require additional support.

Before a structure can be built, a building permit must be issued. A set of construction documents is required before the permit can be issued. Building permits are not necessary for ordinary repairs. However, if walls or portions of walls are removed, or if plumbing or electrical systems are altered or added to, a permit is required. Permits require that inspections be performed to ensure the work was done properly.

Building permits are usually required for:

  • New buildings.
  • Renovations where walls are altered – if you are adding on a room, a zoning permit will also be required.
  • Pools, fences, decks and garages.
  • Plumbing system alterations or additions.
  • Roof replacements.
  • Window or siding replacement.

Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services Muskegon

Electrical Permits
Electrical permits are NOT required for minor repairs and maintenance, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.

Electrical permits are required for:

  • New residences, additions and alterations
  • Upgrades to electrical service
  • Bonding for pools
  • Installation of air conditioning
  • Removing or reconfiguring electrical wiring

Permits require that inspections be performed to ensure the work was done properly.
Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services Muskegon

Mechanical Permits
Mechanical permits are NOT required for:

  • Portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make the equipment unsafe.
  • A portable heating appliance.
  • A portable ventilation appliance.
  • A portable cooling unit.
  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by the code.
  • A portable evaporative cooler.
  • A self-contained portable refrigeration unit that is not more than 1.5 horsepower.
  • Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
  • Gas piping limited to 10 feet in length and not more than 6 fittings.

Mechanical permits cover the heating and cooling systems and water heaters and are required for:

  • New residences, additions and alterations.
  • Air condition installation.
  • New heating duct runs.
  • Furnace replacement.
  • Water heater replacement.

Permits require that inspections be performed to ensure the work was done properly.
Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services Muskegon

Plumbing Permits
Plumbing permits are NOT required for:

  • The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe. If any concealed trap or pipe must be replaced, then the work is considered new work and a permit is required.
  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, if the repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

Plumbing permits are required for:

  • New residences, additions and alterations.
  • Adding a bathroom.
  • Rearranging the plumbing fixtures in an existing room.

Permits require that inspections be performed to ensure the work was done properly.
Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services Muskegon