Zoning & Planning Services
The city has five zoning districts. Three single-family residential districts surround the central commercial district which includes a large planned unit development (PUD) area. Some areas near the commercial zone also allow multi-family residences along with single family uses. Each zone has different requirements for lot area, lot width, and building setbacks.
The zoning administrator reviews all building construction or remodeling plans and enforces city ordinances regarding fences, signs, dumpsters, and temporary storage units. The zoning administrator processes applications for zoning variances, appeals, land divisions, and site-plan reviews, and acts as the staff liaison to the Planning Commission and the City Commission. Some zoning applications require a public hearing before the City Commission (acting as the Zoning Board of Appeals).
If a project you are planning does not meet zoning requirements, you may apply for a variance, or exception from the rules. A public hearing before the City Commission (acting as the Zoning Board of Appeals) is required for all variances.
Historically, variances have been granted in cases of unique circumstances or practical difficulties, when the granting of a variance would not be a detriment to neighboring properties. A zoning variance application must be submitted along with the non-refundable application fee and a brief written statement explaining the request.
- Scale drawings of the proposed project are required.
- The time period from application to hearing is usually five or six weeks.
Land Divisions (Lot Splits)
Land divisions, including lot line adjustments, require the approval of the City Commission following a public hearing. Each resulting parcel and the buildings on it must meet the requirements of the zoning district. The ordinance sets standards requiring the results to be compatible and harmonious with the surrounding area. View or download the land division application.
The Kent County Treasurer's office now requires a tax payment certification before a local municipality can approve a land division or property line adjustment. This approved certification must be submitted with your land division application. A copy of this Land Division Tax Payment Certification Form can be found here.
For more information, and contact the zoning administrator at 616-940-4817.
Other Zoning and Planning Services
The Zoning Department also administers the following:
- Fence permits
- Multi-family rental unit certification
- Side yard air conditioner unit (or other mechanical appurtenance) permits
- Sidewalk cafes and other right-of-way encroachment permits
- Sign permits, sign variance applications, and sign ordinance violations
- Temporary dumpster registration information and enforcement
- Temporary storage unit registration information and enforcement
For more information, or questions about these functions, contact the zoning administrator at 616-940-4817.