Archived planning and zoning news

UPDATED APRIL 23, 2013: Public hearing set for July 1, 2013, on Pellston Recreation Plan

The Emmet County Department of Planning & Zoning has been assisting the Village of Pellston in updating its Recreation Plan. A public hearing will be held on the most recent draft of the plan, beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 1. The official public notice is below.  Click on the PDF below to view the Rec Plan.

PUBLIC NOTICE Village of Pellston Recreation Plan:

Please take notice that a public hearing on the Village of Pellston Recreation Plan will be held during the Pellston Planning Commission meeting on Monday, July 1st, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Village Hall at 125 North Milton Street. The purpose of the meeting is to obtain public input and comments on the Draft Recreation Plan. All interested persons are invited to attend and comment on the draft plan.

The draft plan will be available for viewing at the Pellston Library. Comments may be addressed to Village Council, P.O. Box 468, Pellston, MI 49769 or email James Gillett at [email protected]

April 2013 Draft of Rec Plan

Changes in West Traverse Township zoning process take effect Aug. 1, 2013

Changes in West Traverse Township Processing of Zoning Permit Applications

Effective August 1, 2013, West Traverse Township will utilize the Emmet County Office of Planning, Zoning, and Construction Resources (ECOPZCR) to perform some zoning administrative functions on behalf of the Township.

The ECOPZCR will assist the Township to review zoning permit applications and issue Township zoning permits for residential uses and residential structures in cases where there is no question that the plan submitted with the application complies with the Township's Zoning Ordinance. This includes new construction, changes to existing structures, and accessory buildings. When there is a question regarding compliance with the Township's Zoning Ordinance, the ECOPZCR will not issue a zoning permit to the applicant until the applicant has obtained written approval of the Township's Zoning Administrator. All such disputes must be resolved by the applicant with the Township.

Applications for zoning permits that require site plan review, a special use permit, a variance, or other special review will be processed by the Township. Upon receipt by the ECOPZRC of the record of approval by the Township, the ECOPZCR will process the zoning permit.

Zoning permit applications submitted to the EZOPZCR should preferably use the EZOPZCR's application form available on the EZOPZCR's website or from the Township Office. The ECOPZRC will charge zoning permit fees per Emmet County's fee structure.

West Traverse Township will continue to be responsible for processing zoning permit applications for commercial properties, signs, home occupations, and home-based businesses.

Also effective August 1, 2013, Bob Sandford will serve as the Township's Zoning Administrator and may be contacted as follows:
Office phone: 526-7361
Cell phone: TBD
E-mail: [email protected]
Office hours: Tuesdays, Noon- 4pm
Thursdays, 9am-Noon

Contact information for the ECOPZCR is:
3434 Harbor Petoskey Road, Suite E, Harbor springs, MI 49740
Office phone: (231) 348-1735
Fax: (231) 439-8933
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:




Final Emmet County Recreational Plan available

The final Emmet County Parks and Recreation Plan has been approved by the Emmet County Board of Commissioners. To view and download a copy of the Parks and Recreation Plan, click on the PDF below. If you have questions about or comments regarding the plan, call the Planning and Zoning Department at (231) 348-1735 or email, [email protected]

2013 Final Parks and Recreation Plan

Building code changes take effect March, 9, 2011

Building code changes are coming! As typically happens about every three years, the State of Michigan is adopting an updated set of building codes. The state requires that all governmental jurisdictions that enforce the codes use the Michigan group of building codes. The Michigan group of building codes is based primarily on the international building codes, with some amendments, making the rules more specific to Michigan.

Buildings constructed in Michigan will fall into one of two code categories, “One and Two Family Dwellings” or “All Other Construction.” The category that a construction project falls under will determine which of the codes will be used.
“One and Two Family Dwellings” fall under the Michigan Residential Code. This code is used for single-family homes, duplex-style homes and townhouses, as long as the building height of these structures does not exceed three stories. The Michigan Building Code is used for all other construction projects such as business, retail, churches, apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals, factories, storage facilities, etc.

While Michigan currently operates under the 2006 Michigan Building and Residential Codes, updates to these codes are on the way. The following codes will replace the 2006 codes, and will be become effective March 9, 2011:

• 2009 Michigan Residential Code
• 2009 Michigan Building Code
• 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code
• 2009 Michigan Rehabilitation Code for Existing Buildings

Sub-trade codes for buildings falling under the guidelines of the Michigan Residential Code will be updated at the time of the Residential Code update, March 9, 2011. The sub-trade codes for all buildings falling under the Michigan Building Code have been updated over the past year. Codes for work being done in those trades include:

• 2008 Michigan Electrical Code – effective December 2, 2009
• 2009 Michigan Plumbing Code – effective August 20, 2010
• 2009 Michigan Mechanical Code – effective October 21, 2010

Books for the 2009 Michigan Residential Code, Michigan Building Code, Rehab Code and Energy Code should be available after Jan. 1, 2011. Check with the Emmet County Planning, Zoning & Construction Resources office for information on ordering code books, (231) 348-1735, or [email protected]

Code books can also be purchased at discount rates from the State of Michigan; click here for the Web site.

Feel free to contact the Emmet County Planning, Zoning & Construction Resources office with any questions regarding building code. Your Building Inspection Department is the best source of code information available to you. Contractors, homeowners, do-it-yourselfers and inspection department staff, when working together, can provide safe buildings for all of us to work, live and play.

Keith Olsen hired as new county Mechanical Inspector

Keith Olsen is bringing his 28 years of experience in the construction industry to assist contractors, builders and homeowners with their building projects, as Emmet County’s new Mechanical Inspector. 

Olsen was hired into the position on Dec. 5, 2011, to replace Ken Nightlinger, who moved downstate. 

“It’s a good group of people to be working with,” said Olsen, of his colleagues in the Emmet County Department of Planning, Zoning and Construction Resources. 

Olsen, 48, has lived in Petoskey for nearly three decades and is a 1981 Petoskey High School graduate. Prior to his new post, Olsen owned his own business, Olsen Construction Services. He has been a licensed builder since 1992, a Master Plumber since 1986, and a Mechanical Contractor since 1995. He and his wife, Kelly, had been living in California for a short while when the position opened up. 

“My wife read about it in the paper and said, ‘This job is for you!’ She really wanted to move back here, and so did I,” said Olsen. 

In his new position, Olsen will handle mechanical inspections throughout the county and will serve as back up for plumbing inspections and building and planning reviews. His supervisor is Martie Van Berlo. The department ensures applicants that an inspection will take place within a reasonable period of time after processing of the permit application and a request for inspection is made. 

In the community, Olsen has served as past president and a board member of the Little Traverse Association of Home Builders and as a past president and coach with the Pop Warner football program. He and his wife have two sons, Justin, 22, of California, and Dylan, 13, an 8th-grader. 

He can be reached directly at (231) 348-8982, or by email at [email protected] The Department’s main phone number is (231) 348-1735.

Doernenburg named new Planning & Zoning Director

Tammy Doernenburg is Emmet County’s new Planning & Zoning Director, after unanimous approval from the Emmet County Board of Commissioners on May 12, 2011.

Doernenburg replaces Brentt Michalek, who moved to Wisconsin where he has accepted a similar position. 

For the past six years, Doernenburg, a Petoskey native, has been the Assistant Director of Planning, Zoning and Ordinance Enforcement. She started with the county more than 12 years ago as an administrative assistant. She was first promoted in 2004 to Director of Ordinance Enforcement.

Van Berlo praised for service to Northern Michigan Code Officials Association

For a decade, Martin Van Berlo has made his mark with the Northern Michigan Code Officials Association. And the association recently let him know how much his work has been appreciated.
Van Berlo has served on the NMCOA for 10 years, holding a variety of positions including president. After recently completing his term as past-president, which is the last position to serve on the board, he was lauded in a letter of appreciation from the membership of NMCOA. 

“For the past 10 years … Martin has been instrumental in guiding and improving the organization,” the NMCOA stated. “Martin has also worked diligently for the past five years as NMCOA’s Education Chairman. This important position aids the board in planning and arranging the education program schedule each year.” 

Van Berlo joined the county in July 1999 as a Building Inspector. In 2007 he was appointed Building Official when Dick Crawford retired.
He said part of his work on the NMCOA involved bringing the group into the computer age, creating and maintaining all electronic correspondence with the membership – email list of members, monthly email updates and more. He also designed the current NMCOA logo and stationery, and the logo-wear and lapel pin now available to members. 

Van Berlo said he plans to remain on the board as the Education Chairman, working to develop classes for the coming year and with board members to arrange such programming, among many other tasks. 

NMCOA is comprised of mainly of Building Inspectors and Building Officials from the northern two-thirds of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. NMCOA currently has a membership of about 140 people. During the height of the construction boom of the early 2000s, membership numbers were around 250-275. Members currently hail from as far south as Flint, as far north as the Soo, as far west as Menominee. 

The group’s members and board members meet monthly in Gaylord, nine times per year. NMCOA was originally created in 1975; one of the founding members was long-time Emmet County Building Official, Dick Crawford. 

“Our organization is pleased to have Martin Van Berlo remain as Education Chairman. With his guidance, he will help continue the important service that NMCOA has provided to the code enforcement industry within the State of Michigan for the last 35 years,” the members wrote to Van Berlo. “NMCOA thanks your community for supporting Martin Van Berlo’s participation in this important service.”

Access Management Draft Plan Available

One of the many recommendations of the 2007 Local Roads Study that looked at ways to improve congestion and safety in the US 31 corridor was the creation of an access management plan. Local jurisdictions have been working for several months on an access management plan for US 31 corridor from Eppler Road to Graham Road and the M-119 corridor from US 31 to Powell Road. The process is a joint effort of Bear Creek Township, the City of Petoskey, Emmet County, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Emmet County Road Commission, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians with assistance from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.

Access management is a set of proven techniques that can help reduce traffic congestion, preserve the flow of traffic, improve traffic safety, prevent crashes, preserve existing road capacity, and preserve investment in roads by managing the location, design and type of access to property.

The first set of public meetings were held in 2010 on July 13 and a follow up meeting was held on September 15, where access management tools were detailed and concepts of how these tools could be implemented in the study area, incorporating public input to date and accident statistics, were provided.

The comments and results of the meetings were used to complete a draft access management plan which is available below. Additional public meetings will be held during upcoming Planning Commission meetings of the City of Petoskey, Bear Creek Township, and Emmet County.

If you have any questions or comments on the plan process or progress to date, please contact Amy Tweeten, City Planner (347-2500 or [email protected] ) or Brentt Michalek, Director of Emmet County Department of Planning, Zoning and Construction Resources (348-1735 or [email protected] )


Littlefield Township Corridor Studies

Emmet County Planning department has been working with Littlefield Township to study sections of the US-31 and M-68 corridors. Three public forums have been conducted and a draft Summary Report has been prepared. Please feel free to review the document and offer comments to [email protected] or if you have questions, feel free to contact the Planning, Zoning & Construction Resources office at 231-348-1735.

Draft Summary Report

Emmet County wins regional planning award for Master Plan

The Northwest Michigan Council of Governments has selected Emmet County as a recipient of the 2011 Northwest Michigan Planning Award in the Outstanding Plan, Program or Tool category. 

The award recognized the county’s Master Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on Jan. 15, 2009. 

The NWCOG awards are designed to highlight outstanding planning efforts of counties represented by the organization, which include Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford. The Planners Review and Advisory Committee (PRAC) is a partner in the recognition program. 

“This award brings recognition to the long-standing planning effort that the Planning, Zoning and Construction Resources Department, enacted when we first started our Master Plan process back in December 2006,” said Brentt Michalek, the department’s director. 

Michalek said the effort took two and a half years and included 75 meetings, dozens of open houses and informational sessions and hundreds of area residents. He credited the Board of Commissioners for allowing the time needed to draft a plan that meets the needs of Emmet County today and into the future. 

“I had informed the board that we could do the Master Plan the easy way, with the department writing the plan, but they supported us taking the harder path, because they knew it would have a better outcome for the county,” Michalek said. 

“The Master Plan is a plan of the people. It’s a plan to help guide Emmet County well into the future by taking into account the nine element of Smart Growth Planning. I thank the commissioners for allowing the time to do this right.” 

The county will be given the award at a special luncheon on April 15 in Traverse City.
The Master Plan is available for download by clicking here. 

It is also available for review at the planning department, 3434 M-119, Suite E, Harbor Springs. Call (231) 348-1735 for more information.

Emmet County, Michigan
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