Zoning Requirements for Commercial and Industrial Properties
The following outlines standard approval procedures needed before commercial and industrial zoning permits can be issued within the city. Please note: a zoning permit must be obtained before the County Building Department can issue any building permit, residential or commercial.
Any time the bulk (square footage) of an existing commercial or industrial structure is changed or a new building planned, site plan review by the Gladwin City Planning Commission must be conducted before any zoning permits are issued. A few exceptions exist, but this normally pertains to small additions or structures such as small, portable sheds. Site plans are considered by the Planning Commission at their regularly scheduled meetings which are normally held the fourth Tuesday of each month. (The May meeting is rescheduled as the fourth Monday falls on a holiday; call city hall for details.) Final, not preliminary, site plans should be provided to city hall no less than three weeks prior to the meeting. Incomplete site plans or plans submitted less than two weeks before the meeting can result in postponement of approval, so it is best to address all items completely before the meeting.
In short, what is needed is a “bird’s-eye view” of the subject property which shows the location of buildings and the distance from the structures to the property lines (setbacks) as well as items the Planning Commission has deemed necessary for a complete site plan. A checklist that the planning commissioners follow when reviewing site plans is available on this website and at City Hall. To familiarize the planning commissioners with the proposed project, the plans accompanies by the checklist are normally received at City Hall, ten days prior to the meeting.
Some items on the checklist, such as 2.H., Recreational Facilities, will not apply to all projects. Parking and setback requirements also differ according to the use of structures and zoning districts in which they are located. All these requirements can be accessed under “Zoning Ordinances” on our website home page.
In an attempt to create a harmonious cohesive image of our business community, the Downtown Development Authority also participates in the site plan process by reviewing facade or elevation drawings and guiding the property owner in their choice of colors, trim, etc. Contacting D.D.A. committee members in advance of the meeting in regard to the above can also streamline the site plan process. Members and contact numbers are listed on our website as well under “Boards and Commissions”. Brochures for suggested D.D.A. façade guidelines are also available at City Hall.
The ordinance also requires that a plan be submitted to city hall for approval when constructing or making changes to parking lots and fences. While site plan review before the Planning Commission may not be needed, a permit must be obtained. A plan review must be conducted by city staff in order to determine compliance. A change in use, in industrial and commercial properties, may require a plan review before the Planning Commission. This gives the commissioners an opportunity to comment on ingress / egress, parking configuration, etc. It also makes potential business / property owners aware of the permitted uses at the property in question and compliance requirements. (Submission requirements are the same as for site plan review, except we do not require sealed plans as we do on many of the site plans.) In some instances, an administrative review can be conducted by the zoning administrator and a letter of compliance provided to the Building Department.
As some questions need research and some projects involve detailed review by several individuals, please allow ample time before the targeted construction date in the event revisions must be made. Many times it pays to research projects 3 – 4 months in advance. City staff including the Department of Public Works Foreman, Zoning Administrator, Fire and Police Chiefs and the City Administrator are some of the people who will be happy to participate in an informal, preliminary review to address any problems before the project reaches the Planning Commission. The two week submission deadline should be used when submitting plans that have been thoroughly researched beforehand and that are complete.
If you have questions, please contact me, Zoning Administrator Bernadette Weaver, at Gladwin City Hall, (989) 426-9231, Extension 15. If I am not available to take your call, please leave a voice-mail with your name, number and the nature of your question in the event I need to do some research before returning your call. I will make every attempt to contact you promptly and address any concerns you may have. Hopefully, we can alleviate unnecessary delays and save time by planning ahead! I also can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.