For about the last two and a half years, a group of seven Columbia Township residents has been working on a new zoning ordinance. Before the new ordinance has the force of law, there are further steps ahead, including two public hearings. One of those hearings will be held at the Township office on Monday, February 8 at 7 pm, according to Township Supervisor Bob Elrod. Members of the public will have an opportunity to address the group with questions and comments. All of the meetings have been open to the public, but typically not many members of the public attended.
Given the complexity of zoning, the planning group has already devoted many hours of study and discussion to it. Through those discussions, modifications to the original proposal have already taken place. The latest iteration is the fifth draft and is dated December 2015. It was made available today (Tuesday 2/2) on the Columbia Township website. Click here to read it.
As you will see, the zoning ordinance covers plenty of ground. Some of those items may be of great interest, depending on individual situations. Topics like deck building, what requires a building permit, subsequent inspections, how many boats you can store on your property and much more are included in this document.
One of the objectives in developing the new ordinance is to keep it in line with state law. In some cases, processes have been streamlined. For example, many building permits at Clark Lake require variances. The new ordinance simplifies that process.
The members of the planning group are Roger Gaebe (chairman), Mike McKay, Flip Reynolds, Pam Jarvis, Bob Willerer, Theresa Mahr and
Hollis Jeffreys. The group is consulted by Mark Eidelson from Landplan of Okemos that specializes in rural community planning and zoning.