Building & Planning DepartmentResponsible for permits, zoning ordinance regulations and other land use standards.
Building & Planning Department
Community Development Director
Building and Planning Assistant
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.
These documents may not represent the latest revisions; however staff does attempt to keep them updated. If you have questions, please call the Building and Planning Department.
Planning Commission Documents
Zoning Board of Appeals Documents
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) 842-9270.
Michigan Residential Code Section R105 states that a permit is required for anyone who plans to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system unless the work is exempt from permit.
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
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.
In addition to the permits required by Michigan code, other permits are required by Spring Lake Township. Permits also require that inspections be performed to ensure that the work was done properly.
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.
What and where do you want to build? There will be setback requirements, height requirements, and use requirements. 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 Drain Commission. 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.
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.
- Retaining walls.
Building permits are NOT required for:
- One story detached accessory structures, if the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet.*
- A fence that is no more than 6 feet high.*
- 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. They must meet Ottawa County Road specs for driveways.
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work.
- A prefabricated swimming pool that is less than 24 inches deep.*
- 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.
*A Zoning Permit is required, even if a Building Permit is not required.
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.
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.
Building Department Forms