Building & Planning Department

Responsible for permits, zoning ordinance regulations and other land use standards.

Building & Planning Department

(616) 842-1340
(616) 847-1393

Lukas Hill

Community Development Director

Greg Mason

Building Official

Michigan Township Services
(231) 865-3310
5855 Airline, Fruitport, MI 49415

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Review Documents - Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals

Review Documents

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.

2020 PC/ZBA Deadline Calendar

Planning Commission Review Documents:

Zoning Board of Appeals Review Documents

Accessory Structures (Garages, Sheds, Decks)
Requirements for detached accessory buildings and detached decks:

Accessory buildings include detached garages, sheds, storage buildings, greenhouses, pool equipment, pump houses, detached decks and other detached structures.

All accessory buildings require a zoning permit

All decks require a zoning permit

Accessory buildings and detached decks larger than 200 square feet require a building permit
Attached decks require a building permit

Accessory Buildings/Structures – Information Sheet
Accessory Building/Structure Application – Requires a $25 fee
Ottawa County Property Mapping
Building Permit Application – MTS


Requirements for fences in residential zones:

All fences require a zoning permit

Fences do not require a building permit

Fences in Residential Zones – Information Sheet
Fence Permit Application – Requires a $25 fee

Requirements for additions:

Additions that go beyond the original footprint of the home require a zoning permit
Additions require a building permit, and may require an electrical, mechanical or plumbing permit

New Residences/Additions – Information Sheet
Zoning Permit Application – Requires a $25 fee
Permit Applications – MTS

New Homes

Requirements for new homes:

All new homes require a zoning permit

All new homes require building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits

New Residences/Additions – Information Sheet
Zoning Permit Application – Requires a $50 fee
Permit Applications – MTS

Additional Township permits that may be required:
Bike Path/Sidewalk Cut Permit Application
Wetland/Wetland Buffer Land Use Permit
Water Service Application
Sewer Service Application

In addition to Township permits, Ottawa County permits may be required:
Soil Erosion Permit
Driveway Permit
Well Permit
Septic System Permit

Swimming Pools

Requirements for swimming pools:

All swimming pools require a zoning permit

All swimming pools require a building permit permit

Swimming Pools – Information Sheet
Swimming Pool Permit Application – Requires a $25 fee
Building Permit Application – MTS


Wetlands in the Township are regulated per Chapter 14, Article V of the Code of Ordinances. There may be wetlands that are regulated by the Township which are not regulated by other state or federal agencies. Wetlands in the Township require a 25-foot wetland setback.

Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with wetland issues.

Activities requiring a wetland use permit include:

  • Depositing or permitting the placement of fill material
  • Grading the surface profile of the land
  • Dredging, removing, or permitting the removal of soil, vegetation or minerals
  • Draining, or causing to be drained through artificial means, any water into of from a wetland
  • Constructing, operating, or maintaining any use or development – any activity that requires a local, county or state permit

Wetland/Wetland Buffer Land Use Permit
Fee Schedule – Wetland Review

Land Divisions
Land Division Application
Transfer of the Right to Make a Land Division (Form 3278)

Applications for land divisions must be approved by the Building and Planning Department. After that approval, the Assessing Department will work with Ottawa County to create the new parcels.

Lot mergers, lot splits and lot line adjustments require deeds. These deeds must be recorded before a new parcel number will be issued. All approved land divisions must record documents for any ownership changes within 90 days of the approval with the Spring Lake Township Assessing Department and/or with the Ottawa County Register of Deeds or the land approval will be null and void.

Summer and winter taxes for the year of the land division should be paid by the end of the calendar year in which the division is requested. Once the new parcel numbers are issued, the old parcel number will become inactive; however, the taxes must be paid before a land division is finalized.

NOTE: Land divisions become official in January. Any application received between February and December will be processed, but the new parcel numbers will not be official until January of the following year, for that year’s tax roll.

Chickens - Keeping of Hens
A maximum of 4 hens may be kept per lot if the lot is at least 12,000 square feet. An additional hen may be added for each one-tenth (0.01) acre, with a maximum of 10 hens.

A covered enclosure is required and must be located in a rear yard.

A permit is required. The initial permit is valid for one year. A renewal permit is valid for three years.

Chickens – Application for Keeping of Chickens (Hens) – Requires a $40 fee for the original application. Renewals require a $15 fee.

Home Occupations
Home Occupations are permitted in all agricultural and residential zoning districts.

Home Occupations shall be secondary or incidental to the residential use of the property.

Home Occupations must be registered with the Zoning Administrator.

Home Occupations – Information Sheet

Variances, Authorizations and Determinations

Variances, authorizations and determinations are decided by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with your application.

Variances may be applied for when a unique undue hardship is present on the property. Variances have the most stringent requirements that must be met before a variance can be granted.
Standards for Variances

Authorizations are required when a proposed accessory building or attached garage is larger than allowed by right.
Standards for Accessory Building Authorizations
Standards for Attached Garage Authorizations

Determinations are made for waterfront setbacks when the Zoning Administrator determines there is an unusual shoreline configuration, unusual topographical problem, or unusual circumstance.
Standards for Waterfront Setback Determinations

See the Zoning Ordinance for complete information.
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text

Zoning Board of Appeals Application – $350 fee and $300 escrow deposit required

Commercial and Industrial Development

Commercial and industrial developments require detailed site plan reviews, which are conducted by the Planning Commission. Contact Lukas Hill, Community Development Director, for assistance with your application.

Preliminary sketches of proposed site and development plans should be submitted for review by the Zoning Administrator, Department of Pubic Works, Fire Chief and Building Official prior to official review and approval. This is to allow discussion to better inform the applicant of the acceptability of the proposed plans prior to incurring extensive costs preparing detailed plans.
Preliminary Sketch Plan Review Requirements

More information:
Site Plan Review – Article 10 of the Zoning Ordinance
Zoning Ordinance – Complete Text

Site Plan/Special Use Review & Application – $470 fee and $1180 escrow deposit required

When do I need a permit?

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) 842-1340.

Zoning Permits
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.
  • Decks.
  • Retaining walls.

Accessory Building/Structure Application
Fence Permit Application
Swimming Pool Permit Application
Zoning Permit Application

Building Permits
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.

Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services

Electrical Permits
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

Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services

Mechanical Permits
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.

Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services

Plumbing Permits
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.

Permit Forms from Michigan Township Services