Planning and Zoning

Planning & Zoning Department Responsibilities

The Planning & Zoning Department is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Holton Township Zoning Ordinance and Land Use Plan.

The Planning & Zoning Department processes applications for the Township Board, the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals including but not limited to:

* Zoning Compliance Permit Request
* Site Plan Review Request
* Special Use Permit Request
* Variance Request
* Appeals of Administrative Decisions
* Ordinance Interpretations
*Land Division

If you want to:

*Erect a dwelling

*Remodel a building

*Build a barn

*Build an accessory building

*Move a building

*Demolish a building

*Divide a lot

*Establish a site plan

*Obtain a special use permit

Contact our Zoning Administrator and he will get you started!


The provisions of this Ordinance shall be administered by a Zoning Administrator. who shall be appointed by the Township Board for such term and subject to such conditions as the Township Board deems desirable to carry out the terms of this Ordinance. He shall hold office at the pleasure of the Township Board, and shall receive such compensation as shall be determined by the Township Board.

Zoning Administrator


15.02A Application:

Before proceeding with the erection (alteration), moving (into or out of the township), or use of any building or structure, or the use of any premises subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, the owner thereof shall first obtain a certificate of approval from the Zoning Administrator. Application therefore shall be made in writing upon forms provided by the Township. It shall be the duty of all architects, contractors and other persons having charge of erection or movement to determine that proper Certificate has been issued before undertaking any such work; and all persons performing such work in violation shall be deemed guilty of violation in the same manner as the owner of the premises.

15.02B Issuance of Certificate:

If the Zoning Administrator finds the application conforms to the requirements of this Ordinance and other applicable law, he shall mark all copies approved over his signature and date. One copy shall be filled with the Township Clerk and the other delivered to the applicant together with a card signed by the Zoning Administrator stating the terms of the permit, which card shall be attached to and remain on the construction during the progress of the work authorized. Such permit shall be valid for twelve months from the date of issue, but may be renewed subject to the terms of the Ordinance then in effect. The Zoning Administrator shall have the power to revoke any Certificate in case of failure or neglect to comply with any provisions of this Ordinance, or in case of false statement or misrepresentation made in the application. The owner of the premises shall be notified of such revocation.

Planning & Zoning Department Forms and Information

Some of our forms require Acrobat Reader -select this link to download it for free

Zoning affects every structure and use hence:
A Zoning Compliance Permit must precede any other application to insure all Zoning requirements are met before any new building, development, or activity takes place.

*Note: The Land Division Process begins with a Zoning Compliance Permit and the cost is included in the compliance permit fee.

Planning & Zoning Informational Links:

Zoning Map

American Planning Association
Institute of Water Research
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
Michigan Riparian Magazine
Michigan Society of Planning
Michigan Townships Association

Planning and Zoning Department Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS located at the bottom of this page.

Planning Commission

Authorizing Statute:

Township Planning Act, Public Act 168 of 1959, MCL 125.321, et seq.
subject to Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Authorities and Responsibilities:

Most local governments establish planning commissions to oversee the development (or updating) of the master plan and later, the zoning ordinance.

Once established, the planning commission conducts public hearings and advises the township board on planning and zoning issues.

The Holton Township Planning Commission advises and makes recommendations to the Township Board regarding planning and zoning issues. One of the most important responsibilities of the Planning Commission is the development and periodic revision of the Township’s Master Plan. The Master Plan reflects the Township’s goals for the physical development of the Township through projected zoning, future land uses, and infrastructure development. The Planning Commission makes recommendations on Zoning Ordinance text and map amendments, proposed rezonings, and proposed developments. The Planning Commission also reviews and approves Site Plans and Special Use Permits.

Established By:

The township board of any township may create, by resolution, a township planning commission with power to make, adopt, extend, add to or otherwise amend, and to carry out plans for the township as provided in this act.


Current Members

Not less than 5 nor more than 9 members, who shall be representative of major interests as they exist in the township, such as agriculture, recreation, education, public health, government, commerce, transportation and industry. All members shall be qualified electors of the township.* One member of the township board shall be a member of the planning commission.

All members of the planning commission shall be appointed by the township supervisor with the approval of the township board.

Compensation to Members:

Members of the planning commission may be compensated for their services as provided by the township board.

Zoning Board of Appeals

Authorizing Statute:

Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, Public Act 110 of 2006, MCL 125.3101, et seq.
subject to Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Authorities and Responsibilities:

Shall hear and decide questions that arise in the administration of the zoning ordinance, including the interpretation of the zoning maps.
Shall hear and decide appeals from and review any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official or body charged with enforcement of a zoning ordinance.
Shall hear and decide matters referred to it by the zoning ordinance or that it is required to pass under the zoning ordinance.
Decides variance requests.
Hears special land use and planned unit development appeals only if provided for by zoning ordinance.

Established By:

Required in any township that has a zoning ordinance.


Current Members

Township with 5,000 or more population: At least 5 regular members appointed by the township board.

Township with under 5,000 population: At least 3 regular members appointed by the township board.

The first regular member shall be a member of the township zoning commission or planning commission where the powers of the zoning commission have been transferred to a planning commission. (Note that all zoning boards or zoning commissions must become a planning commission with zoning authority by July 1, 2011.)

One regular member may be a member of the township board, but a township board member cannot serve as the chairperson of the ZBA.

The remaining members shall be selected from the electors of the township residing outside of incorporated cities and villages. Members shall be representative of population distribution and of the various interests present in the township.

An employee or contractor of the township board may not serve as a member.

Alternates: Up to 2 alternate members. May be called per the zoning ordinance to serve as a regular member in the absence of a regular member if the regular member will be unable to attend 1 or more meetings. The alternate serves on a case until a final decision is made, with the same voting rights as a regular member.

Compensation to Members:

Members may be compensated by per diem or for expenses actually incurred in discharge of duties, not to exceed a reasonable sum approved by the township board.


There is hereby created a Zoning Board of Appeals which shall perform its duties and exercise its powers as provided by Act 184 of the Public Acts of 1943, as amended, and by the provisions of this Ordinance. It shall have the power in passing upon appeals to vary or modify any provisions of this Ordinance or decision of the Zoning Administrator or other administrative agent, so that the spirit of this Ordinance is observed, safety, sanitation and protection is secured, and substantial justice done.
15.03A Members; Appointment

Members shall be appointed by the Township Board, provided that no elected officer of the Township shall serve as Chairman of the Board of Appeals and that one member of such Board of Appeals shall be a member of the Planning Commission; one member may be a member of the Township Board; and, one member shall be chosen from the public at large and shall not be an elected official or a member of the Planning Commission.

At its option, the Township Board may appoint two alternate members to serve when required due to the temporary absence from a required meeting of an above mentioned permanent member. When required, the Chairperson shall request the alternate’s presence in the order of first chronological date of selection. Terms shall be three years with each start of a term considered a new appointment date.

15.03G Hearings And Appeals

A. Appeals may be taken by any person affected, including Township Board, or by an officer, department, board or bureau of the Township. Such appeal shall be taken within thirty (30) days from the entry of the decision of the decision in the Township records, by filing with the Board of Appeals a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof.

B. HEARING AND NOTICE: Appeals and dimensional variance requests shall be heard within forty-five (45) days after receipt, at a Public Hearing, notice of which is to be published once at least ten (10) days prior to the hearings in the newspaper, setting forth the time, date, place and reason for the hearing. Property owners of record and occupants of the Township within three hundred (300) feet in all directions of the affected property shall have a notice sent to them by first class mail, at the address given in the last assessment roll. A decision shall be made within thirty (30) days , in writing, setting forth reasons if the appeal or variance is rejected.

C. DECISIONS BY THE BOARD OF APPEALS: All decisions by the Board of Appeals in granting variances or in hearing appeals shall be final, except that any affected person or persons, or any department, board of commission, or State of Michigan which has an interest affected shall have the right to appeal within thirty (30) days after the decision, to the Circuit Court in the County in which the land is located on questions of law and fact. For purposes of determining who constitutes a person with an “interest affected”, it shall be deemed to include an applicant, the municipal body or a subdivision of the same, a person who resides within three hundred (300) feet or a person who appeared at the hearing and spoke in opposition to the position taken by the Board of Appeals.

The previous descriptions were partially excerpted from Authorities & Responsibilities of Michigan Township Officials, Boards and Commissions published by the Michigan Townships Association, copyright 1995, and their website.


1. What is rezoning?

ANS: A rezoning is a change in the zoning district classification of a specific geographic area on the zoning map.

2. When are rezonings required?
ANS: A rezoning request can be initiated by the landowner, Township Board, Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals to accommodate a different land use than is permitted in that district.

3. Who approves a rezoning?

ANS: Rezonings are reviewed by the Planning Commission at a public hearing, following which they make a recommendation on the amendment. Amendments are adopted by the Township Board, after considering the Planning Commission recommendation, public hearing comments and

4. What is site plan review?

ANS: Site plan review procedures provide an opportunity for the Planning Commission to review the proposed use of a site in relation to drainage, pedestrian and vehicle circulation, off-street parking, structural relationship, public utilities, landscaping, accessibility and other site design elements which may have an adverse effect upon the public health, safety, morals and general welfare as well as to provide for the interest of the property owner.
See the Site Plan Review section of the Holton Township Ordinance.

5. What are performance guarantees?

ANS: In the interest of insuring compliance with the Zoning Ordinance provisions, the Planning Commission or  Zoning Administrator (depending on who approved the site plan) may require the applicant to deposit a performance guarantee. The purpose of the performance guarantee is to ensure completion of improvements connects with the proposed use as required by this Ordinance, including but not limited to roadways, lighting, utilities, sidewalks, drainage, fences, screens, walls, landscaping, and widening strips.

6. What is a special use permit?

ANS: Uses are permitted either ‘by right’ or by ‘special use permit’. A special use is a use which may be appropriate in the district in which it is permitted, but has certain characteristics which must be managed to protect the integrity of uses permitted by right in that district..

7. Who approves special use permits?

ANS: Special use permits are reviewed and approved by the Township Planning Commission.

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