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Planning & Zoning in Michigan>Public Hearings

Public Hearings

Public hearings provide an opportunity for residents to give their say on planning and zoning actions. They help keep the processes public and provide planning officials with information they might not otherwise receive before making a decision.

Township Master Plan Hearings
Township Zoning Ordinance Amendments
Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Public Hearings
City/Village Zoning Ordinance Amendments
City/Village Master Plan Adoption
County Planning Commission

Township Master Plan Hearings

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Before the adoption of the plan or any part, amendment, extension, or addition, the planning commission must hold at least one public hearing. Thirty days’ notice of the public hearing shall be given by two publications at least two weeks apart. It shall also be published not less than seven days before the hearing in a newspaper having a general circulation in the township.

Township Zoning Ordinance Amendments

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A public hearing must be held prior to the township zoning board submitting ordinance recommendations to the board of trustees. There must be at least one hearing, notice of which is given by two publications in a newspaper of general circulation, the first printed not more than 30 days and not less than 20, the second not more than eight days before the date of hearing. The notices shall include places and times at which the tentative text and maps of the ordinance may be examined. One notice of any ordinance adoption must be published in a newspaper of general circulation within 15 days of adoption.

Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Public Hearings

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This represents a process of informational gathering and sorting. Public hearings are required before rezoning, approving a Special Land Use (SLU), a Planned Unit Development (PUD), or approving a Variance. They are not necessarily required for land divisions, Site Plan Review, or plats—though this is determined by the local ordinances. Notices for a public hearing should be published in a newspaper with general circulation in the township and sent by mail or personal delivery to the owners of property for which approval is being considered, to all persons to whom real property is assessed within 300 feet of the boundary of the property in question, and to the occupants of all structures within 300 feet. The notices shall be given out not less than 5 nor more than 15 days before the date the application will be considered. Notices must describe the nature of the request, where and when the request will be considered, be written clearly in common language and include a common address, not simply a legal description of property lines. The ZBA hearing process can be summarized as follows:
  • Newspaper notice
  • Notice to the petitioner
  • Notice to adjacent landowners and residents
    • Townships and counties must notify petitioners. It is also common to notify adjacent property owners
    • Notification procedures should be included in the ZBA rules of procedure
    • Cities and villages must notify owners of assessed property within 300 feet of the subject site as well as occupants of single and 2-family dwellings within that same distance
  • Public hearing
  • Synthesizing facts and making a decision
  • Documenting the decision

City/Village Zoning Ordinance Amendments

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At least one public hearing must be held before recommendation of zoning ordinance regulations. Notice shall be published in an official paper of general circulation not less than 15 days prior to the hearing.

City/Village Master Plan Adoption

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Before the adoption of the plan or any part, amendment, extension, or addition, the planning commission must hold at least one public hearing. Notice shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality, in the official gazette (if any), and sent by registered mail to each public utility company and railroad owning or operating within the area affected. This notice shall be published not less than 15 days prior to the hearing.

County Planning Commission

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Before submitting its recommendations on the zoning ordinance (texts and maps) to the county board of commissioners, the county zoning commission shall hold at least one public hearing. This hearing shall be given by two publications in a newspaper published in the county. The first shall be printed not more than 30 days and not less than 20 days before the date of the hearing and the second not more than eight days before the hearing. Not less than 20 days’ notice shall also be given by mail to each electric, gas, pipeline, and telephone public utility company that registers to with the zoning commission and to each railroad within the district affected.
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