Each parcel of property in the City of Muskegon is located within a zoning classification district in the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The zoning districts and other provisions of the ordinance regulate land uses within the City and determine what each property can be used for. There are two principal purposes of zoning:
- The protection of existing land uses
- Providing for future growth and development
Zoning is based on an adopted long-range community plan called the Master Land Use Plan. As growth and change occur over time, it may become appropriate to modify the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance or change the zoning classification for property on the Official Zoning Map. The procedures or steps for considering and making these changes are as follows:
- Any person desiring an amendment or change (rezoning) in the map or in any other provision of the Zoning Ordinance, may submit a Planning and Zoning Application requesting a change to the Zoning Administrator and pay the required application fee.
- The application is then referred to the Planning Department to schedule a public hearing by the Planning Commission and give notice of the hearing by publication in the Muskegon Chronicle and by mailing to each property owner and tenant of record within three hundred feet of the property involved. Such notice is given fifteen days before the hearing.
- The Planning Staff gathers information pertaining to the property involved in the application and surrounding area, prepares a map, field checks the site, takes photographs or videos if needed and prepares a staff report with recommendation to the Planning Commission. The staff report will be made available to the applicant.
- The Planning Commission holds the public hearing, at which time the staff report, map, photographs, and any other pertinent information is presented. The applicant is asked to explain the request and then all other interested persons are given an opportunity to be heard and present objections or support for the requested use. After all the information is presented, the hearing is closed and the Planning Commission determines whether the standards of the Zoning Ordinance are met for the proposed use.
Approval may be given subject to reasonable conditions in order to assure compliance with the intent of the Ordinance. If information presented at the hearing is incomplete, the matter may be tabled until a later time.
- At their next regular meeting, the City Commission takes action to amend the ordinance as requested or as modified, or to deny the request. If there is less than a unanimous vote of all Commissioners in office, a second vote at a later meeting is required for adoption of the amendment.
- If the City Commission adopts a change in zoning, the Planning Staff will record such change on the Official Zoning Map and will maintain it in the Planning Department office. The amended ordinance will be published and maintained by the City Clerk.
The Planning and Zoning Application is used for items that need to be reviewed by staff, the Planning Commission, and/or the Zoning Board of Appeals. The following would require a Planning and Zoning Application: amendments to the zoning ordinance (as noted above), site plan reviews, rezoning requests, applications for special use permits, Planned Unit Development (PUD) submissions/amendments, alley/street vacation requests, zoning variance requests, ordinance interpretations, and zoning appeals.