Planning & Zoning
What is a Planning Commission?
Seven township citizens sit on the Planning Commission, led by a chairperson (members listed in the directory). Their regular meetings take place on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in the Township Hall. Some of their responsibilities include: advising the township board on community planning and development, planning for future land use, and drafting ordinances.
What is the purpose of a Planning Commission?
Their central mission is to develop & maintain a comprehensive master plan . This plan deals with where types of land use (residential, agricultural, industrial, etc) may be preserved or developed, and how these uses interrelate. It is intended to be a guide for future decisions and actions by township officials & citizens. Over the years, the master plan, as well as the zoning ordinance (see zoning below), and recreation plan have each been developed and are updated as required.
How can I participate in meetings?
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in the Township Hall (located at E1461 Deerton-Sand Lake Road). There are two public comment times during each meeting.
Why wasn’t a meeting held on its scheduled date?
Township boards & commissions must have a minimum number of members present for any meeting to be held (also known as a quorum). For the planning commission, the minimum is four of seven (4 of 7) members in attendance – if less, the meeting cannot be legally held. If there is a deadline or urgent matter, a special meeting may be held (at the discretion of the commission).
What about public hearings?
Public hearings are a portion of a meeting meant to invite public input on a specific item, and will have their own notices posted on this site (as well as published in an Alger County newspaper).
Who can serve on the Planning Commission?
Any resident of the township. If you are interested in serving, please write a letter of interest to the Onota Township Board, PO Box 100 Deerton, MI 49822. If there are no open positions, your letter will kept on file (for 1 year) for an opening, so please include your contact information.
Minutes are posted for regular and special(*) Planning Commission meetings. Minutes are available only as PDF files (note: if you do not currently have a program that will read PDFs, you may search the web for ‘free pdf reader’ to acquire a program at no cost). Minutes are added to the site only after approval by the commission at the following meeting. To request meeting minutes not listed here, please contact the township clerk. If a file is missing or mislinked, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let the clerk know so she can fix it.
The Township Zoning Administrator, Mike Tietjen, can be contacted via phone (906 573-3333) or email (mike.tietjen at gmail.com). He provides information and support related to the Zoning Ordinance.
What is zoning?
Zoning is related to land use planning, however its central purpose is to regulate land use in the township. As an enforcement tool, it provides a process that either permits or prohibits varying land uses. The districts (Residential, Lakeshore & River, Town Development, Timber Production, Resource Production, Industrial) are defined in the zoning ordinance.
When do I apply for a zoning permit? How?
Any new land use or development requires that a zoning permit be issued. You should complete a zoning permit application form. Next, you will need to contact the Zoning Administrator so that he can review and approve the planned land use before you apply for a building permit from Alger County. After your permit is approved, contact the Alger County building inspector .
What are the regulations?
The Zoning Ordinance regulates lot size and building dimensions – as well as their placement on property lots. There may be other limitations based on which district you live in; please check the ordinance itself (link), or contact the Zoning Administrator (phone: 906 573-3333 / email: mike.tietjen at gmail.com) if you have further questions.
Zoning Forms + Files
- Zoning Ordinance + Map
- Zoning Permit Application
- Zoning Variance Application
- Conditional Use Permit Application
Zoning Board of Appeals
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) interprets the wording in the Zoning Ordinance, hears appeals on decisions made by the Zoning Administrator, and may grant variances (an exception to zoning requirements; see Zoning Variance Application). Three township residents (Brian Bresette, Theodore Mesu, alternate: Gregg Quinn) serve three year terms on this board. To apply for a vacancy, you must send a letter of interest to Onota Township. Hearings & meetings are only held on an as-needed basis.