Planning and Zoning*A*Syst #1: Community Planning and Zoning Audit: Basic Setup (E3051)

Basic Setup (MSU Extension bulletin number E-3051) makes sure that your planning commission and zoning board of appeals are set up properly and a system is in place to make sure the community keeps up-to-date.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is a comprehensive assessment of local government planning and zoning in Michigan. It covers basic topics and practices that members of every local planning and zoning entity should understand and should be doing. Each chapter of the Community Planning and Zoning Audit contains key points in the format of questions, checklists, and tables to assess your community’s land use planning and zoning, including the adoption and amendment process, day-to-day administration and record keeping, and decision making about special land uses, planned unit developments, and site plan reviews.

Purpose of the Audit

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is intended for use by local units of government in Michigan to help perform a self-evaluation of the basics of the community’s planning and zoning system. The reason for doing an assessment is to learn of shortcomings and problems before they become controversial issues. As a result of going through this booklet, local officials will be alerted to things that need “fixing” and deficiencies in the community’s files. The document helps accomplish three objectives:

1. Identify liability risks from not following proper procedures and practices, and not having adequate documentation of those procedures and practices.
2. Learn to better manage the planning and zoning administration in your community.
3. Take corrective steps to improve your planning and zoning system.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Organization and Content

This publication is one of a series of 11 Michigan State University Extension Community Planning and Zoning Audits available to walk a community through a performance audit. Topics are:

1. Basic Setup (MSU Extension bulletin number E-3051) makes sure that your planning commission and zoning board of appeals are set up properly and a system is in place to make sure the community keeps up-to-date.
2. The Plan (E-3052) reviews the process of plan and plan amendment adoption (to make sure that it was done properly) and reviews of an existing plan to determine if it needs to be updated, and reviews what should be in a plan.
3. Planning Coordination (E-3053) covers the process of coordination with neighboring government planning (review of each other’s plans); coordination with state, federal and other government agencies; coordination practices; and joint planning commissions.
4. The Zoning Ordinance (E-3054) reviews the process of zoning ordinance and zoning amendment adoption (to make sure that it was done properly) and what needs to be in the file to document that the proper steps were taken. This publication also reviews what should be in a zoning ordinance.
5. Administrative Structure (E-3055) provides a performance audit for the operation of the planning commission, zoning administrator, and zoning board of appeals. It covers office procedures, job descriptions, filing systems, bylaws, rules of procedure, compliance with the Open Meetings Act, minutes, and process for meetings and decision making.
6. Special Land Uses (E-3056) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling special use permits: pre-applications, applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions.
7. Planned Unit Development (E-3057) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling planned unit development handled as a special use permit and as a zoning amendment: pre-applications, applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making special use decisions or basis in the plan for zoning amendment decisions.
8. Site Plan Review (E-3058) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling site plan reviews: applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions.
9. Capital Improvement Program (E-3104) provides a review of the process of creating an annual capital improvement program (CIP).
10. Subdivision and Land Splitting Reviews (E-3105) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling land divisions, subdivisions or plats, site-condominiums, lot splits, and certified plats: pre—application meetings with the developer, public notification, plat review, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions.
11. Capital Improvements Review (E-3106) provides a review of the process for the planning commission to review and comment on local government construction projects (which are otherwise not subject to zoning), and outlines how this review can be used as a constructive way to ensure that government-funded projects comply with the adopted plan and local ordinances.

Each of these Community Planning and Zoning Audits is available at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/subjectsearch.cfmand www.msue.msu.edu/lu, and from your county Extension office.

How to use the Audit

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is not difficult to complete. However, it does take time and the ability to search for and find various records in your local government. The actions taken as a result of this exercise should help reduce liability risk and improve your community’s planning and zoning program.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit can be utilized by local units of government in a variety of ways. A community can go through this booklet as a group (e.g., the planning commission or a subcommittee) or a community can have an individual do so. The advantage of performing the assessment as a group is that reviewing the community’s documents and files in detail is a great educational experience for local officials. Alternatively, a staff person within the planning department may be able to perform the audit quicker because of having greater familiarity with how the unit or government maintains its records.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit can be utilized by local units of government in a variety of ways. A community can go through this booklet as a group (e.g., the planning commission or a subcommittee) or a community can have an individual do so. The advantage of performing the assessment as a group is that reviewing the community’s documents and files in detail is a great educational experience for local officials. Alternatively, a staff person within the planning department may be able to perform the audit quicker because of having greater familiarity with how the unit or government maintains its records.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit can be utilized by local units of government in a variety of ways. A community can go through this booklet as a group (e.g., the planning commission or a subcommittee) or a community can have an individual do so. The advantage of performing the assessment as a group is that reviewing the community’s documents and files in detail is a great educational experience for local officials. Alternatively, a staff person within the planning department may be able to perform the audit quicker because of having greater familiarity with how the unit or government maintains its records.

Organization and Content

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit contains the following chapters:

1. Introduction.
2. Basic Setup.
3. Smart Growth.

The audit is based on Michigan Public Act 110 of 2006, as amended (the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq.), Public Act 33 of 2008 (the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, M.C.L. 125.3801 et seq.), recommendations from members of the MSU Extension Land Use Team, and intergovernmental coordination and plan content “best planning practices” derived from a proposed Coordinated Planning Act developed by the Michigan Association of Planning.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is not designed to be a substitute for reading and understanding the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act or the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Nor is this document a substitute for legal advice or for professional planner services. It is important to document each step of the process in planning and zoning a community. Keep detailed minutes, affidavits of publication and mailing, open meeting notices, letters of transmittal, and communications all on file so that years from now they are still available.

Defined Terms

“Appeals board” means the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). “Certified” (resolution, minutes, ordinance, etc.) means the keeper of the records for the local unit of government (secretary of the planning commission or clerk of the local unit of government for the planning commission or the clerk of the municipality for the legislative body) provides an affidavit that the copy provided is a true and accurate copy of the document.

“Elected official” means a member of a legislative body. “Legislative body” refers to the county board of commissioners of a county, the board of trustees of a township, the council of a city or village, or any other similar duly elected representative body of a county, township, city, or village.

“Local unit of government” means a county, township, city, or village. “Municipality” means a city, village, or township. “Plan” means any plan or master plan adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act or one of the three former planning acts, regardless of what it is titled.

“Planning commission” means a zoning board, zoning commission,1 planning commission, or planning board.2

1On or before July 1, 2011, the duties of the zoning commission or zoning 1 board shall be transferred to a planning commission. Thus, the zoning commission or zoning board will no longer exist (M.C.L. 125.3301(2)).

2Starting on Sept 1, 2008, “planning boards” need to be named “planning 2 commissions” even if a charter, ordinance, or resolution says otherwise (M.C.L. 125.3811(1)).

Chapter 2: Basic Setup

The purpose of this chapter is to help with the basic setup of planning commissions and zoning boards of appeals. It covers creation and composition of planning commissions as well as filling of vacancies and procedures for removing members from office. To conduct this review, you will need the following documents:

1. A copy of the documents the legislative body adopted to form the planning commission and zoning board of appeals.
2. A copy of the zoning ordinance.
3. The legislative body’s minutes showing appointments to the planning commission and appeals board.
4. A copy of the Michigan Planning Enabling Act.
5. A copy of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.
6. A copy of the Open Meetings Act.

Creation of a Planning Commission

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action to correct has been done

1. Do you have on file a copy of the legislative body’s resolution, motion, or ordinance that shows the creation of a planning commission or zoning board/commission? (M.C.L. 125.3811(1))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

There is no such record. This is a major deficiency. The documents should be found, or the creation of the planning commission should be done over. To correct this, consult with your attorney.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

2. If this audit is being done for a township, city, or village: do you have on file a copy of a notice of creation of a planning commission delivered, within 14 days of adoption, to the respective county planning commission (or regional planning commission if there is not a county planning commission)?

If for a county: do you have on file a copy of a notice of creation of a planning commission delivered, within 14 days of adoption, to the respective regional (multicounty) planning agency? (M.C.L. 125.3811(2))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

There is no such record. This could be a major deficiency. The documents should be found, or the creation of the planning commission should be done over. To correct this, consult with your attorney.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

3. Do you have on file a copy of the initial appointments by the legislative body to the planning commission that shows the staggered 3-year term of office for each member? (M.C.L. 125.3815(2))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge whether members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

4. Are there subsequent records of appointments by the legislative body to the planning commission showing each term of office being reappointed for each of the following?

a. Appointments made to vacant seats to fill the remainder of a 3-year term.

b. Every year, about one-third of the seats on the planning commission.

c. A member is reappointed to that seat for a 3-year term.

d. Another is appointed to that seat for a 3-year term. (M.C.L. 125.3815(2))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge whether members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

5. To determine the composition of your planning commission and other issues related to vacancies and compensation, choose one of the options given below.

a. Option 1: Township planning commission was created after September 1, 2008, and/or reorganized under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act.

GO TO COLUMN ‘A’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

b. Option 2: City or Village planning commission was created after September 1, 2008, and/or reorganized under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act.

GO TO COLUMN ‘B’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

c. Option 3: County planning commission was created after September 1, 2008, and/or reorganized under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act.

GO TO COLUMN ‘C’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

d. Option 4: Joint planning commission

GO TO COLUMN ‘D’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

e. Option 5: A village or city planning commission (less than 5,000 population, and the planning commission duties are done by the directors of the economic development corporation, the board of a downtown development authority, or a board created under the Tax Increment Finance Authority Act).

GO TO COLUMN ‘E’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

f. Option 6: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a township planning commission

GO TO COLUMN ‘F’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

g. Option 7: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a county planning commission.

GO TO COLUMN ‘G’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

h. Option 8: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a village or city planning commission (planning commission with nine members representing various occupations and professions).

GO TO COLUMN ‘H’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

i. Option 9: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a village or city planning commission (planning commission of nine members, three being the mayor, a legislative body member[s], or an administrative official[s], and six citizens).

GO TO COLUMN ‘I’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

j. Option 10: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a village or city planning commission (planning commission of nine members, one being the mayor).

GO TO COLUMN ‘J’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

k. Option 11: Planning commission predates August 1, 2008, and continues as is: as a village or city planning commission (less than 5,000 population and planning commission of five to nine members, one being a member of the legislative body).

GO TO COLUMN ‘K’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

l. Option 12: A new village, city, township, or county zoning board.

GO TO COLUMN ‘L’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

m. Option 13: An existing village, city, township, or county zoning board/zoning commission.

GO TO COLUMN ‘M’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

 

 

A

B

C

D

 

Township planning commission created after September 1, 2008, Option 1

City or village planning commission created after September 1, 2008, Option 2

County planning commission created after September 1, 2008, Option 3

Joint planning commission, Option 4

Membership, appointment

In a city or village with less than 5,000 population, one of the following boards serves as its planning commission:

(a)The board of directors of the economic development corporation.

(b) The board of a downtown development authority.

(c) A board created under the Tax Increment Finance Authority Act. (M.C.L. 125.32(2) and M.C.L.125.38015 (7))

The planning commission has five, six, seven, eight, or nine members serving 3-year terms, staggered. (a) Members are appointed by the township supervisor with the approval of the township board. (i) Members are representative of major interests in the township, such as agriculture, recreation, education, public health, government, commerce, transportation, and industry. (ii) All members shall be qualified electors of the township. (iii) One member of the township board shall be a member of the planning commission. (b) A successor shall be appointed not more than 1 month after the term of the preceding commission member has expired. (M.C.L. 125.324)

The planning commission has five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, or 11 members serving 3-year terms, staggered. (a) The method of appointment is determined by resolution of a majority of the full membership of the county board of commissioners. (b)The county board of commissioners shall establish the basis for representative membership on the commission. (i) Members are individually representative of major interests in the county, such as agriculture, recreation, education, government, transportation, industry, and commerce. (1) One member shall be a public school board member or administrative employee of a school district in the county. (2) Each seat is assigned to another major interest, and appointments are to those that can represent that respective interest. (ii) If the commission has five members, one member may be a county commissioners. If six to eight members, up to two members may be county commissioners. If nine to 11 members, up to three members may be county commissioners. (iii) A majority of commission members shall not hold another office or position in the county government. (c) A successor shall be appointed not more than 1 month after the term of the preceding commission member has expired. (M.C.L. 125.102)

Planning commission has nine members. (a) Members represent various professions or occupations. (b) Appointed by the mayor, if the mayor is an elective officer; otherwise, by the officer designated as the appointing officer according to village/city ordinance creating the commission. ( c) Appointments approved by vote of the legislative body. (d) One of the members may be a member of the zoning board of appeals or a member of a joint fire administrative board. (e) Other members do not hold any other municipal office. (f) The term of each member shall be 3 years, staggered. (g) A member shall hold office until his or her successor is appointed. (M.C.L. 125.33(1))

Fill vacancies

If a vacancy occurs on a planning commission, the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.3815(2))

If a vacancy occurs on a planning commission, the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.3815(2))

If a vacancy occurs on a planning commission, the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.3815(2))

Legislative bodies of two or more of any combination of city(ies), village(s), and township(s) may each adopt an ordinance approving an agreement establishing a joint planning commission. The agreement shall specify, among other things, procedure for filling vacancies in the joint planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.135) Look up that agreement and find the membership and appointment requirements to check that the agreement is being followed.

Removal from office

The legislative body may remove a member of the planning commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

The legislative body may remove a member of the planning commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

The legislative body may remove a member of the planning commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

Legislative bodies of two or more of any combination of city(ies), village(s), and township(s) may each adopt an ordinance approving an agreement establishing a joint planning commission. The agreement shall specify, among other things, conditions and procedures for removing from office members of the joint planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.135)

Conflict of Interest

Before casting a vote on a matter on which a member may reasonably be considered to have a conflict of interest, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest to the planning commission. The member is disqualified from voting on the matter if so provided by the bylaws or by a majority vote of the remaining members of the planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

Before casting a vote on a matter on which a member may reasonably be considered to have a conflict of interest, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest to the planning commission. The member is disqualified from voting on the matter if so provided by the bylaws or by a majority vote of the remaining members of the planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

Before casting a vote on a matter on which a member may reasonably be considered to have a conflict of interest, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest to the planning commission. The member is disqualified from voting on the matter if so provided by the bylaws or by a majority vote of the remaining members of the planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.3815(9))

Look up that agreement and find the membership and appointment requirements to check that the agreement is being followed.

Compensation

Members of the planning commission may be compensated for their services as provided for by the legislative body.

The planning commission may adopt bylaws relative to compensation for the travel of its members and employees when engaged in the performance of authorized activities, including attendance at conferences, educational and training programs, and meetings. (M.C.L. 125.3823(1))

Members of the planning commission may be compensated for their services as provided for by the legislative body.

The planning commission may adopt bylaws relative to compensation for the travel of its members and employees when engaged in the performance of authorized activities, including attendance at conferences, educational and training programs, and meetings. ( M.C.L. 125.3823(1))

Members of the planning commission may be compensated for their services as provided for by the legislative body.

The planning commission may adopt bylaws relative to compensation for the travel of its members and employees when engaged in the performance of authorized activities, including attendance at conferences, educational and training programs, and meetings. ( M.C.L. 125.3823(1))

Look up that agreement and find the compensation provisions to check that the agreement is being followed.

Phase in

The above is the new composition for a planning commission, which should be in place before July 1, 2011.

The body shall be named “planning commission.”

The planning commission shall be created by adoption of an ordinance, effective 63 days after publication. (M.C.L. 125.3811(1))

The above is the new composition for a planning commission, which should be in place before July 1, 2011.

The body shall be named “planning commission.”

The planning commission shall be created by adoption of an ordinance, effective 63 days after publication. (M.C.L. 125.3811(1))

The above is the new composition for a planning commission, which should be in place before July 1, 2011.

The body shall be named “planning commission.”

The planning commission shall be created by adoption of an ordinance, effective 63 days after publication. (M.C.L. 125.3811(1))

 

 

 

E

F

G

H

 

Village or city planning commission, Option 5

Township planning commission in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 6

County planning commission, in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 7

Village or city planning commission in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 8

Membership, appointment

In a city or village with less than 5,000 population, one of the following boards serves as its planning commission: (a)The board of directors of the economic development corporation. (b) The board of a downtown development authority. (c) A board created under the Tax Increment Finance Authority Act. (M.C.L. 125.32(2) and M.C.L.125.38015 (7))

The planning commission has five, six, seven, eight, or nine members serving 3-year terms, staggered. (a) Members are appointed by the township supervisor with the approval of the township board. (i) Members are representative of major interests in the township, such as agriculture, recreation, education, public health, government, commerce, transportation, and industry. (ii) All members shall be qualified electors of the township. (iii) One member of the township board shall be a member of the planning commission. (b) A successor shall be appointed not more than 1 month after the term of the preceding commission member has expired. (M.C.L. 125.324)

The planning commission has five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, or 11 members serving 3-year terms, staggered. (a) The method of appointment is determined by resolution of a majority of the full membership of the county board of commissioners. (b)The county board of commissioners shall establish the basis for representative membership on the commission. (i) Members are individually representative of major interests in the county, such as agriculture, recreation, education, government, transportation, industry, and commerce. (1) One member shall be a public school board member or administrative employee of a school district in the county. (2) Each seat is assigned to another major interest, and appointments are to those that can represent that respective interest. (ii) If the commission has five members, one member may be a county commissioners. If six to eight members, up to two members may be county commissioners. If nine to 11 members, up to three members may be county commissioners. (iii) A majority of commission members shall not hold another office or position in the county government. (c) A successor shall be appointed not more than 1 month after the term of the preceding commission member has expired. (M.C.L. 125.102)

Planning commission has nine members. (a) Members represent various professions or occupations. (b) Appointed by the mayor, if the mayor is an elective officer; otherwise, by the officer designated as the appointing officer according to village/city ordinance creating the commission. ( c) Appointments approved by vote of the legislative body. (d) One of the members may be a member of the zoning board of appeals or a member of a joint fire administrative board. (e) Other members do not hold any other municipal office. (f) The term of each member shall be 3 years, staggered. (g) A member shall hold office until his or her successor is appointed. (M.C.L. 125.33(1))

Fill vacancies

A vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.33(6))

All vacancies for unexpired terms shall be filled for the remainder of such term.

The county board of commissioners shall provide for the filling of a vacancy in the membership of the commission for the unexpired term.

A vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.33(6))

Removal from office

 

Members may be removed by the township supervisor after a hearing, with the approval of the township board.

The county board of commissioners may, after a public hearing, remove a member for nonperformance of duty or misconduct.

A member may, after a public hearing, be removed by the mayor for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.

Compensation

 

Members of the planning commission may be compensated for their services as provided for by the township board. The planning commission may make and administer regulations on compensation for the travel of its members and employees when engaged in the performance of authorized activities, including attendance at conferences and meetings.

Members of the commission may receive compensation and mileage not to exceed that provided for members of the county board of commissioners. Excepted are ex officio members, who shall serve without compensation. The members of the commission may be reimbursed for actual, reasonable, and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.

 

Phase in/out

 

This is an old form of a planning commission and must be reorganized (as shown) in option A or D of this table by the earlier of the following dates:

1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008.

2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3882(3))

This is an old form of a planning commission, and must be reorganized (as shown) in option C or D of this table by the earlier of the following dates:

1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008.

2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3882(3))

This is an old form of a planning commission, and must be reorganized (as shown) in option B, D, or E of this table by the earlier of the following dates:

1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008.

2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3882(3))

 

 

I

J

K

L

M

 

Village or city planning commission in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 9

Village or city planning commission in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 10

Village or city planning commission in existence prior to September 1, 2008 (but must be reorganized on/before July 1, 2011), Option 11

A new village, city, township, or county zoning board created after July 1, 2006, Option 12

An existing village, city, township, or county zoning board, in existence prior to July 1, 2006, Option 13

Membership, appointment

Planning commission consists of: (a) Ex officio members: the mayor, one administrative official of the municipality selected by the mayor, and one member of the legislative body selected by the legislative body. (i) All ex officio members have full voting rights. (ii)The terms of ex officio members shall correspond to their respective official tenures (term of the administrative official selected by the mayor shall terminate with the term of the mayor). (b) Six other persons appointed by the mayor. (i) The term of each appointed member shall be 3 years, staggered. (ii) One of the members may be a member of the zoning board of appeals or a member of a joint fire administrative board. (iii) Other members do not hold any other municipal office. (M.C.L. 125.33(2))

Planning commission may consist of nine members. (a) One is a member of the legislative body and is selected as directed in a resolution of the legislative body to serve as a member ex officio. (i) All ex officio members appointed under this subsection shall have full voting rights. (ii) The term of the ex officio member shall be determined by the legislative body and shall be stated in the resolution selecting the ex officio member, but the term shall not exceed the member’s term of office as a member of the legislative body. (b) Eight other persons are appointed by the mayor, subject to approval of the legislative body by majority vote. (i) The term of each person appointed is 3 years, staggered, or until his or her successor takes office. (ii) One of the members may be a member of the zoning board of appeals or a member of a joint fire administrative board. (iii) Other members do not hold any other municipal office. (M.C.L. 125.33(3))

The planning commission shall consist of five, seven, or nine members. (a) One is a member of the legislative body and is selected as directed in a resolution of the legislative body to serve as a member ex officio. (i) All ex officio members appointed under this subsection shall have full voting rights. (ii) The term of the ex officio member shall be determined by the legislative body and shall be stated in the resolution selecting the ex officio member, but the term shall not exceed the member’s term of office as a member of the legislative body. (b)The remainder are appointed by the mayor, subject to approval of the legislative body by majority vote. (i) The term of each one appointed is 3 years, staggered.3 (ii) One of the members may be a member of the zoning board of appeals or a member of a joint fire administrative board. (iii) Other members do not hold any other municipal office. (M.C.L. 125.33(4) and (5))

A zoning commission created after July 1, 2006, is created with a resolution and has five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, or 11 members serving 3-year terms, staggered. (a) Members are appointed by the legislative body. (b) If a county planning commission, no fewer than two of the members of a county zoning commission shall be recommended for membership by township boards of townships subject to county zoning. (c) The members are selected on the basis of the members’ qualifications and fitness to serve. (d) An elected officer of the local unit of government or an employee of the legislative body shall not serve simultaneously as a member or an employee of the zoning commission, except that one member of the zoning commission may be a member of the legislative body. (e) Upon the expiration of the terms of the first members appointed, successors shall be appointed in like manner for terms of 3 years each. A member of the zoning commission shall serve until a successor is appointed and has been qualified. (M.C.L. 125.3301(3) to (9))

A zoning board in existence on the effective date of M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq. (and created pursuant to M.C.L. 125.201 et seq., 125.271 et seq., or 125.581 et seq.), July 1, 2006, and may continue as a zoning commission until July 1, 2011. If a county planning commission, then no fewer than two of the members shall be recommended for membership by township boards of townships subject to county zoning. This requirement may be met as vacancies occur on a county zoning commission. (M.C.L. 125.3301(1) and (3))

Fill vacancies

A vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.33(6))

A vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.33(6))

A vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. (M.C.L. 125.33(6))

A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as is provided for above.

A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as is provided for above.

Removal from office

A member may, after a public hearing, be removed by the mayor for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. The legislative body may, for like cause, remove the member selected by the legislative body.

After a public hearing, a member other than the member selected by the legislative body may be removed by the mayor for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.

The legislative body may, for like cause, remove the member selected by the legislative body.

After a public hearing, a member other than the member selected by the legislative body may be removed by the mayor for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.

The legislative body may, for like cause, remove the member selected by the legislative body.

The legislative body shall provide for the removal of a member of the zoning commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing.

The legislative body shall provide for the removal of a member of the zoning commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing.

Compensation

An appointed member of the planning commission may be compensated at a rate to be determined by the appointing or legislative body.

An appointed member of the planning commission may be compensated at a rate to be determined by the appointing or legislative body.

An appointed member of the planning commission may be compensated at a rate to be determined by the appointing or legislative body.

Members of the zoning commission may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses actually incurred in the discharge of their duties and may receive compensation as fixed by the legislative body.

Members of the zoning commission may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses actually incurred in the discharge of their duties and may receive compensation as fixed by the legislative body.

Phase in/out

This is an old form of a planning commission and must be reorganized (as shown) in option B, D, or E of this table by the earlier of the following dates: 1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008. 2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3883(3))

This is an old form of a planning commission and must be reorganized (as shown) in option B, D, or E of this table by the earlier of the following dates: 1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008. 2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3883(3))

This is an old form of a planning commission and must be reorganized (as shown) in option B, D, or E of this table by the earlier of the following dates: 1. The date when an amendatory new ordinance creating a planning commission is adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act after September 1, 2008. 2. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3883(3))

This is a new form of a zoning board or zoning commission (created after July 1, 2006) and must be reorganized (as shown in option A, B, C, D, or E of this table) by the earlier of the following dates: 1. The date when abolished by the legislative body. 2. The date when its duties are transferred to a planning commission created on or after July 1, 2006. 3. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3301)

This is an old form of a zoning board or zoning commission, created and in existence prior to July 1, 2006. It must be reorganized (as shown in option A, B, C, D, or E of this table) by the earlier of the following dates: 1. The date when abolished by the legislative body. 2. The date when its duties are transferred to a planning commission created on or after July 1, 2006. 3. July 1, 2011. (M.C.L. 125.3301)

 

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action has been done

6. Using one of the columns in the above table that matches the type of planning commission that your community’s resolution, ordinance, or motion creating your planning commission says is the one used:

Have the appointment procedures (who appoints, how ratified, etc.) mentioned in the setup option that you identified been consistently followed by your community?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge whether members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

7. Using the same column in the above table:

Is the number of members on the planning commission correct?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge the composition of the planning commission. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

8. If, over time, the number of members on the planning commission has changed, does the community’s file for resolution, ordinance, or motion creating your planning commission reflect that change?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The resolution or ordinance containing membership information should be amended and readopted.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

9. Using the same column in the above table:

Is representation on the commission properly constituted?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Identify major interests in the community and amend the ordinance to specify the actual major interests. As terms of members expire, appoint new members that represent those major interest areas.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

10. Using the same column in the above table:

Are the numbers of members appointed from the legislative body to the planning commission and planning commission members appointed to other boards (zoning board of appeals) properly constituted?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Review the planning commission ordinance or resolution containing information about the number of members to be appointed to the planning commission. Amend the ordinance or resolution if discrepancies exist. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

11. Using the same column in the above table:

Are successors appointed in a timely manner so that the equal or nearly equal staggering of the 3-year terms is preserved?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so immediately. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

12. Using the same column in the above table:

Are vacancies filled in a proper and timely manner so that the equal or nearly equal staggering of the 3-year terms is preserved?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so immediately. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

13. Using the same column in the above table:

Have removals from office followed a hearing, have designated procedures been followed, and were removals made for the causes specified?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Amend the planning commission resolution or ordinance to specify the procedures for removal from office. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

14. Using the same column in the above table:

Are compensations to members following the requirements specified?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, amend the planning commission resolution or ordinance or legislative body’s policy on this matter to include compensation information.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

15. Do you have on file adopted bylaws for the planning commission? (M.C.L. 125.3819(1))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Try to recover the bylaws and include them in the files. If they can not be recovered, adopt new bylaws (see Land Use Series: “Checklist 1E: Sample Bylaws for Planning Commission” at http://www.msue.msu.edu/lu).

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

 

Zoning Board of Appeals

1. To determine the composition of the zoning board of appeals and other issues related to vacancies and compensation, choose one of the options given below.

Is your zoning board of appeals set up:

 

a. For a community of a population of 5,000 or more? If so,

GO TO COLUMN ‘A’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

b. For a community of a population of less than 5,000? If so,

GO TO COLUMN ‘B’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE.

c. So the legislative body of the village or city is the appeals board:

GO TO COLUMN ‘C’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

d. So the appeals board, which predates July 1, 2006, continues as is:

GO TO COLUMN ‘D’ IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE

 

A

B

C

D

Population of 5,000 or more

Population of fewer than 5,000

Legislative body of village or city is the appeals board

Appeals board predates July 1, 2006, and continues as is

The number of members of the zoning board of appeals shall be specified in the zoning ordinance. (a) Membership is five or more members for 3-year terms, staggered: (i) Members and any alternate members shall be selected from the electors of the local unit of government residing within the zoning jurisdiction. (ii) The members selected shall be representative of the population distribution and of the various interests present in the local unit of government. (b) One may be a member of the legislative body but shall not serve as chair. (c) None of the members is an employee or contractor of the legislative body. (M.C.L. 125.3601(2 to 6))

the number of members of the zoning board of appeals shall be specified in the zoning ordinance. (a) Membership is three or more members for 3-year terms, staggered: (i) Members and any alternate members shall be selected from the electors of the local unit of government residing within the zoning jurisdiction. (ii) The members selected shall be representative of the population distribution and of the various interests present in the local unit of government. (b) One may be a member of the legislative body but shall not serve as chair. (c) None of the members is an employee or contractor of the legislative body

The legislative body is specified as the appeals board in the zoning ordinance. (a) None of the members is an employee or contractor of the legislative body.

A zoning board of appeals in existence on the effective date of M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq. may continue to act as the zoning board of appeals subject to M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq. The number of members of the zoning board of appeals shall be specified in the zoning ordinance for 3-year terms, staggered. (a) Membership is not more than the zoning ordinance specified. (b) One may be a member of the legislative body but shall not serve as chair. (c) None of the members is an employee or contractor of the legislative body. (M.C.L. 125.3601(1, 3, and 6))

One of the regular members is a member of the planning commission. (In cities and villages this is optional.) (M.C.L. 125.3601(4))

One of the regular members is a member of the planning commission. (In cities and villages this is optional.) (M.C.L. 125.3601(4))

One of the regular members may be a member of the planning commission. (M.C.L. 125.3601(4))

One of the regular members is a member of the planning commission as specified in the zoning ordinance. (M.C.L. 125.3601(4))

May appoint up to two alternate members for the same term as regular members. (M.C.L. 125.3601(7))

May appoint up to two alternate members for the same term as regular members. (M.C.L. 125.3601(7))

 

May appoint up to two alternate members for the same term as regular members if specified in the zoning ordinance.

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be removed by the legislative body for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing. (Failure of a member to disqualify himself or herself from a vote in which the member has a conflict of interest constitutes malfeasance in office.) (M.C.L. 125.3601(7))

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be removed by the legislative body for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing. (Failure of a member to disqualify himself or herself from a vote in which the member has a conflict of interest constitutes malfeasance in office.) (M.C.L. 125.3601(7))

 

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be removed by the legislative body for cause specified in the zoning ordinan

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be paid a reasonable per diem and reimbursed for expenses actually incurred in the discharge of his or her duties. (M.C.L. 125.3601(8))

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be paid a reasonable per diem and reimbursed for expenses actually incurred in the discharge of his or her duties. (M.C.L. 125.3601(8))

A member of the zoning board of appeals may be paid a reasonable per diem and reimbursed for expenses actually incurred in the discharge of his or her duties. (M.C.L. 125.3601(8))

 

 

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action to correct has been done

2. Using one of the columns in the above table that matches the type of appeals board your community has (as specified in your zoning ordinance):

Are the appointment procedures (who appoints, how ratified) consistently followed?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge if members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

3. Using the same column in the above table:

Is the number of members on the appeals board correct?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge if members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

4. Using the same column in the above table:

Is representation on the appeals board properly constituted?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This could be a problem should anyone wish to challenge if members are properly appointed. Consult with an attorney to correct this

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

5. Using the same column in the above table:

Is the number of members appointed from the legislative body and planning commission to the zoning board of appeals properly constituted?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Review the zoning ordinance for information about the number of members to be appointed to the appeals board. Amend the zoning ordinance if discrepancies exist. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

6. Using the same column in the above table:

Are successors appointed in a timely manner so the equal or nearly equal staggering of the 3-year terms is preserved?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so immediately. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

7. Using the same column in the above table:

Are vacancies filled properly and in a timely manner so the equal or nearly equal staggering of the 3-year terms is preserved?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so immediately. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

8. Using the same column in the above table:

Have removals from office followed a hearing, have designated procedures been followed, and were removals for the causes specified?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This action is required by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. Maybe amend the zoning ordinance to specify the procedures for removal from office. Consult with an attorney to correct this.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

9. Using the same column in the above table:

Are compensations to members following the requirements specified?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, amend the zoning ordinance or legislative body’s policy on this matter to include compensation information.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

10. If the village or city council (legislative body) is acting as the zoning board of appeals, then is the village or city council not also acting as the zoning board or planning commission?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The city or village council can not act as a planning commission. It is recommended that the city or village council not act as both the zoning board and zoning board of appeals.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

11. Do you have on file adopted rules of procedure for the zoning board of appeals?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Try to recover the rules of procedure and include them in the files. If they can not be recovered, adopt new rules of procedure (see Land Use Series: “#7: Sample Rules of Procedure for a Zoning Board of Appeals” at http://www.msue.msu.edu/lu).

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

 

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action to correct has been done

1. Are planning commission members subject to a legislative body policy, bylaws provision, or other policy that requires members to receive continuing education in land use each year?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, amend the planning commission resolution or bylaws to include such a requirement.

Check this box:

to indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

 

Check this box:

to indicate when improvement is done.

2. Does the legislative body or the ordinance creating a planning commission have a provision that prohibits the reappointment of a planning commi

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