Chapter 2
Site Plan Review

6.201 Purpose.

The procedures, standards and required information in this Chapter are intended to provide a consistent and uniform method of review of proposed development plans, to ensure full compliance with the regulations and standards contained in this Ordinance and other applicable ordinances and laws, to achieve efficient use of land, to protect natural resources, and to prevent adverse impact on adjoining or nearby properties. It is the intent of these site plan review requirements to encourage cooperation and consultation between the City and the applicant to facilitate development in accordance with the City’s land use objectives.

6.202 Type of Site Plan Review Required.

Four levels of site plan review are established by this Ordinance: site plan review not required, administrative review, sketch plan review, and site plan review.

The submittal requirements for each kind of review are listed in Table 17 in Section 6.208.

A.    Site Plan Review Not Required. Site plan review is not required for the construction of single family dwellings and small accessory structures and other activities and improvements that will not generate material off-site impacts. However, any activity or use that is exempt from site plan review may still be subject to the requirements of Article 6, Chapter 7, Permits, Fees, Violations and Penalties.

B.    Administrative Review is required for certain small scale projects that do not impact neighboring properties.

1.    Authority. The planning administrator shall have the authority to approve, approve subject to conditions, or deny any plan requiring administrative review. The planning administrator shall from time to time provide the Planning Commission with a summary of administrative review decisions made pursuant to this section.

2.    Request for Planning Commission Review. The planning administrator or the applicant shall have the option to request Planning Commission consideration of plans eligible for administrative review.

3.    Appeals of administrative site plan decisions made by the planning administrator shall be made to the Planning Commission. In such cases, the Planning Commission shall review the plan in accordance with the site plan review procedures set forth in Section 6.204.

C.    Sketch Plan Review is a Planning Commission review process for smaller scale projects and expansions or changes in use for existing sites. Less detailed information is required for sketch plan review compared to site plan review, and the level of information required is intended to be only that necessary to verify compliance with applicable Ordinance standards.

    The application requirements and review procedures for sketch plan review are the same as those established for a one-step site plan review in Section 6.204.

D.    Site Plan Review is required for larger and more intense projects, including most new developments, major expansions, and redevelopment. Site plan review procedures and requirements are listed in Section 6.204.

Table 16 summarizes what kind of site plan review is required for various development activities. When a combination of more than one kind of development activity is proposed on a site, such as parking improvements required with the construction or expansion of a building, all site improvements shall be reviewed according to the highest level of review required for any one of the individual components of the overall development.


Table 16. Type of Site Plan Review Required


NR: Not Required

AR: Admin. Review

Sk: Sketch Plan

SP: Site Plan Review







Accessory Structures (smaller than 200 sq. ft. or residential)




In any district, up to 200 sq. ft. in area and accessory structures of any size accessory to a single family dwelling unit (building permits are required)

Accessory Structures (nonresidential larger than 200 sq. ft.)



200 sq. ft. in area or greater that are accessory to any use other than a single family dwelling unit. The planning administrator may require sketch plan review if the accessory structure could create negative impacts on the surrounding area.

Manor House




New construction of a new 3-4 unit manor house structure on a single lot, or conversion of an existing structure to a 3-4 unit manor house

Non-Residential or Multiple Family




Construction of any non-residential structure, multiple-family apartment building with 3 or more units, or manufactured housing community

One or two family dwellings on a single lot





Increases in floor area to existing multiple-family or non-residential buildings based on the cumulative total of expansions in the previous 5 years shall be reviewed as follows. Note that associated site improvements that are required due to the increase in floor area such as parking or landscaping may require a different level of review.

Architectural Changes




Modifications to a building facade or architectural features that comply with the standards of this ordinance

Increase in Floor Area (minor)



An increase of up to 10% of the existing floor area for any non-residential or multiple family building when all of the following apply. If any of the following do not apply, sketch plan review is required.

Ñh is located on a rear or side facade

Ñh will not be visible from a major or minor thoroughfare

Ñh will not negatively impact surrounding property in the opinion of the planning administrator

Increase in Floor Area (moderate)




An increase of more than 10% but less than 15% of the existing floor area for any non-residential or multiple family building

Increase in Floor Area (major)




An increase of more than 15% of the existing floor area for any non-residential or multiple-family building

Limited Reconstruction without Expansion




Demolition of less than 50% of the existing footprint area of a building and reconstruction that expands the building footprint by less than 10%

Limited Reconstruction with Expansion




Demolition of less than 50% of the existing footprint area of a building and reconstruction that expands the building footprint by more than 10%

Major Reconstruction




Demolition and reconstruction of more than 50% of the existing footprint area of a building


Landscape Changes




Changes in approved landscaping plans to similar species consistent with the standards of this Ordinance and that do not reduce the total amount of landscaping on the site

Minor Changes During Construction




due to unanticipated site constraints, or to improve safety, protect natural features or comply with unanticipated requirements of outside agencies

Park improvements




Parking Increase (limited)




Increase in parking and loading areas of up to 10% of the existing area or 6,000 square feet, whichever is less, without any building changes

Parking Increase (major)




Increase in parking and loading areas of more than 10% of the existing area or 6,000 square feet, whichever is less, without any building changes

Parking Lot Improvements without Expansion




Parking lot improvements, alterations to the internal layout, resurfacing or re-striping, or the installation of pavement and curbs to off-street parking lots

Utilities and Accessibility




Utility system improvements and modifications to upgrade a building to improve barrier-free design or to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or similar regulations


Change in Or Establishment of a Permitted Use




When no significant changes in the existing site design, facilities, structures or amenities are required

Change in Or Establishment of a Permitted Use




When significant changes in the existing site design, facilities, structures or amenities are required

Nonconforming Uses and Sites (substitution or change of use)




Substitution of a nonconforming use for a more conforming use, or a change in the use of a nonconforming site

Special Exception Uses




Establishment of or alterations to an approved special exception use, including billboards


Any activity that, in the opinion of the planning administrator, is not exempted from site plan review or that does not qualify for administrative or sketch plan review




Projects and activities of a similar character and intensity to other projects and activities with the same required review procedure, as determined by the planning administrator

6.203 Pre-application Conference.

At the request of an applicant, the city shall conduct a pre-application conference before a committee composed of planning staff, up to three representatives from the Planning Commission, and any other official or representative of the City. The purpose of this conference is to allow discussion with the city to better inform the applicant of the acceptability of any proposed plans or use prior to incurring extensive engineering and other costs which might be necessary for preliminary plan review and final site plan approval. A request for this conference shall be in writing and shall contain whatever information the applicant deems necessary so that full disclosure and discussion of the proposed plan may be held. The committee’s decision shall have no binding effect on the Planning Commission or City Council but be designed simply to advise the applicant of the feasibility of the proposal.

6.204 Site and Sketch Plan Review Procedure.

A.    Application. The owner, tenant, or purchaser having an interest in land for which site plan approval is sought, or the owner’s designated agent, shall submit a completed application form and sufficient copies of a site plan to the Planning Department. The site plan shall be prepared in accordance with the provisions of this Article, including all appropriate information required by Section 6.208. A site plan that does not meet the stipulated requirements for either preliminary or final site plan approval shall be considered incomplete and shall not be eligible for consideration by the Planning Commission.

B.    Technical review. Prior to Planning Commission consideration, the site plan and application shall be distributed to appropriate City officials and staff for review and comment. If deemed necessary the plans shall also be submitted to applicable outside agencies and designated City consultants for review and comment.

C.    Preliminary Site Plan Review. The Planning Commission shall review the site plan, together with any reports and recommendations from staff, consultants and other reviewing agencies and any public comments. The Planning Commission shall then make a determination based on the requirements of this Ordinance and the standards of Section 6.205 (Standards for Approval). The Planning Commission is authorized to postpone, approve, approve subject to conditions or deny the site plan as follows:

1.    Postponement. Upon determination by the Planning Commission that a site plan is not sufficiently complete for approval or denial or upon a request by the applicant, the Planning Commission may postpone consideration until a later meeting.

2.    Denial. Upon determination that a site plan does not comply with the standards and regulations set forth in this Ordinance, or would require extensive revisions to comply with said standards and regulations, the site plan shall be denied. If a site plan is denied, a written record shall be provided to the applicant listing the reasons for such denial.

3.    Approval. Upon determination that a site plan is in compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance and other applicable ordinances and laws, the site plan shall be approved.

4.    Approval subject to conditions. The Planning Commission may approve a site plan, subject to one or more conditions necessary to address minor modifications to the site plan, ensure that public services and facilities can accommodate the proposed use, protect significant natural features, ensure compatibility with adjacent land uses, or otherwise meet the intent and purpose of this Ordinance. Such conditions may include the need to obtain variances or approvals from other agencies.

D.    Final Site Plan Review. The planning administrator shall review the final site plan, including items of information required by Section 6.208 for a final site plan and any requested reports and recommendations from City staff, consultants, and other reviewing agencies. The planning administrator shall then make a determination based on the requirements of this Ordinance, the standards of Section 6.205 (Standards for Approval), and the following considerations:

1.    The proposed final site plan is consistent with the approved preliminary site plan in terms of building location and architecture, amount and quality of landscaping, and site details including but not limited to lighting, parking, signs and circulation layout.

2.    All conditions imposed during preliminary plan approval are met.

3.    The engineering requirements applicable at final site plan approval are met.

E.    Single-step sketch or site plan approval. Nothing in this ordinance shall prohibit the Planning Commission from granting sketch plan or final site plan approval without first granting a preliminary site plan approval if the plans are in compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance for a sketch plan or final site plan.

F.    Outside agency permits or approvals. The applicant shall be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits or approvals from applicable outside state and county agencies. All federal, state and local laws and ordinances shall be met and no unresolved negative comments issued by any governmental agency or public utility shall exist prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

G.    Records Copy of Approved Plans. Two copies of the approved final plan/design, including any required modifications or alterations, shall be maintained as part of the city records for future review and/or enforcement. Each copy shall be signed and dated by the chairman of the Planning Commission for identification of the finally-approved plans, as well as signed and dated by the applicant. If any variances from the zoning ordinance have been obtained from the Zoning Board of Appeals, the minutes concerning the variances duly signed shall also be filed with the city records as a part of the plan/design and delivered to the applicant for his information and direction. The plan/design shall become part of the record of approval, and subsequent actions relating to the activity authorized shall be consistent with the approved site plan, unless a change conforming to this section receives the mutual agreement of the land owner and the Planning Commission.

H.    Appeal. The decision of the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council by the applicant. A request for appeal must be made in writing to the planning administrator within ten days from final action taken on the site plan review and appearance standards approval.

6.205 Standards for Approval.

In reviewing an application for any type of sketch or site plan, the reviewing authority for the type of review required shall be governed by the following general standards:

A.    Circulation. There is a proper relationship between the existing streets and highways within the vicinity and proposed acceleration and/or deceleration lanes, service drives, entrance and exit driveways, and parking areas to ensure the safety and convenience of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The Planning Commission may request, at their discretion, that a traffic study be conducted by an independent source and paid for by the developer, and the results submitted to the Planning Commission prior to final site approval.

B.    Buildings. The buildings and structures proposed to be located upon the premises are so situated as to minimize adverse effects upon owners and occupants of adjacent properties.

C.    Natural Features. As many natural features of the landscape shall be retained as possible where they furnish a barrier screen, or buffer between the project and adjoining properties used for dissimilar purposes and where they assist in preserving the general appearance of the neighborhood.

D.    Site Layout and Screening. Any adverse effects of the proposed development and activities emanating therefrom that affect adjoining residents or owners shall be minimized by appropriate screening, fencing, landscaping, setback, and location of buildings, structures, and entryways.

E.    Applications Requiring Site Plan Approval must comply with all current provisions and standards of the zoning ordinance and the subdivision control ordinance, as applicable.

F.    Applications Requiring Sketch Plan Approval.

1.    Proposed improvements that are part of a sketch plan application shall comply with all ordinance requirements.

2.    Existing improvements or features of the site that do not comply with current ordinance standards shall be brought into compliance as nearly as is reasonably possible. The requirement to bring existing improvements into compliance on a site requiring sketch plan approval shall be proportionate and commensurate with the scale of the proposed improvement requiring sketch plan approval. The reviewing authority shall determine what constitutes proportionate and commensurate improvements based on existing conditions on the site and the cost of proposed improvements.

G.    Approval Contingent Upon Variance(s). The Planning Commission may conditionally approve a site plan subject to the granting of any appropriate variance(s) with the understanding that without the variance(s), the site plan is disapproved.

    If the Planning Commission approves a site plan contingent upon approval of one or more variances from specific requirements of this Ordinance, the applicant shall initiate such a request to the Zoning Board of Appeals within 60 days of site plan approval. Zoning Board of Appeals consideration shall be limited to the specific variances identified as conditions of site plan approval by the Planning Commission. This shall not preclude the applicant from seeking a variance or variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals prior to obtaining site plan approval.

6.206 Conformance with Approved Site Plan/Design Appearance.

A.    Suspension by planning administrator. Property which is the subject of site plan approval must be developed in strict compliance with the approved site plan, inclusive of any amendments, which has received the approval of the Planning Commission. If construction and development does not conform with the approved plan or design appearance, the approval of the site plan or design appearance shall be suspended by the planning administrator by written notice of the revocation being posted upon the premises involved and mailed to the last known address of the owner.

    Upon suspension of this approval, all construction activities shall cease upon the site until the time the violation has been corrected or the Planning Commission has approved a modification in the site plan or design appearance in accordance with Section 6.207.C.

B.    Rescinding Site Plan Approval. Approval of a site plan may be rescinded by the Planning Commission upon determination that the site has not been improved, constructed or maintained in compliance with approved permits, site plans, or conditions of site plan or special exception approval. Such action shall be subject to the following:

1.    Public hearing. Such action may be taken only after a public hearing has been held in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article 6, Chapter 9 of this Ordinance (Public Hearing Procedures), at which time the owner of an interest in land for which site plan approval was sought, or the owner’s designated agent, shall be given an opportunity to present evidence in opposition to rescission.

2.    Determination. Subsequent to the hearing, the decision of the Commission with regard to the rescission shall be made and written notification provided to the property owner or his or her designated agent.

6.207 General Provisions.

A.    Expiration of site plans.

1.    Preliminary site plans shall expire one year after the date of preliminary approval, unless the final site plan for the project has been submitted to the planning department for review prior to the expiration date.

2.    Final site plans.

a.    Final site plans shall expire one year after the date of final approval, unless building permits have been issued or construction has commenced. The date of final approval is established by the most recent date stamp on the final plans.

b.    If building permits have been issued or construction has commenced, final site plan approval shall continue for a period of five (5) years from the date thereof. If such construction lapses for more than 180 continuous days, said approval shall immediately expire.

3.    Extensions. Upon written request received by the City prior to the expiration date, the Planning Commission may grant up to 2 one-year extensions to any site plan application. The extensions may be granted for either preliminary or final approvals, provided that the approved site plan conforms to current Zoning Ordinance standards.

B.    Resubmission. A site plan that has been denied shall not be resubmitted for a period of 180 days from the date of denial, except on grounds of new evidence or proof of changed conditions found by the Planning Commission to be valid.

C.    Revisions to Approved Site Plans. Minor revisions to an approved site plan may be administratively reviewed by the zoning administrator, provided that such changes do not materially alter the approved site design, intensity of use or demand for public services. Revisions to an approved site plan that are not considered by the planning administrator to be minor shall be reviewed by the Planning Commission as an amended site plan, following the procedures of Section 6.204 and the criteria of Section 6.205.

D.    Performance Guarantee. The reviewing authority and the planning administrator shall have the right and authority to require the developer to file a performance agreement in a form provided by the City at the time of application for a building permit to ensure the development of the site in accordance with the approved site plan/design appearance, conditioned upon the proper construction and development. This agreement shall continue for the duration of the construction and development of the site. If required, the performance guarantee shall comply with the following requirements:

1.    The applicant shall submit a signed and sealed estimate of the required site work by a licensed engineer, surveyor, architect or contractor. The performance guarantee shall be in an amount sufficient to complete the required site work based on the estimated cost of site improvements.

2.    The performance guarantee, subject to acceptance to the City, shall be in the form of cash, certified check, surety bond or irrevocable bank letter of credit. The performance guarantee shall be released upon completion of site work in accordance with the approved site plan, failing which the amount will be forfeit.

6.208 Required Information.

The information listed in Table 17 is required for all site plan applications, except where the planning administrator or the Planning Commission determines that certain information is not necessary or applicable to the particular site plan application.

Table 17. Required Information


SP: Site Plan

Sk: Sketch Plan

AR: Administrative Review Plan






Name, address, email (if available), telephone and facsimile numbers of the applicant (and property owner, if different from applicant) and firm or individual preparing the site plan, and the property location (address, lot number, tax identification number).

Total area of land in acres or square-feet.

Existing and proposed use(s) of the site

Zoning classification of the property and surrounding parcels (including parcels separated by a street right-of-way).

Legal description of the property.



Architect’s, engineer’s, surveyor’s, or landscape architect’s seal.




Site plans shall be drawn to an engineer’s scale of not less than one inch equals fifty feet (1" = 50'). A general plan sheet drawn at scale of not less than one inch equals two hundred feet (1" = 200') shall be provided if the project covers more than one plan sheet at 1" = 50'.


Title block, including the scale, north arrow, revision date, name of the City, and a location map drawn at one inch equals 2,000 feet (1" = 2,000') showing surrounding land, water features and streets within one (1) mile of the site boundaries.


Size and dimensions of proposed buildings, including gross and usable floor area, number of stories, overall height and number of units in each building, if applicable.

Detailed parking (including accessible and van accessible parking), residential density and lot coverage calculations.

Construction type and use group of all buildings as defined by the Michigan Building Code. If two or more uses not in the same occupancy classification are proposed, indicate if the structure is being designed for separated or non-separated uses.



Location of soil types and existing drainage courses, floodplains, lakes, streams, drains and wetlands, with surface drainage flow directions, including high points, low points and swales.



Existing topography on site and 50 feet beyond the site boundaries at two-foot contour intervals.



Slopes greater than 20% with a 10' or greater elevation change.


Buildings located on adjacent properties within 100 feet of any property line.

Dimensions of all lots and property lines, showing the relationship of the site to abutting properties. If the site is part of a larger parcel, the plan should indicate the boundaries of total land holding.

Existing tree survey including the location of all trees 6" or greater diameter at breast height. The tree survey shall include a key showing the tag number, size, species, and condition of all trees located on the site.

Existing site features, including significant natural, historical, cultural and architectural features, buildings and structures, driveway openings, fences, walls, signs and other improvements. The site plan shall clearly note which features will be removed, altered or preserved and provide information regarding the method of preservation or alteration.

Existing and proposed right-of-way lines and the centerline of adjacent roads.


Driveways, sidewalks, paths, public transit routes, streets and curb cuts on the applicant’s parcel and all abutting parcels (including across street rights-of-way).


Location, outside dimensions, setback distances and proposed uses of all site improvements.

Gross and usable building floor areas.

Existing and proposed easements and rights-of-way (locations and descriptions) for utilities, access and drainage.


An exterior lighting plan with all existing and proposed lighting locations, heights from grade, specifications, lamp types and methods of shielding.


A photometric grid overlaid on the site plan indicating light intensity throughout the site in foot-candles. All light intensities shown on the plan shall reflect overlapping illumination zones created by proposed fixtures.


Specifications and details for each type of light fixture, including the total lumen output, type of lamp, and method of shielding.



Waste receptacle locations and methods of screening.


Transformer pad location and method of screening, if applicable.


Outdoor sales, display or storage locations and method of screening, if applicable.


Locations, sizes, heights, types and methods of illumination of all proposed signs.



General architectural drawings sufficient to convey the intended look and appearance of the building, and to indicate the type and color of building materials, detailing, and other architectural features.

Detailed building facade elevations, drawn to an appropriate scale and indicating type and color of building materials, roof design, projections, canopies, awnings, window openings, entrance features, doors, overhangs, other architectural features and any building-mounted mechanical equipment, such as air-conditioning and heating units.



Building floor plans with all exits clearly delineated.



Entrance details, including signs and details of signs.



Carport locations and details, if applicable.




Names of abutting streets, and the width, depth, type and curbing for all streets, parking lots, sidewalks and other paved surfaces.



Loading and unloading areas.



Designation of fire lanes and signs stating “no parking” and “fire lane.”


Locations and dimensions of access points, including deceleration or passing lanes and distances between adjacent or opposing driveways and street intersections.



Location and dimensions of existing and proposed interior sidewalks and sidewalks or paths within public rights-of-way.


Parking space and maneuvering aisle dimensions (including accessible parking space and access aisle dimensions), pavement markings, traffic control signage, designation of fire lanes and location and dimension of loading areas.


Proposed accessible routes from accessible parking spaces to accessible building entrances, with sufficient grade information along the route to verify compliance with the City’s adopted building code.


Accessible routes and ramp slopes by indicating point elevations at the perimeter of such areas.


Details along the proposed accessible route(s), including accessible parking signs, curb ramps, ramps, and maneuvering clearances of accessible building entrances/doors, as applicable.



Landscape plan, including location, size, quantity and type of proposed shrubs, trees, ground cover (including grass) and other live plant materials, and the location, size and type of any existing plant materials that will be preserved. All landscape plans shall be signed and sealed by a registered landscape architect.


Planting list for proposed landscape materials with quantity, caliper-size and height of material, botanical and common names, and standards of installation.


Location, dimensions, construction materials, cross-section and slope ratio for any required or proposed berms or greenbelts.



Proposed fences and walls, including typical cross-section, materials and height above the ground on both sides.



Complete irrigation system design.



A basic annual landscape maintenance program.




Grading plan, with existing and proposed topography at a minimum of two-foot (2’) contour levels, drainage patterns and a general description of grades within 100 feet of the site to indicate stormwater runoff.

General location of sanitary sewers and building leads upon which no structures or earth berms shall be located.



Detailed location of sanitary sewers and building leads



Water mains, hydrants and building services and sizes.



General stormwater runoff calculations and approximate size and location of retention basins



Detailed storm sewers, site grading, drainage, detention basins, and/or other pertinent facilities.




Propane tank locations and methods of screening, any overhead utilities, or any outside storage of materials, chemicals, gases, liquids, etc., if applicable.


Other information as requested by the building official, planning administrator, Planning Commission, or city consultants to verify that the site and project are developed or improved in accordance with this Ordinance and the City’s Master Plan. Such information may include traffic impact studies, market analyses and evaluations of the demand on public facilities and services.

A reviewing authority may also require that information be submitted even if this table indicates that the particular information is not required.