Township Planning Commission Approves Ordinance Changes
Northville Township’s planning commission voted on ordinances affecting patio building and the emerging tech area.
The Northville Township Planning Commission voted unanimously to make changes to its code of ordinances which would limit the type of businesses that can take up residence within the High Tech and Research corridor on Five Mile and Beck roads.
However, the same board opted last week to delay approving changes to its Building Permit provisions that cover decks and patios – and other physical requirements – until they speak with building department officials about the potential effects of the changes.
The concern, said Planning Commission President Robert Nix, is that the proposed changes may create a situation where small repairs could require residents to seek costly permits.
“Anything that you do with your property could be considered a major change, and at some point [seeking permits] can get ridiculous,” he said. “If you get into the area of routine repairs, at a certain point, it’s government overreaching.”
Repairs and renovation
Section 42 of the township’s ordinance code addresses building and compliance permits. Currently, it requires that erection, alteration, repair and modification of any building be compliant with current zoning, building guidelines and standards for new construction as well as current buildings that are undergoing a facelift.
The amendments to Article 3 and 42 would require residents to seek permits specifically for concrete and brick paved patios, but may apply to other items over time, said Jennifer Frey, the township's director of community development.
“We’re going through our ordinances as time permits, and these ordinances are time sensitive because people will begin building [patios] soon,” she said. “We will present other changes for the rest of the ordinances so that the commission can vote once we’re finished.”
The proposed changes also deleted a requirement that residents seek a compliance permit. The new language requires the applicant to obtain a building permit or compliance permit is required. Frey said this was done to eliminate the need for costly amendments to the ordinance as state provisions change.
The building department will maintain a list of items requiring a building permit versus a compliance permit.
“I would like to see the list,” said Commission Secretary Richard Allen. “We need to look at this because there are some repairs that should not require a permit.”
High tech area
The township’s provisions for its high tech area, at Five Mile and Beck roads, will also see some changes.
The commission voted to accept Frey’s recommendations to amend the ordinance to add chemical processing as a special land use to accommodate activity at the Techno SemiChem (TSC) facility, which is located within the Office, Research and Technical area.
Frey said the reason she proposed this to the commission at this time was because TSC is expanding within the township.
The special land use provision within the ordinance will allow the township to assess and control the location of such activities and make sure the site is suitable for such uses.
The commission is expected to take up the patio provisions at its upcoming April meeting.
In other business, the commission elected to retain Nix as its president. Allen was elected secretary, and Martha Snow is vice president. All will serve 1-year terms.