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Information & Forms

You have found the Zoning and Ordinance pages at Putnam Township. When making any changes to land or buildings, a permit, waiver or other form will likely be needed. The information presented here is intended to explain various forms and when they are needed. It is important to contact the Zoning Administrator at the Township during the planning phase of your project.

Before we get into specifics, let’s start with a little background.

A township’s master plan is a document and policy that not only guides short-term goals for land use, but is also intended to create long-term goals for what a community wants to look like in the future. Master plans are written, adopted by a township’s planning commission and then by the township's board. Putnam Township adopted it’s Master Plan in 2005 and has updated it several times since.

A zoning ordinance is crafted to support the master plan. A zoning ordinance is an effort on the part of a township to avoid land use conflicts by establishing land development districts and making sure buildings and structures are compatible with its surroundings. An ordinance is designed to promote the health, safety and welfare of a township’s citizens. It takes into account many factors, such as land characteristics, natural resources and recreation. Specifically, the ordinance regulates items such as land use, building form, placement, size, spacing, parcel area, width and depth.

So what does all of this mean, if you want to build a garage, add a fence or put new shingles on your roof? Read on for specific information regarding forms and permits needed under specific circumstances.

Zoning Compliance (Land Use) Permit
Most home projects require this permit, including any building that may be constructed, reconstructed, extended or altered. If you are remodeling, putting up an accessory structure (garage, shed, gazebo or barn), or altering it, adding a deck, fence, porch, patio, pool or generator, the Zoning Compliance (Land Use) packet should be reviewed, filled out and returned to the Township.

Zoning Compliance Waiver
While updates such as new windows, siding, roofs and deck boards don’t require a permit, it is necessary to file a Zoning Compliance Waiver. 

Variance Application
A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements and is granted on a case by case basis.  If granted, it allows a property owner to avoid a restriction or condition that would normally apply to their property. 

Rezoning Application
A zoning ordinance determines how a property can be developed or used. Rezoning is the process by which a property is changed from one zoning classification to another. In most cases, people seek to rezone land because they want to use it in a way that is not currently authorized under its current zoning classification.

Special Land Use Permit
Each type of zoning classification in the Township has its own set of allowed uses. In addition, there are certain special uses that may be permitted on a property, assuming that a Special Use Permit is obtained through the Township. Special Land Use permits require a higher level of review and the approval of the Planning Commission and Township Board.

Site Plan Review
The Site Plan Review process provides for the review and approval of development projects, so they are consistent with the guidelines of the zoning ordinance. A site plan is a plan, drawn to scale, showing the layout of the proposed use and all structures. Site plans include lot lines, streets, building sites, existing structures, open space, utilities, and any other required information. Site Plan Review is most often used for industrial, office, commercial, and housing developments.

Private Road Application
Safe access to residential and commercial lots is necessary in order to protect public health, safety and well-being. If a road doesn’t exist, a private road may be needed. Find more information in the Private Roads Packet.

Wetland Services Application
Wetlands are a significant factor in the existence and health of other natural resources in Michigan. As such, they are protected by the Putnam Township Wetland Ordinance and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). The EGLE requires a permit for any of the following to take place on a wetland:

  • Deposit or permit the placing of fill material in a wetland.
  • Dredge, remove, or permit the removal of soil or minerals from a wetland.
  • Construct, operate, or maintain any use or development in a wetland.
  • Drain surface water from a wetland.
If you need to determine the presence or absence of a wetland, what the precise boundaries are or need a wetland permit, see the information in the Wetland Services Packet.

Complaint form
If you are aware of a zoning or general law (blight, noise, etc.) ordinance violation and would like to file a complaint, fill out and submit the complaint form. All submissions are anonymous.

Home-Based Business Permit

A permit is required for all home-based businesses in the Township. Our Zoning Ordinance ensures that a business will have no adverse effects on neighboring properties, and protects the health and safety of nearby citizens and the enjoyment of their property. Register your business with the Home-Based Business Packet.

Links to all information and forms are in the Related Links box on this page.

Contact the Zoning Administrator at  or the phone number below if you have any questions regarding Putnam Township’s Zoning Ordinance.

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