Population: 9,817,242
Counties: 83
Governor John Engler

Key Laws/Administrative Actions/Reports/

Click here for the amount of protected land in Michigan, and click here to review Michigan's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Pursuant to a report citing the absence of land use planning as the biggest threat to Michigan's natural resources, 1 the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) created the Task Force on Integrated Land Use in the Spring of 1994.2 Among other things, the Task Force was charged with reviewing relevant regulations and laws and making recommendations for change.3 Recommendations for changes in planning and zoning laws included calls for comprehensive planning, a referendum on zoning, the codification of planning and zoning laws, and new growth management tools.4 Revisions in current land use laws and policies were suggested for the Michigan Drain Code, the Subdivision Control Act/Site Condos, farm and forest roads, correction of certain exclusions from the planning process, permit fees, and the training and certification of planning and zoning officials.5 The Task Force also found statutory reform was needed in the areas of intergovernmental communication, urban revitalization, rural preservation, and data dissemination.6 The Michigan Society of Planning Officials Trend Future Final Report, 1995 challenges the state's leaders to "work together to find consensus that preserves individual choice while protecting the communal interests of present and future generations.7

Michigan currently has seven planning and zoning enabling acts.8 The Michigan Chapter of the  American Planning Association(MAPA) has suggested unification of all seven statutes into one unified planning enabling statute with clear legal authority.9 Other recommendations include a growth mangement system which would implement consistency between local decisions and state goals and objectives, concurrency between project approval and existing infrastructure, the promotion of compact urban growth patterns, provisions for affordable housing, and natural resource protection.10 Among other things, this type of growth management system requires strong political leadership, a comprehensive state land use system, and an advocacy organization, such as a 1000 Friends of Michigan group.11

During the 1997 legislative session, two land bills were introduced. One would have provided for township planning and the creation of township planning commissions.12 The second initiative, enacted into law, provides for planning at the city, village and municipal levels, the creation of planning commissions, and the regulation and subdivision of land.13

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer.

Key Laws:
For a summary of Michigan's planning and zoning statutes, see the excellent report provided by the American Planning Association.

Administrative Actions:
Clean Michigan Initiative
In 1998, Michigan voters passed the Clean Michigan Initiative which raised $675 million for environmental initiatives in the state.  Many programs received funding, however the clean-up of brownfields received the most with $335 million.  For a breakdown of what is funded, http://www.deq.state.mi.us/exec/cmi/cmiimp.html

Brownfield Tax Credit
To promote redevelopment of brownfield (polluted industrial) sites, Michigan allows qualified businesses to claim a credit against SBT liability equal to 10% of the investment made on a brownfield site. Total credit per eligibleinvestment is $1 million.

"Breaking the Sprawl Addiction:  A Twelve Step Program", Great Lakes Report, published by the Michigan Land Use Institute; Issue 11 March 2000.  Discussed the different policies in Michigan that subsidize sprawl.

"Park or Condominium?," The Detroit News. June 19, 2001

"The Price of Sprawl," The Detroit News. June 6, 2001.

"Poll:  Most Favor Transit," The Detroit News  April 23, 2001.

"A river runs through our future," Detroit Free Press. April 1, 2001. 

"Make Mass Transit Work," The Detroit News (Editorial). March 27, 2001.

"Railways Reveal Nature: Rails-to-Trails Open to Walking, Jogging, Cycling," The Detroit News. March 23, 2001.

"Townships Embrace Simple Life: New Urbanism Calls for a Slow-Pace and Improved Downtown Business Areas," The Detroit News. March 19, 2001.

"Odometer tax proposal likely to stall," The Detroit News. March 9, 2001.

"Visions of Green: Fundraising Efforts Target Development of Region's Natural, Recreational Resources," The Detroit News. March 1, 2001

"Cost of Containing Sprawl Splits County:  Macomb Fights Over Farmland," The Detroit News. February 28, 2001.

"Sterling Heights offers cleanup help.  It joins other cities creating tax breaks to eliminate brownfields" The Detroit News.  December 27, 2000.

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is second in a year to criticize Grand Traverse County Road Commission's $1 million bridge study," Michigan Land Use Institute. December 6, 2000. 

"Churches Unite to Lobby Lansing." The Detroit News. July 24, 2000.

Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
Tel: 517- 487-9539
Email: mec@voyager.net

The Michigan Land Use Institute
845 Michigan Avenue
P.O. Box 228
Benzonia, MI 49616
Tel: 231-882-4723
Email: mlui@traverse.com
This is also the headquarters for the 
Michigan Transportation and Land Use

Michigan Planning and Zoning Center
715 N. Cedar Street 
Landsing, MI 48906
Tel: 517-886-0555

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network
P.O. Box 720
Clarkston, MI 48347
Tel: 248-625-8181

Michigan United Conservation Club
P.O.Box 30235
Landsing, MI 48909
Tel: 517-371-1041


1 "Michigan's Environment and Relative Risk," released by Governor John Engler in June 1992.
2 "Toward Integrated Land Use Planning," Planning and Zoning News, Vol. 14, No. 5, March 1996, p. 5-6.
3 Id. at 6.
4 Id. at 8.
5 Id. at 8-9
6 Id. at 11-12.
7 Id. at 12.
8 The Municipal Planning Act: the Township Planning Act; the County Planning Act; the Regional Planning Act; the Township Rural Zoning Act; the County Rural Zoning Enabling Act; and the City-Village Zoning Act. House Republican Policy Committee Task Force Report on Land Use, April 1994, p.3. 
9 Id.
10 DeGrove, John M. "State Growth Management Systems That Integrate and Coordinate Land Use Planning: An Overview," Land Use Issues and Alternatives, Planning and Zoning News, Vol. 14, No. 3, January 1996, p.9.
11 Id at 10.
12 1997 MI H.B. 5149. This bill was intorduced into the legislature on September 30, 1997. No further action was taken.
13 1997 MI H.B. 4034 amends 1983 PA 285; and MCL 125.32 and 125.33.