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Zoning & Planning

407 West Harrie Street
Newberry, MI 49868
Phone: (906) 293-8659
Fax: (906) 293-2904



The Luce County Board of Commissioners through Ordinance No. 33 dated April 14th 2011, created the County Planning commission for the County of Luce.  Now known as the Luce County Planning Commission.  This replaced the Luce County 11 member Planning Board.




The express purpose of the Luce County Planning Commission is to guide and accomplish a coordinated and harmonious development of Luce County; and to function in cooperation with other areas within Luce County and to serve as a coordinating agency for all planning activities and commissions in the County.



Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Planning Commission to:

  • Provide professional, prompt, responsible service to the community in the performance of its duties.

  • Foster inter-governmental and community cooperation to achieve the goals and plans implemented on their behalf.

  • Take into consideration the needs of the community when determining a course of action.

  • Envision the best possible plans and courses of action to better provide for future use of the community's land, natural resources and economic development.



The Planning Commission consists of five (5) members who shall be representative of the important segments of the economic, governmental, social life and development of Luce County.

  • Liaison Members - The following shall be ex-officio members (contribute but no voting privilege) to the Planning Commission during their official tenure:

    • Member of the Luce County Board of Commissioners

    • Luce County Code Administrator


Matters to be considered by the Planning Commission

  • Petitions and staff proposals for changes in the zoning ordinance as well as all matters that pertain to the powers, duties and responsibilities prescribed by Act No. 183 of the Public Acts of 1943, as amended and known as The County Rural Zoning
    Enabling Act.

  • All preliminary plans and reports for the physical development of the city, including the general location, character, and extent of streets, viaducts, bridges, parks and open spaces; the general location of public utilities and terminals.

  • The removal, relocation, widening, narrowing, vacating, abandonment, change of use, or extension of any public way, grounds, open spaces, building, or properties.

  • The general character, extent, and layout of the replanning and redevelopment of blighted districts and slum areas.

  • Land division plats.

  • All planning reports and plans before publication.

  • Capital improvement program for the municipality.

  • Planning department's budget requirements for the fiscal year and request for appropriation.

  • Selection of consultants and determination of basis for compensation and selection of Planning Director.

  • Such other matters as the Planning Director shall find it advisable or essential to receive consideration by the Planning Commission.


New Trends in Development

As development has continued in the lower peninsula of Michigan it spreads further north.  The upper peninsula is very attractive to developers.  Developers are looking to the upper peninsula due to the allure of old-growth forests, wildlife and coastal views.


Developers from lower Michigan have purchased and are developing housing developments in the upper peninsula.  The urban sprawl that has taken place in northern lower Michigan is creeping it's way to our community.  Superior Dunes, Naubinway Shores and a new development of 2,000 acres near Sault Ste. Marie that includes an undeveloped parcel stretching for 3.5 miles along Lake Superior are only three examples.


A developer was quoted in an article in The Detroit News dated April 22, 2001 as stating about the Naubinway Shores development site, "It reminds me of what Charlevoix was like 40 years ago."  Look to Charlevoix to see what the development has done to change the area in that 40 years.  The rest of that quote says, "At Naubinway Shores, we have some white pines that are more than 300 years old.  We will be restricting tree cutting, and we'll eventually have 33 homes there.  The environmental impact will be as minimal as possible."  What guarantee does the community have regarding this statement?

What guarantee exists that all developers will have a preservationist view?  Have they properly protected themselves in order to control the type and scope of development that occurs in their community?  Have they considered the backlash of not having a "say-so" in what type of developments happen in their area?  To date Luce County has not.


As many communities have faced these new trends in development they have adopted regulations and ordinances in order to better maintain their unique settings, control local land use and preserve the foundation that has attracted development in the first place.  Luce County needs to address putting conservation into local land use regulations.  We can take control of our destiny so that conservation and preservation goals will be achieved simultaneously with development objectives, in a manner that is fair to all parties concerned.  There are perspectives of designing developments which differ dramatically from the current land consumptive approach typical of most Michigan communities.  If we prefer to see new developments create a more livable community and in the process conserve irreplaceable natural resources such as prime forest land, wildlife habitat and agricultural land in our community we have to act through well designed and responsible regulations and ordinances.


The Need for Zoning Ordinances

The purpose of zoning ordinances is to, "Promote public health, safety, and general welfare, to encourage the use of lands in accordance with their character and adaptability and to limit the improper use of land, to conserve natural resources and energy, to meet the needs of the citizens for food, fiber, and other natural resources, places of residence, recreation, industry, trade, service, and other uses of land."  (County Zoning Act, P.A. 1943, No. 183; C.L. 1948, Sect. 125.203; C.L. 1970, Sect. 125.203; P.A. 1978, No. 640.)


Luce County citizens recognize that zoning regulations provide for sustainable communities, sustainable natural resources and a sustainable economic base.  Uncontrolled land divisions, strip developments, air, water and soil pollution and erosion, property disputes, blight, uncontrolled development and lack of zoning enforcement relate to poor public policy and accountability by communities.


Zoning ordinances are needed in order to shape our destiny.  If zoning ordinances did not exist, any one from any where can divide land, strip land, pollute land, use the land for whatever they decide in any fashion they decide, build any thing and every thing exactly as they please without consideration of other property owners, the good of the community, conservation or natural resources or the community's way of life.


The Need for Building Codes

Lots of people believe that a building permit is just another way for local politicians to collect money.  However, in most communities is pays for a staff of experts who provide an important layer of protection for individuals and their families.


Most land use and building decisions are made by individual property owners who act within the confines of applicable building regulations.  Building codes are propagated by local planning, zoning and infrastructure decisions made under state statutes (State Construction Code Act of 1972, Act 230 as administered by Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Affairs, Bureau of Construction Codes).  The establishment of building codes address the welfare of individuals and the public.  Building codes also address those issues of Greater than Local Concern.


Issues of Greater than Local Concern may include the protection of:

  • Environment and natural resources - Watersheds, land and water pollution, ground water pollution, etc.

  • Public facilities or providing new public services - Emergency services: Fire, ambulance, police and extension of utilities.

  • Ensuring safe buildings - Healthy environments of public buildings and individual homes.

  • Maintaining a sustainable economy and promoting economic development - Provides sovereign local control, lower insurance rates and creates a safe, healthy "sense of place" for current and future residents.


Local Control

The advantages to local control of zoning and building are many.  Most importantly, the Planning Commission Board members and the staff providing the services are local people who care about our community.  All citizens have access and input regarding issues in zoning, building and planning.


The revenue generated from the activities of zoning and building permitting remain local, promote employment, provide better service and contribute to the over all economy of the community.


Local control ensures that the community will retain it's unique qualities that attract people to make lives here, raise families here, do business here and visit here and appreciate the quality and way of life that exists.

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