Van Vliet Lake Association

Zoning Report from Jeff Burke for 2004 Annual Meeting


Zoning Change Proposal

The Lake Association, responding to the wishes of many lakefront property owners, is giving strong consideration to applying for a zoning change for Van Vliet Lake.  Currently the Lake has two zoning districts.  Most of the Lake is zoned REC (recreational).  A smaller portion is zoned GB (general business).  The effort to change these two classifications to R-1 (single family residential) is an attempt to more closely reflect actual lakefront property use and protect the Lake from possible future overdevelopment.  Under the past HR.115 State mandated land use management plan, the Presque Isle chain was designated R-2 (multi-family residential).  Since that plan implementation has faded from view, many lake associations are applying for and receiving R-1 status before the State comes back with another plan.  The process itself requires a number of steps.  Township approval is necessary and that requires a public hearing.  At the County level, petitions, worksheets, and annotated maps must be submitted.  Every landowner abutting the Lake must be contacted.  A fee must be provided with the attendant paperwork (approx. $1800.00) and then the matter goes to a County public hearing after being reviewed by the County Zoning and Planning Office.  If all these steps prove successful, an amendment is prepared, signed and approved and the new zoning goes into effect 40 days later.

Lake property owners wishing not to be included in the rezoning may opt out and will retain their current zoning designation.  This is referred to as skip zoning and is an acceptable method for a landowner to retain present use needs.  Petitioners who do sign the petition document and specify their opposition to the change may speak at a public hearing.  While landowners are free to disagree with the change, the County does not give particular weight to the opposition if the landowner simply disagrees with the change.  Landowners in opposition to the proposal must demonstrate a negative impact on their property or a financial hardship to their land asset.  Clearly, a landowner speaking against the proposal who contends only that the zoning change isn't "good" for the Lake is not likely to be given much weight.

This zoning change effort is a direct reflection of the democratic process and does not seek to infringe on any single landowner.  More than adequate redress or remedy is available to a property owner in opposition and there is no need for contentious dialogue or protracted strife over the process.  Majority rules and the process moves smoothly.